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Data from assessments of fish and zooplankton conducted during April and May-June 1986-88 in south-central Lake Ontario were examined for evidence that zooplankton size structure can be used to follow the movement of alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus). The spring influx of alewife into nearshore waters was linked with water temperature and coincided with a decline in the mean length of crustacean zooplankton and the virtual disappearance of zooplankters a?Y 0.9 mm. Alewife moving inshore to spawn fed heavily on the largest zooplankters, negating the possibility that changes in zooplankton size were wholly a response to seasonal recruitment as waters warm and the competition shifts to Bosmina. Offshore, there was usually no significant (P < 0.05) change in mean lengths of zooplankton in the upper water column between April and May-June, and zooplankters a?Y 0.9 mm always remained abundant, suggesting that few alewife were there from April through mid-June. We conclude that in large freshwater lakes where a planktivore is abundant, yet spatially concentrated, changes in size of crustacean zooplankton can facilitate understanding of the fish's movement and distribution.
Additional Publication Details
Use of zooplankton to assess the movement and distribution of alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) in south-central Lake Ontario in spring
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences