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Tuesday, January 30 • 9:40am - 10:00am
RIVERS & OXBOWS: Spatial and Temporal Variability of Ichthyoplankton in the St. Clair-Detroit River System: Community Changes Between the 1970s and 2000s

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AUTHORS. Taaja R. Tucker, University of Toledo; Edward F. Roseman, US Geological Survey; Robin L. DeBruyne, University of Toledo; Jeremy J. Pritt, Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife; David H. Bennion, US Geological Survey; Darryl W. Hondorp, US Geological Survey; James C. Boase, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT. Larval fishes are sensitive to abiotic conditions and provide a direct measure of spawning success. We assessed the spatial and temporal variability in the ichthyoplankton community of  the St. Clair-Detroit River System (SCDRS), a Laurentian Great Lakes connecting channel with a history of environmental degradation,  and compared the modern larval fish community (2006–2015) to that of the 1970s (1977–1978). The larval fish community of the SCDRS was highly structured in time and space. During both time periods we observed a predictable phenology, with taxa from the sub-family Coregoninae dominant in early spring, followed by the families Osmeridae, Percidae, and Moronidae from May to June, and Cyprinidae and Clupeidae from June to August. Many taxa appeared in the Detroit River before the St. Clair River. While higher densities of larval fish and most density “hot spots” were found in the Detroit River, greater taxa richness and Shannon diversity were observed in the St. Clair River. System-wide, fourteen new taxa were observed in the current study period. In addition, relative densities of two non-native species, alewife Alosa psuedoharengus and rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax, declined since the 1970s. The increased larval fish richness and decreased densities of non-native taxa in the 2000s are consistent with improved water quality and habitat conditions. 

Tuesday January 30, 2018 9:40am - 10:00am CST