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Fine scale habitat use by age-1 stocked muskellunge and wild northern pike in an upper St. Lawrence River bay

Journal of Great Lakes Research

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https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2014.01.014

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Abstract

Radio telemetry of stocked muskellunge (n = 6) and wild northern pike (n = 6) was used to track late summer and fall movements from a common release point in a known shared nursery bay to test the hypothesis that age-1 northern pike and stocked muskellunge segregate and have different habitat affinities. Water depth, temperature, substrate and aquatic vegetation variables were estimated for each muskellunge (n = 103) and northern pike (n = 131) position and nested ANOVA comparisons by species indicated differences in habitat use. Muskellunge exhibited a greater displacement from the release point and used habitat in shallower water depths (mean = 0.85 m, SE = 0.10) than northern pike (mean = 1.45 m, SE = 0.08). Both principal components analysis (PCA) and principal components ordination (PCO) were used to interpret underlying gradients relative to fish positions in two-dimensional space. Our analysis indicated that a separation of age-1 northern pike and muskellunge occurred 7 d post-release. This first principal component explained 48% of the variation in habitat use. Northern pike locations were associated with deeper habitats that generally had softer silt substrates and dense submersed vegetation. Muskellunge locations post-acclimation showed greater association with shallower habitats containing firmer sandy and clay substrates and emergent vegetation. The observed differences in habitat use suggest that fine-scale ecological separation occurred between these stocked muskellunge and wild northern pike, but small sample sizes and potential for individual variation limit extension of these conclusions. Further research is needed to determine if these patterns exist between larger samples of fishes over a greater range of habitats.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Fine scale habitat use by age-1 stocked muskellunge and wild northern pike in an upper St. Lawrence River bay
Series title:
Journal of Great Lakes Research
DOI:
10.1016/j.jglr.2014.01.014
Volume:
40, Supplement 2
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
International Association for Great Lakes Research
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
6 p.
First page:
148
Last page:
153
Country:
Canada, United States
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N