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Evidence of the St. Clair-Detroit River system as a dispersal corridor and nursery habitat for transient larval burbot

January 1, 2015

Burbot Lota lota are distributed across the Laurentian Great Lakes where they occupy a top piscivore role. The St. Clair-Detroit River System is known to provide a migration corridor as well as spawning and nursery habitat for many indigenous fishes of economic and ecological significance. However, knowledge is scant of the early life history of burbot and the importance of this system in their dispersal, survival, and recruitment. In order to assess the role of the St. Clair-Detroit River System to burbot ecology, we collected larval burbot during ichthyoplankton surveys in this system from 2010 to 2013 as part of a habitat restoration monitoring program. More and larger burbot larvae were found in the St. Clair River than in the lower Detroit River, although this may be due to differences in sampling methods between the two rivers. Consistent with existing studies, larval burbot exhibited ontogenesis with a distinct transition from a pelagic zooplankton-based diet to a benthic macroinvertebrate-based diet. Our results demonstrate that the St. Clair-Detroit Rivers provide food resources, required habitat, and a migration conduit between the upper and lower Great Lakes, but the contribution of these fish to the lower lakes requires further examination.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Evidence of the St. Clair-Detroit River system as a dispersal corridor and nursery habitat for transient larval burbot
DOI 10.1007/s10750-015-2179-3
Authors Darrin E. McCullough, Edward F. Roseman, Kevin M. Keeler, Robin L. DeBruyne, Jeremy J. Pritt, Patricia A. Thompson, Stacey A. Ireland, Jason E. Ross, Dustin Bowser, Robert D. Hunter, Dana Kristina Castle, Jason Fischer, Stacy A. Provo
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Hydrobiologia
Series Number
Index ID 70143514
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center