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.
|Title||Comparison of genetic and visual identification of cisco and lake whitefish larvae from Chaumont Bay, Lake Ontario|
|Authors||Ellen M. George, Matthew P. Hare, Darran L. Crabtree, Brian F. Lantry, Lars G. Rudstam|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Great Lakes Science Center|