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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Spatiotemporal Patterns in Diets of Nearshore Predatory Fishes in Lake Michigan

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AUTHORS: Dalton E. Hendricks, Bradley J. Smith - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: The Great Lakes host a diverse fish community that has been in a constant state of flux resulting from the introduction of non-indigenous species. These non-indigenous species have displaced native fishes in the nearshore zone of the Great Lakes, disrupting historic food webs through direct and indirect competition for food and space. To better understand contemporary predator-prey dynamics in the nearshore zone of Lake Michigan, we performed a lake-wide diet analysis of predator fishes during spring, summer, and fall of 2015. Our preliminary results indicate that the predominant diet items of all predators, specifically lake trout, were two non-indigenous species, alewife and round goby – this finding was consistent across the lake for all seasons. Our study demonstrates that non-indigenous forage fishes have become preferred diet items of native nearshore predator fishes, consistent with similar studies throughout the Great Lakes. Although round goby and alewife have displaced native fishes, predators have adapted to the change by selecting for these abundant species. Heavy reliance on a few non-indigenous species contrasts with the historic Great Lakes food web, but is likely to continue in the near- term unless there are further ecological disruptions.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer

Attendees (4)