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Wednesday, February 8 • 9:40am - 10:00am
Technical Session. Floating down the River: Vertical Distribution of Larval Fishes in the St. Clair-Detroit River System

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AUTHORS: Stacey Ireland, Edward F. Roseman - USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Robin L. DeBruyne, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Dustin Bowser, Robert D. Hunter - USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Stacy Provo, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Center for Ecosystems Studies Unit, Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Patricia A. Thompson, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, West Virginia University; Emily Bouckaert, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Michigan Technological University

ABSTRACT: Three projects to enhance lithophilic spawning habitat in the St. Clair River, Michigan were completed in 2012 and 2014, adding a total of 6.5 acres of rock-reef habitat. To assess fish use of these reefs, larval fish monitoring occurred post-construction upstream and downstream of the reefs. We used benthic D-frame nets to sample drifting larvae during nighttime and depth-stratified conical nets to sample larvae throughout the water column during day and night. More fish were captured during nighttime than daytime. Sample depth, day/night, and reef were significant factors influencing larval fish catch composition of the stratified conical samples. Overall densities of larval fish were consistently higher at the surface compared to the other depths for depth-stratified conical samples. One key species, lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) was captured in higher numbers downstream of some of the constructed reefs in the D-frame nets. Other species captured include rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), burbot (Lota lota), Coregonus spp., catostomids (Family Catostomidae), and sculpins (Family Cottidae). These results verify the use of the restored spawning habitat by target species and provide information about the vertical distribution of larval fish in the water column to guide surveys focused on specific species and their use of the St. Clair-Detroit River System.

Wednesday February 8, 2017 9:40am - 10:00am CST
Grand Ballroom A