The Great Lakes Fishery Commission uses time series of transformer, parasitic, and spawning population estimates to evaluate the effectiveness of its sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) control program. This study used an inverse variance weighting method to integrate Lake Huron sea lamprey population estimates derived from two estimation procedures: 1) prediction of the lake-wide spawning population from a regression model based on stream size and, 2) whole-lake mark and recapture estimates. In addition, we used a re-sampling procedure to evaluate the effect of trading off sampling effort between the regression and mark-recapture models. Population estimates derived from the regression model ranged from 132,000 to 377,000 while mark-recapture estimates of marked recently metamorphosed juveniles and parasitic sea lampreys ranged from 536,000 to 634,000 and 484,000 to 1,608,000, respectively. The precision of the estimates varied greatly among estimation procedures and years. The integrated estimate of the mark-recapture and spawner regression procedures ranged from 252,000 to 702,000 transformers. The re-sampling procedure indicated that the regression model is more sensitive to reduction in sampling effort than the mark-recapture model. Reliance on either the regression or mark-recapture model alone could produce misleading estimates of abundance of sea lampreys and the effect of the control program on sea lamprey abundance. These analyses indicate that the precision of the lake-wide population estimate can be maximized by re-allocating sampling effort from marking sea lampreys to trapping additional streams.
Additional publication details
Estimating parasitic sea lamprey abundance in Lake Huron from heterogenous data sources