The lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis supports major commercial fisheries in Lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan, where it is managed on a sustained-yield basis; it also supports a recreational hook-and-line fishery in some Great Lakes embayments and nearshore areas. To better understand habitat use by juvenile lake whitefish in the Great Lakes, we acclimated groups of test fish in the laboratory to 5, 10, 15, 18, 21, and 24A?C and fed them to excess twice daily for 55 d. The test fish increased in length and weight at all of the test temperatures and at the end of the study were heaviest and longest at 18.1A?C. A curve fitted to the specific growth rate data indicated that the optimum temperature for growth was 18.5A?C and, thus, that the fundamental thermal niche for juvenile lake whitefish is 15.5-19.5A?C. Our results support the limited, published information on thermal ecology of wild, free-ranging juvenile lake whitefish in the Great Lakes.
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The growth-temperature relation of juvenile lake whitefish