Efforts to restore Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush in the Laurentian Great Lakes have been hampered for decades by several factors, including overfishing and invasive species (e.g., parasitism by Sea Lampreys Petromyzon marinus and reproductive deficiencies associated with consumption of Alewives Alosa pseudoharengus). Restoration efforts are complicated by the presence of multiple body forms (i.e., morphotypes) of Lake Trout that differ in habitat utilization, prey consumption, lipid storage, and spawning preferences. Bioenergetics models constitute one tool that is used to help inform management and restoration decisions; however, bioenergetic differences among morphotypes have not been evaluated. The goal of this research was to investigate bioenergetic differences between two actively stocked morphotypes: lean and humper Lake Trout. We measured consumption and respiration rates across a wide range of temperatures (4–22°C) and size-classes (5–100 g) to develop bioenergetics models for juvenile Lake Trout. Bayesian estimation was used so that uncertainty could be propagated through final growth predictions. Differences between morphotypes were minimal, but when present, the differences were temperature and weight dependent. Basal respiration did not differ between morphotypes at any temperature or size-class. When growth and consumption differed between morphotypes, the differences were not consistent across the size ranges tested. Management scenarios utilizing the temperatures presently found in the Great Lakes (e.g., predicted growth at an average temperature of 11.7°C and 14.4°C during a 30-d period) demonstrated no difference in growth between the two morphotypes. Due to a lack of consistent differences between lean and humper Lake Trout, we developed a model that combined data from both morphotypes. The combined model yielded results similar to those of the morphotype-specific models, suggesting that accounting for morphotype differences may not be necessary in bioenergetics modeling of lean and humper Lake Trout.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science