Lake Ontario benthic prey fish assessment, 2014

NYSDEC Lake Ontario Annual Report
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Abstract

Benthic prey fishes are an important component of the Lake Ontario fish community and serve as vectors that move energy from benthic invertebrates into native and introduced sport fishes. Since the 1970’s, the USGS Lake Ontario Biological Station has assessed benthic fish populations and community dynamics with bottom trawls at depths ranging from 8 m out to depths of 150-225 m along the south and eastern shores of Lake Ontario. From the late 1970’s through the early 2000’s the benthic fish community was dominated by Slimy Sculpin Cottus cognatus, but in 2004 non-native Round Goby Neogobius melanostomus abundance increased and, since then Round Goby have generally been the dominant benthic species. Over the past 10 years the native Deepwater Sculpin Myoxocephalus thompsonii, once considered absent from the lake, have increased. Presently their lake-wide biomass density is equal to, or larger than, Slimy Sculpin. Species-specific assessments found Slimy and Deepwater Sculpin abundance increased slightly in 2014 relative to 2013, while changes in Round Goby abundance differed between spring and fall survey. Recent survey modifications have increased our understanding of benthic prey fish abundance and behavior in Lake Ontario. For instance, increasing the maximum tow depth to 225 m in 2014 improved our understanding of Deepwater Sculpin distribution in this rarely sampled lake habitat.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype State/Local Government Series
Title Lake Ontario benthic prey fish assessment, 2014
Series title NYSDEC Lake Ontario Annual Report
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources
Publisher location Albany, NY
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 6 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype State/Local Government Series
Larger Work Title 2014 Annual Report Bureau of Fisheries Lake Ontario Unit and St. Lawrence River Unit to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s Lake Ontario Committee
First page 12-16
Last page 12-21
Conference Title Lake Ontario Committee Meeting
Conference Location Ypsilanti, MI
Conference Date March 24-25, 2015
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Lake Ontario
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