Feeding ecology of pelagic larval Burbot in Northern Lake Huron, Michigan

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
By: , and 



Burbot Lota lota are a key demersal piscivore across the Laurentian Great Lakes whose populations have declined by about 90% in recent decades. Larval Burbot typically hatch in the early spring and rely on abundant crustacean zooplankton prey. We examined the stomach contents of larval Burbot from inshore (≤15 m) and offshore sites (37 and 91 m) in northern Lake Huron, Michigan. Concurrent zooplankton vertical tows at the same sites showed that the prey community was dominated by calanoid copepods, dreissenid mussel veligers, and rotifers. Burbot consumed mostly cyclopoid copepods, followed by copepod nauplii and calanoid copepods. Chesson's index of selectivity was calculated and compared among sites and months for individual Burbot. According to this index, larval Burbot exhibited positive selection for cyclopoid copepods and copepod nauplii and negative selection for calanoid copepods, cladocerans, rotifers, and dreissenid veligers. This selectivity was consistent across sites and throughout the sampling period. Burbot displayed little variation in their prey preferences during the larval stage, which suggests that the recent shifts in zooplankton abundance due to the invasion of the predatory zooplankter Bythotrephes longimanus and competition from invasive Rainbow Smelt Osmerus mordax could negatively impact larval Burbot populations.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Feeding ecology of pelagic larval Burbot in Northern Lake Huron, Michigan
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1080/00028487.2013.788561
Volume 142
Issue 6
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
First page 1716
Last page 1723
Country United States
State Michigan
Other Geospatial Lake Huron
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N