Comparison of genetic and visual identification of cisco and lake whitefish larvae from Chaumont Bay, Lake Ontario

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
By: , and 

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Abstract

Cisco Coregonus artedi are an important component of native food webs in the Great Lakes, and their restoration is instrumental to the recovery of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush and Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Difficulties with visual identification of larvae can confound early life history surveys, as cisco are often difficult to distinguish from lake whitefish C. clupeaformis. We compared traditional visual species identification methods to genetic identifications based on barcoding of the mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase I gene for 726 coregonine larvae caught in Chaumont Bay, Lake Ontario. We found little agreement between the visual characteristics of cisco identified by genetic barcoding and the most widely used dichotomous key, and the considerable overlap in ranges of traditionally utilized metrics suggest that visual identification of coregonine larvae from Chaumont Bay is impractical. Coregonines are highly variable and plastic species, and often display wide variations in morphometric characteristics across their broad range. This study highlights the importance of developing accurate, geographically appropriate larval identification methods in order to best inform cisco restoration and management efforts.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Comparison of genetic and visual identification of cisco and lake whitefish larvae from Chaumont Bay, Lake Ontario
Series title Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
DOI 10.1139/cjfas-2017-0186
Volume 75
Issue 8
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Canadian Science Publishing
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 1329
Last page 1336
Country United States
State New York
Other Geospatial Chaumont Bay, Lake Ontario