Lipid concentrations were measured in seven species of fish from several locations in Lake Michigan during spring, summer, and fall in 1994 to 1995. Adult alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and age-2 coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) exhibited pronounced seasonal changes in lipid content. Adult alewives averaged 7.4% lipid, on a wet weight basis, during spring (May), 2.6% in summer (July), and 12.2% in fall (late September through October). Spring lipid concentration was low in age-2 coho salmon, averaging only 1.9%, then increased to 7.8% during summer and decreased to 4.5% by fall. In contrast, lipid content in adult bloater (Coregonus hoyi) was relatively constant with respect to season, ranging between 10.6% and 12.4% during the year. Lipid concentration increased with fish size for all species except rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Although deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsoni) were considerably larger than slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus) (mean total length of 117 mm vs 68 mm), mean lipid content of deepwater sculpin (7.6%) was only slightly higher than that for slimy sculpin (6.6%). Comparison of lipid concentrations from this study with previous studies indicated that lipid concentration in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and alewives in Lake Michigan did not change significantly from 1969-1971 to 1994-1995. Lipid concentration in large (about 250 mm total length) adult bloaters near Saugatuck (along the southeastern shore of the lake) decreased from 23.3% in 1980 to 11.9% in 1986, but showed no significant change between 1986 and 1994-1995.
Additional publication details
Lipid concentrations in Lake Michigan fishes: Seasonal, spatial, ontogenetic, and long-term trends