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Wednesday, February 8 • 10:20am - 10:40am
Technical Session. Export of Pelagic Fish Larvae from the Detroit River

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AUTHORS: Ed Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Mark DuFour, University of Toledo; Jeremy Pritt, Ohio DNR; Robin DeBruyne, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Jason Fischer, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; David Bennion, USGS Great Lakes Science Center

ABSTRACT: The St. Clair-Detroit River System is located in the heart of the North American Laurentian Great Lakes, connecting lakes Huron and Erie, contributing over 90% of the inflow to Lake Erie, and providing spawning habitat for many fishes including walleye Sander vitreus, yellow perch Perca flavescens, and lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis. Fish reproduction was measured in the Detroit River using egg and larval surveys for the past 10 years. However, quantitative estimates of contributions from spawning in the system to the Lake Erie population have not been determined. We use long-term biological sampling and physical habitat surveys to characterize egg deposition and larval drift patterns and a Bayesian approach to quantify larval export from the Detroit River. Egg deposition of walleye and lake whitefish occurred throughout the river. Larval export from the Detroit River into Lake Erie varied by species, across years, and spatially among the multiple navigational channels in the lower Detroit River. Total annual export of walleye larvae ranged from 11.9 million in 2013 to 113.4 million in 2014, yellow perch larvae ranged from 334.3 million in 2014 to 689.4 million in 2013, and lake whitefish larvae ranged from 28.8 million in 2010 to 83.4 million in 2011. Given the widespread spawning, large numbers of larvae produced, and continued system-wide water quality and aquatic habitat improvements; the Detroit River provides valuable habitat and added resilience to the Lake Erie walleye population as well as supporting a vibrant fishery within the connecting channel itself.

Wednesday February 8, 2017 10:20am - 10:40am CST
Grand Ballroom A