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ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION OF BLACKFIN CISCO POPULATIONS IN AN OUTFLOW SYSTEM OF PROGLACIAL LAKE ALGONQUIN

Populations of Blackfin cisco (Coregonus nigripinnis) have been discovered in a set of post-glacial lakes in northern Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, in what was once the outflow of Pleistocene proglacial Lake Algonquin. Their discovery is important because it provides an opportunity to include this species in the restoration of deepwater ciscoes for Lakes Huron and Michigan (their original Great Lakes distribution). The objectives of the project are to: (1) Assess and contrast the genetic evidence supporting the in situ vs. the colonization hypotheses as explanations for the occurrence of Blackfin cisco in Algonquin Park (years 1-3); 2) Determine patterns in seasonal spawning and habitat selection as well as early life history of Blackfin cisco in the pelagic zone (years 1-3); 3) Consider genetic and ecological assessments to recommend best candidate sites as source of Blackfin cisco for hatchery development (year 3). These objectives will be achieved by (1) analyzing genetic variation at SNP loci between Blackfin and Lake Cisco (C. artedi) samples from sites within and around Algonquin Park; (2) estimating seasonal depth distribution, seasonal timing and habitat selection using Vemco VR2 receivers /acoustic transmitters , depth stratified, short-set North American gill net standard (bottom and pelagic) combined with hydroacoustic surveys in late summer, fall and early winter. This information will be use to evaluate the suitability of Algonquin Park Blackfin cisco for potential reintroduction in the Great Lakes, and sites for source population for hatchery development.

Status
In progress
Type
Project
Start Date
End Date
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Laboratory Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Landscape
Organism
Population
Resource Management
Fisheries
Wildlife
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Huron
Lake Michigan
Lake Ontario
Lake Superior
Out of Basin
State Province
Ontario

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Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.