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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Sampling Characteristics of Egg Mats

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AUTHORS: Brian A. Schmidt, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center; Edward F. Roseman, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center; Nicole King, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Jason Fisher, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center; Christine Mayer, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Greg Kennedy, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center; Stacy Provo, Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Paige Wigren, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Quantifying the spatial distribution and magnitude of fish egg deposition is crucial to population and habitat assessment. Benthic egg mats are widely used as a method to for assessing broadcast spawning fishes. Retention rates and catchability of eggs on mats in lotic systems are likely highly variable and influenced by water velocity, although this has never been tested. Therefore, we hypothesized: 1) egg retention is inversely related to water velocity and 2) egg retention is inversely related to exposure duration at constant water velocity. We used a 3.7 m by 0.5 m flume tank to imitate a dynamic, fluvial stream system. Experiments were conducted using lake whitefish (fall 2015) and walleye (spring 2016) eggs.  A regression of egg retention rates showed a significant negative relationship with average flow velocity (m/s) (F= 41.625, p < 0.01). Egg retention rates did not decrease with increased exposure duration. We also observed that the addition of rock substrate significantly reduced egg accumulation on mats (t=2.133, p = 0.05) and the distance travelled by eggs within the flume (F=17.518, p < 0.01). Through all trials, overall egg retention was low and we saw substantial movement suggesting that egg densities on mats provide a snapshot index of relative abundance rather than a true measure of density on natural bottom. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Lancaster Ballroom