A new look at the Lake Superior biomass size spectrum

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
By: , and 



We synthesized data from multiple sampling programs and years to describe the Lake Superior pelagic biomass size structure. Data consisted of Coulter counts for phytoplankton, optical plankton counts for zooplankton, and acoustic surveys for pelagic prey fish. The size spectrum was stable across two time periods separated by 5 years. The primary scaling or overall slope of the normalized biomass size spectra for the combined years was −1.113, consistent with a previous estimate for Lake Superior (−1.10). Periodic dome structures within the overall biomass size structure were fit to polynomial regressions based on the observed sub-domes within the classical taxonomic positions (algae, zooplankton, and fish). This interpretation of periodic dome delineation was aligned more closely with predator–prey size relationships that exist within the zooplankton (herbivorous, predacious) and fish (planktivorous, piscivorous) taxonomic positions. Domes were spaced approximately every 3.78 log10 units along the axis and with a decreasing peak magnitude of −4.1 log10 units. The relative position of the algal and herbivorous zooplankton domes predicted well the subsequent biomass domes for larger predatory zooplankton and planktivorous prey fish.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A new look at the Lake Superior biomass size spectrum
Series title Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume 71
Issue 9
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher NRC Research Press
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 1324
Last page 1333
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Lake Superior
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N