Understanding How Lower Trophic Level Changes Impact Lake Huron's Fisheries

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USGS Scientists Participate in Great Lakes Fishery Commission Science Transfer Program

In 2017, two U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center scientists, Dr. David “Bo” Bunnell (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and Dr. Brian Weidel (Oswego, New York), were asked to provide their technical expertise about Great Lakes food webs for a project led by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC). Great Lakes fishery resource managers had asked the commission for help in better understanding and communicating the changing food webs and fish populations throughout the Great Lakes.

To address this issue, the GLFC’s Science Transfer Program, which engages researchers, sea lamprey control agents, fishery managers, and stakeholders to address high-priority management questions, convened a small project team that included the GLSC’s Bunnell and Weidel. The team was tasked with determining how nutrient changes have impacted the lower trophic levels (LTLs) in the Great Lakes (starting first with Lake Huron), and how changes in LTLs may impact the overall structure of the food web. Beginning with a technical workshop of twenty-four experts in late 2017, followed by the development of Lake Huron food web conceptual models by the project team, this effort recently culminated in the completion of a project fact sheet that can be used by Lake Huron fishery resource managers to make informed decisions about the fishery.

The full story can be found here.