Does fecundity of cisco vary in the Upper Great Lakes?

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By: , and 



Fecundity of fish is influenced by several factors, including body length, condition, population density, and environmental conditions. It follows that fecundity of fish populations can exhibit spatiotemporal variability; thus, periodic quantification of length–fecundity relationships is important for management. We hypothesized that average fecundity of Cisco Coregonus artedi in the upper Laurentian Great Lakes would be lower in Lake Superior than in Lakes Huron and Michigan. The trophic status of these lakes recently converged, but Lakes Huron and Michigan currently support lower Cisco densities; thus, we expected that they would reach larger sizes and have greater fecundity owing to lower intraspecific competition. Ovaries were collected from prespawn Cisco during 2008–2010 to test this hypothesis. We also compared length–fecundity relationships for 2008–2010 to those of precollapse (1930s–1950s) populations to explore how relationships have changed. Average fecundity of Cisco during 2008–2010 was lower in Lake Superior compared to Lakes Huron and Michigan; length–fecundity relationships in the latter two lakes did not vary significantly, so they were combined. Body condition was highest in Lakes Huron and Michigan. We used otoliths to determine age and found that body condition was domed shaped with respect to age in Lakes Huron and Superior. There were no females older than age 5 in our samples from Lake Michigan because that population was just beginning to recover from very low levels. Females of intermediate age had the highest fecundities in both Lake Huron (ages 7–13) and Lake Superior (ages 8–18). We hypothesize that differences in body morphometry may also influence fecundity, with deeper‐bodied C. artedi albus, the predominant form in Lakes Michigan and Huron, having greater fecundity than shallower‐bodied C. artedi artedi in Lake Superior. Moreover, varying Cisco diets and seasonal movement patterns across lakes may have also contributed to differences. Females in Lakes Superior and Michigan are currently more fecund than their precollapse counterparts.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Does fecundity of cisco vary in the Upper Great Lakes?
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1002/nafm.10457
Volume 40
Issue 4
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 973
Last page 985
Country United States, Canada
Other Geospatial Great Lakes
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table