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Buoyancy characteristics of the bloater (Coregonus hoyi) in relation to patterns of vertical migration and acoustic backscattering

January 1, 1998

Acoustic studies in Lake Michigan found that bloaters (Coregonus hoyi) were less reflective per size than the other major pelagic species. This difference in in situ acoustic backscattering could indicate that the deep-water bloaters have compressed swimbladders for much of their vertical range with related implications on buoyancy. To test this hypothesis, the buoyancy characteristics of bloaters were determined with fish placed in a cage that was lowered to bottom and monitored with an underwater camera. We found bloaters were positively buoyant near surface, neutrally buoyant at intermediate strata, and negatively buoyant near bottom. This pattern was consistent for the range of depths bloaters occur. The depth of neutral buoyancy (near the 50-n strata) corresponds with the maximum extent of vertical migration for bloaters observed in acoustic surveys. Fish below this depth would be negatively buoyant which supports our contention that bloaters deeper in the water column have compressed swimbladders. Understanding the buoyancy characteristics of pelagic fishes will help to predict the effects of vertical migration on target strength measurement and confirms the use of acoustics as a tool to identify and quantify the ecological phenomenon of vertical migration.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1998
Title Buoyancy characteristics of the bloater (Coregonus hoyi) in relation to patterns of vertical migration and acoustic backscattering
Authors Guy W. Fleischer, Leslie M. TeWinkel
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70006515
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center