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Tuesday, January 30 • 4:40pm - 5:00pm
STURGEON, ESOCIDS & COREGONIDS: Natal Origin and Growth Rate of Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) Larvae in the Lower Waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan

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AUTHORS. Lydia Doerr, Patrick Forsythe, Christopher Houghton - University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; Scott Hansen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Kevin Pangle, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT. Identifying the natal origin of particular fish populations is essential to creating stock-specific management plans capable of protecting mixed-stock fisheries. Despite the ecological and economic importance of Lake Whitefish in the Great Lakes, much remains unknown regarding life history at the larval stage and individual stock contribution. In 2017, 229 larval Lake Whitefish were collected from three of the four major Green Bay tributaries (Fox, Menominee, Peshtigo, and Oconto Rivers), indicating the re-establishment of potamodromous stocks and suggests that these tributaries contribute to the Green Bay Lake Whitefish metapopulation. Capture of Lake Whitefish larvae in the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal and on the Oconto and Peshtigo reefs provides evidence that whitefish are also spawning in nearshore habitats. Larvae collected during pelagic drift in 2017-2019 will be used to examine if otolith microchemistry can be used to accurately determine natal origin. Preliminary analyses found significant differences in the ratio of strontium and barium to calcium in riverine and offshore water chemistry for Green Bay and Lake Michigan. These chemical signatures are conserved in larval otoliths and may allow for the identification of natal origins of Lake Whitefish sub-populations. A comparison of length-at-age will address the variable growth rates across sampling locations, identifying stocks that may contribute significantly to the overall Green Bay Lake Whitefish metapopulation. Enhancements in the understanding of larval natal origins and growth patterns will facilitate management at a stock specific level.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 4:40pm - 5:00pm CST