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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Mapping and Monitoring Aquatic Vegetation in Lake Erie for Grass Carp Risk Assessment

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AUTHORS: Nicole King, University of Toledo Department of Environmental Sciences and Lake Erie Center; Jenny L. Hanson, U.S. Geological Survey Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Patrick M. Kocovsky, U.S. Geological Survey, Lake Erie Biological Station; Christine Mayer, University of Toledo Department of Environmental Sciences and Lake Erie Center; Song Qian, University of Toledo Department of Environmental Sciences and Lake Erie Center

ABSTRACT: Grass carp (GC) are a large invasive herbivorous fish that have been present in the Great Lakes since the early 1980s. First direct evidence of GC spawning in the Great Lakes Basin was documented in 2015 with the collection of 8 eggs. Continued monitoring of spawning activities yielded evidence of multiple spawning events in 2017 when 7,000+ eggs were collected. GC consume large amounts of plant biomass and have been known to cause decreases in abundance and diversity of submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV), which can adversely affect game fish, macroinvertebrates, waterfowl, and contribute to declines in water quality. Consequently, there is a heightened need to understand the potential ecological effects that a reproducing population of GC may have on the Great Lakes. We have created a 3-tier assessment tool using object-based image analysis from existing aerial imagery, hydroacoustics, and field sampling with a plant rake. We have identified current distribution and relative abundance of SAV and emergent aquatic vegetation species within the western basin of Lake Erie to establish baseline data in the early stages of GC invasion and as a way to assess whether GC herbivory is affecting SAV communities. Furthermore, we have assigned plant taxa to categories based on grass carp feeding preference (inferred from literature) and measured species relative abundance to identify wetland areas most at risk from grass carp herbivory. This study highlights the importance of pre-invasion mapping and surveys to track long term ecological impacts of invasive species.

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

Attendees (1)