To improve our ability to assess larval cisco (Coregonus artedi) populations in Lake Superior, we conducted a study to compare several sampling strategies. First, we compared density estimates of larval cisco concurrently captured in surface waters with a 2 x 1-m paired neuston net and a 0.5-m (diameter) conical net. Density estimates obtained from the two gear types were not significantly different, suggesting that the conical net is a reasonable alternative to the more cumbersome and costly neuston net. Next, we assessed the effect of tow pattern (sinusoidal versus straight tows) to examine if propeller wash affected larval density. We found no effect of propeller wash on the catchability of larval cisco. Given the availability of global positioning systems, we recommend sampling larval cisco using straight tows to simplify protocols and facilitate straightforward measurements of volume filtered. Finally, we investigated potential trends in larval cisco density estimates by sampling four time periods during the light period of a day at individual sites. Our results indicate no significant trends in larval density estimates during the day. We conclude estimates of larval cisco density across space are not confounded by time at a daily timescale. Well-designed, cost effective surveys of larval cisco abundance will help to further our understanding of this important Great Lakes forage species.
Additional publication details
Evaluating sampling strategies for larval cisco (Coregonus artedi)