Evidence of the St. Clair-Detroit River system as a dispersal corridor and nursery habitat for transient larval burbot

Hydrobiologia
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Abstract

Burbot Lota lota are distributed across the Laurentian Great Lakes where they occupy a top piscivore role. The St. Clair-Detroit River System is known to provide a migration corridor as well as spawning and nursery habitat for many indigenous fishes of economic and ecological significance. However, knowledge is scant of the early life history of burbot and the importance of this system in their dispersal, survival, and recruitment. In order to assess the role of the St. Clair-Detroit River System to burbot ecology, we collected larval burbot during ichthyoplankton surveys in this system from 2010 to 2013 as part of a habitat restoration monitoring program. More and larger burbot larvae were found in the St. Clair River than in the lower Detroit River, although this may be due to differences in sampling methods between the two rivers. Consistent with existing studies, larval burbot exhibited ontogenesis with a distinct transition from a pelagic zooplankton-based diet to a benthic macroinvertebrate-based diet. Our results demonstrate that the St. Clair-Detroit Rivers provide food resources, required habitat, and a migration conduit between the upper and lower Great Lakes, but the contribution of these fish to the lower lakes requires further examination.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evidence of the St. Clair-Detroit River system as a dispersal corridor and nursery habitat for transient larval burbot
Series title Hydrobiologia
DOI 10.1007/s10750-015-2179-3
Volume 757
Issue 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 21
Last page 34
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Huron-Erie Corridor
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N