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Quantifying new top-down influences on the rapidly changing food web in the main basin of Lake Huron

Recent changes in Lake Huron?s food web have led to a major change   in pelagic-benthic coupling that had not been seen previously in   Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Ontario.  With the previous pelagic-  benthic coupling, there were both pelagic and benthic energy   pathways leading to pelagic forage fishes, and both Chinook salmon   and lake trout fed on pelagic prey such as alewives and rainbow   smelt.  The new and current pelagic-benthic coupling is a contrast   to the previous one because of the direct involvement and reliance   on large bodied fish at top trophic levels of the food web.  With   the current pelagic-benthic coupling, cool water walleye and   coldwater lake trout and lake whitefish all feed on a common benthic   prey, round gobies, and meanwhile both gobies and lake whitefish   feed on dreissenid mussels.  We propose to demonstrate that the new   pelagic-benthic coupling can be stable even if the impacts of   dreissenid mussels on the food web continue.  The control mechanism   with low food supply including strong predation pressure and   nutrient transport by top predators, however, could be lost rapidly   if fishery management ignores the changes in fish life-history   parameters that are associated with the food-web changes.  We have   five objectives in this project. (1) Determine total consumption by   walleye, lake trout, and lake whitefish in Lake Huron?s main basin,   including Saginaw Bay, and compare the current total consumption by   predators with that in the period of alewives and Chinook salmon   dominance. (2) Determine total amount of nutrient transport across   benthic and pelagic habitats due to food consumption and   utilization, particularly reproduction, by walleye, lake trout, and   lake whitefish in Lake Huron?s main basin, including Saginaw Bay.    (3) Determine patterns of diet switching and diet selection by   walleye, lake trout, and lake whitefish in Lake Huron?s main basin,   and Saginaw Bay.  (4) Determine changes in life history parameters   as associated with food-web changes and diet shifts by walleye, lake   trout, and lake whitefish. (5) Evaluate fishery management   implications of the changing food web. , The funding is $129,738.76   for three years, and $49,489.48 for 2 1 . 

In progress
Start Date
End Date
James BenceResearcher
Associated with 5 projects
Ji HePrincipal Investigator
Associated with 2 projects
Stephen RileyResearcher
Associated with 4 projects
Kurt NewmanResearcher
Associated with 1 projects
Mark EbenerResearcher
Associated with 3 projects
Steven PothovenResearcher
Associated with 3 projects
Chuck MadenjianResearcher
Associated with 2 projects
Dave FielderResearcher
Associated with 1 projects
Lloyd MohrResearcher
Associated with 1 projects
Scott KoproskiResearcher
Associated with 1 projects
James JohnsonResearcher
Associated with 2 projects
Great Lakes Fishery Commission $ 129,739.00USDActual

Funding 54 projects for a total of $5,089,137.00
Scope of Study
Field and Modeling
Scale of Phenomena
Natural Ecological Processes
Resource Management
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Huron
State Province
Purpose of Project
Resource Management
Number of Sampling Entities
Data Availability
Region Being Monitored
Near and OpenShore Waters
Resource Being Monitored
Program Drivers
Canada - U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
Biology And Life History
Life History
Control And Mitigation
Biological Interactions (Predator/Prey)
Ecosystem Effects
Predator / Prey Interactions
Socio-economic Consideration and Analysis
Resource Management Issues
Annex Numbers
Research & Development
Surveillance and Monitoring
Annex 17
Impact of water quality and AIS on fish and wildlife populations and habitats
Aquatic Nuisance Species
  • Annex Numbers
    Annex Numbers
    Research & Development
    Surveillance and Monitoring
  • Annex 17
    Annex 17
    Impact of water quality and AIS on fish and wildlife populations and habitats

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