Lake St Clair Research Station

Clinton, MI, United States

Lake St Clair Research Station

Clinton, MI, United States

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Francis J.T.,Waterford Fisheries Station | Chiotti J.A.,Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office | Boase J.C.,Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office | Thomas M.V.,Lake St Clair Research Station | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Great Lakes Research | Year: 2014

Great Lakes coastal wetlands provide a critical habitat for many fish species throughout their life cycles. Once home to one of the largest wetland complexes in the Great Lakes, coastal wetlands in the Huron-Erie Corridor (HEC) have decreased dramatically since the early 1900s. We characterized the nearshore fish communities at three different wetland complexes in the HEC using electrofishing, seines, and fyke nets. Species richness was highest in the Detroit River (63), followed by the St. Clair Delta (56), and Western Lake Erie (47). The nearshore fish communities in the Detroit River and St. Clair Delta consisted primarily of shiners, bluntnose minnow, centrarchids, and brook silverside, while the Western Lake Erie sites consisted of high proportions of non-native taxa including common carp, gizzard shad, goldfish, and white perch. Species richness estimates using individual-based rarefaction curves were higher when using electrofishing data compared to fyke nets or seine hauls at each wetland. Twelve fish species were captured exclusively during electrofishing assessments, while one species was captured exclusively in fyke nets, and none exclusively during seine hauls. Western Lake Erie wetlands were more indicative of degraded systems with lower species richness, lower proportion of turbidity intolerant species, and increased abundance of non-native taxa. This work highlights the importance of coastal wetlands in the HEC by capturing 69 different fish species utilizing these wetlands to fulfill life history requirements and provides insight when selecting gears to sample nearshore littoral areas. © 2014.


Ivan L.N.,Purdue University | Hook T.O.,Purdue University | Thomas M.V.,Lake St Clair Research Station | Fielder D.G.,Alpena Great Lakes Fisheries Research Station
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society | Year: 2011

Walleye Sander vitreus and yellow perch Perca flavescens are well-studied, ecologically important fish species that co-occur in a wide range of systems and experience complex interactions; on the one hand, they are physiologically and ecologically similar and therefore may respond analogously to environmental variation, while on the other hand they interact antagonistically as competitors, predators, and prey. In Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron, walleyes and yellow perch have supported a combination of commercial and recreational fisheries and have been exposed to a series of ecosystem-level stressors and management actions that may have impacted these populations via multiple pathways. We used dynamic factor analysis and correlation analysis of walleye and yellow perch annual fall trawl catch data to elucidate the overall trends in walleye and yellow perch populations in Saginaw Bay. The results suggest that walleyes and yellow perch trend differently; while the relative abundance of age-0-2 walleyes generally increased and their mean length decreased from 1980 to 2008, the trends in yellow perch abundance and length differed among the young-of-year, yearling, and age-2 age-classes. Moreover, interannual negative associations between yellow perch relative abundance and mean size are suggestive of compensatory, density-dependent control on growth, while similar evidence is lacking for walleyes. Correlation analyses indicate that walleye year-class strength is set by the fall of age 0, while the age at which recruitment is set for yellow perch is less clear and may not occur until the fall of age 1. Thus, we suggest that future studies evaluating environmental determinants of year-class strength in Saginaw Bay evaluate age-0 walleyes and age-1 yellow perch. Finally, while age-0 yellow perch and age-0 walleyes appear to respond similarly to annual environmental conditions, the recent increase in walleye abundance and decrease in the mean size of age-0 yellow perch may have contributed to the reduced abundance of adult yellow perch via walleye predation and overwinter mortality. © American Fisheries Society 2011.

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