An individual-based model (IBM) was developed for sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) populations in the Laurentian Great Lakes. The IBM was then calibrated to observed growth, by season, for sea lampreys in northern Lake Huron under two different water temperature regimes: a regime experienced by Seneca-strain lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and a regime experienced by Marquette-strain lake trout. Modeling results indicated that seasonal blood consumption under the Seneca regime was very similar to that under the Marquette regime. Simulated mortality of lake trout directly due to blood removal by sea lampreys occurred at nearly twice the rate during August and September under the Marquette regime than under the Seneca regime. However, cumulative sea lamprey-induced mortality on lake trout over the entire duration of the sea lamprey's parasitic phase was only 7% higher for the Marquette regime compared with the Seneca regime. Thus, these modeling results indicated that the strain composition of the host (lake trout) population was not important in determining total number of lake trout deaths or total blood consumption attributable to the sea lamprey population, given the sea lamprey growth pattern. Regardless of water temperature regime, both blood consumption rate by sea lampreys and rate of sea lamprey-induced mortality on lake trout peaked in late October. Elevated blood consumption in late October appeared to be unrelated to changes in water temperature. The IBM approach should prove useful in optimizing control of sea lampreys in the Laurentian Great Lakes.
Additional publication details
Seasonal patterns in growth, blood consumption, and effects on hosts by parasitic-phase sea lampreys in the Great Lakes: An individual-based model approach