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Resisting ecosystem transformation through an intensive whole-lake fish removal experiment

March 31, 2022

Lake ecosystems are shifting due to many drivers including climate change and landscape-scale habitat disturbance, diminishing their potential to support some fisheries. Walleye Sander vitreus (Mitchill) populations, which support recreational and tribal fisheries across North America, have declined in some lakes. Climate change, harvest, invasive species and concurrent increases in warm-water fishes (e.g. Centrarchidae) may have contributed to declines. To test the utility of an intensive management action to resist walleye loss, an experimental removal of ~285,000 centrarchids from a 33-ha lake over 4 years was conducted while monitoring the fish community response. Centrarchid abundance declined and yellow perch Perca flavescens (Mitchill) increased, yet no evidence of walleye recruitment was observed. These findings explore the feasibility of intensive resistance as a management strategy in supporting walleye facing environmental change and provide a platform for management discussions to move beyond resist strategies in the Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD) framework to navigate ecosystem change.

Publication Year 2022
Title Resisting ecosystem transformation through an intensive whole-lake fish removal experiment
DOI 10.1111/fme.12544
Authors Holly Susan Embke, Stephen R. Carpenter, Daniel A. Isermann, Giancarlo Coppola, Douglas Beard, Abigail Lynch, Greg. G Sass, Zachary S. Feiner, M. Jake Vander Zanden
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Fisheries Management and Ecology
Index ID 70241860
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center; National Climate Adaptation Science Center; Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center