Identifying sources and year classes contributing to invasive grass carp in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Journal of Great Lakes Research
By: , and 



Relative contributions of aquaculture-origin and naturally-reproduced grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) in the Laurentian Great Lakes have been unknown. We assessed occurrence and distribution of aquaculture-origin and wild grass carp in the Great Lakes using ploidy and otolith stable oxygen isotope (δ18O) data. We inferred natal river and dispersal from natal location for wild grass carp using otolith microchemistry and estimated ages of wild and aquaculture-origin fish to infer years in which natural reproduction and introductions occurred. Otolith δ18O indicated that the Great Lakes contain a mixture of wild grass carp and both diploid and triploid, aquaculture-origin grass carp. Eighty-eight percent of wild fish (n = 49 of 56) were caught in the Lake Erie basin. Otolith microchemistry indicated that most wild grass carp likely originated in the Sandusky or Maumee rivers where spawning has previously been confirmed, but results suggested recruitment from at least one other Great Lakes tributary may have occurred. Three fish showed evidence of movement between their inferred natal river in western Lake Erie and capture locations in other lakes in the Great Lakes basin. Age estimates indicated that multiple year classes of wild grass carp are present in the Lake Erie basin, recruitment to adulthood has occurred, and introductions of aquaculture-origin fish have happened over multiple years. Knowledge of sources contributing to grass carp in the Great Lakes basin will be useful for informing efforts to prevent further introductions and spread and to develop strategies to contain and control natural recruitment.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Identifying sources and year classes contributing to invasive grass carp in the Laurentian Great Lakes
Series title Journal of Great Lakes Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2020.07.008
Volume 47
Issue 1
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 15 p.
First page 14
Last page 28
Country Canada, United States
State Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario
Other Geospatial Cuyahoga River, Grand River, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Maumee River, Niagara River, Portage River, River Raisin, Sandusky River, Welland Canal
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