Misapplied survey data and model uncertainty result in incorrect conclusions about the role of predation on alewife population dynamics in Lake Huron: a comment on He et al. (2015)

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
By:  and 

Links

Abstract

Drastic recent and ongoing changes to fish populations and food webs in the Great Lakes have been well-described (Riley et al. 2008Barbiero et al. 2009Nalepa et al. 2009Fahnenstiel et al. 2010;Evans et al. 2011Gobin et al. 2015), and uncertainty regarding their potential effects on fisheries has caused concern among scientists and fishery managers (e.g., Dettmers et al. 2012). In particular, the relative importance of “bottom-up” (e.g., lower trophic level changes) versus “top-down” (e.g., predation) factors to fish community changes in the Great Lakes have been widely debated (e.g.,Barbiero et al. 2011Eshenroder and Lantry 2012Bunnell et al. 2014). In Lake Huron, recent ecosystem changes have been particularly profound, and populations of alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), an offshore pelagic prey fish, collapsed in 2003 and have yet to recover (Riley et al. 20082014). He et al. (2015) recently used a series of linked ecological models to assess the role of predation in the dynamics of the offshore prey fish community in Lake Huron. While we believe that they provide a novel method for combining bioenergetics and stock assessment modeling, we question the validity of their conclusions because of the misapplication of survey data and the lack of critical interpretation of their modeling efforts. Here we describe how He et al. (2015) have misapplied bottom trawl data from Lake Huron, and we provide examples of how this has resulted in erroneous conclusions regarding the importance of predation to the population dynamics and collapse of alewife in Lake Huron.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Misapplied survey data and model uncertainty result in incorrect conclusions about the role of predation on alewife population dynamics in Lake Huron: a comment on He et al. (2015)
Series title Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
DOI 10.1139/cjfas-2015-0237
Volume 73
Issue 5
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher NRC Research Press
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 5 p.
First page 860
Last page 864
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N