Feasibility of Holding Wild-Caught Lake WHitefish and Sea Lamprey for Parasite-Host Interaction Studies
We question the specifics of the parasite-host interactions between sea lamprey and lake whitefish. The probability that an individual fish will survive an attack from a sea lamprey is a key component to sea lamprey damage assessments. Comprehensively studied for lake trout, survivability for whitefish is unclear with a single mark-recapture study from the 1960s providing data. Laboratory research has not been conducted to support or refute the results of the tagging study, which was completed when ecological conditions in the Great Lakes differed from those of today. Lake whitefish are inherently difficult to keep alive in captivity, which may be one reason why research on survivability has not yet been conducted. We seek to determine the conditions under which whitefish can be moved from the wild to a controlled setting and kept alive for experimentation. We hypothesize that survival of whitefish will be influenced by temperature at transfer, capture method, and location of holding. The completion of this pilot study would allow a future proposal to address specific interactions between sea lamprey and whitefish.