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POPULATION DYNAMICS OF BURBOT IN THE EASTERN BASIN OF LAKE ERIE

Between 1987 and 2  3, burbot abundance in eastern Lake Erie   significantly increased, especially in Ontario waters.  We   considered   four hypotheses to explain this increase: (1) reduced competition;   (2) increased abundance of the two main prey species; (3) reduced   interference with burbot reproduction by alewife; and (4) reduced   predation by sea lamprey on burbot.  Our results suggested that the   recovery of the burbot population of Lake Erie was driven by   effective sea lamprey control.  We then examined time series for   burbot abundance in the remaining four Great Lakes, extending from   the early 197 s to 2  3, characterized the long-term trends, and   attempted to explain these temporal trends.  Recovery of the burbot   population occurred in lakes Michigan and Huron during the 198 s.    Control of sea lampreys and declines in alewife abundance were   required for recovery of burbot populations in these two lakes.    Although sea lampreys have been controlled in Lake Ontario, alewives   are probably still too high in abundance to permit burbot recovery.    Burbot abundance in Lake Superior has probably remained relatively   low and stable since 193 .  We estimated growth and mortality   parameters for Lake Erie burbot by aging 2,793 burbot caught in   annual surveys of eastern Lake Erie from 1994-2  3.  The results   suggest that recent survival and growth of Lake Erie burbot is   greater than it was in 1946 and greater than the other North   American populations contrasted.  Further, the results support a   hypothesis that a healthy population of adult lake trout can serve   as a buffer species that reduces predation of burbot by sea lampreys   when sea lamprey populations increase.  Finally, we present results   from sensory panels on fried burbot meat that had been frozen and   stored for 5 months with three methods:  (1) dipping meat in liquid   nitrogen, followed by storage at -8 o C; (2) direct freezing and   storage at -8 o C; and (3) direct freezing and storage at -18o C.    Fried samples that had been directly frozen and stored at -8 o C   were scored as most tender, most juicy, and most desirable overall.    Panelists also scored fried samples that had been directly frozen   and stored at -8 o C as less fishy tasting than samples frozen at -  18o C.  Although direct freezing of burbot meat at -8 o C yielded   more preferred cooked samples, prepared products from frozen burbot   meat may be better suited for commercial sale.

Status
In progress
Type
Project
Start Date
End Date
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Community
Ecosystem
Organism
Resource Management
Fisheries
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Erie
Lake Huron
Lake Michigan
Lake Ontario
Lake Superior
Annex Numbers
Research & Development
Surveillance and Monitoring

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Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.