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Wednesday, January 27 • 10:40am - 11:00am
Littoral Fish Assemblages In Two Lake Michigan Drowned River Mouths: Preliminary Results

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AUTHORS: Andrya L Whitten*, Grand Valley State University-Annis Water Resource Institute, Carl R. Ruetz III, Grand Valley State University-Annis Water Resource Institute

ABSTRACT: We evaluated littoral fish assemblages and environmental conditions in two drowned river mouth lakes of eastern Lake Michigan—Lake Macatawa and Muskegon Lake. The long-term goal of the study is to evaluate ecological responses of watershed restoration activities in Lake Macatawa and compare those changes with nearby Muskegon Lake. However, at this point of the study, we are still collecting baseline information on Lake Macatawa; therefore, our immediate objective is to compare fish assemblages and environmental conditions based on 2 years of sampling (2014-2015). We sampled fishes and water quality each autumn at four sites representing a gradient from the river mouth to the connecting channel to Lake Michigan. We sampled fish in littoral habitats via fyke netting and nighttime boat electrofishing at each site. In 2014, we sampled 1,127 fish comprising 28 species in Lake Macatawa and 747 fish comprising 25 species in Muskegon Lake. Multivariate analyses indicated that variations in fish assemblages were present between lakes based on fyke netting but not electrofishing. Alewife Alosa pseudoharengus, gizzard shad Dorosoma cepedianum, and emerald shiner Notropis atherinoides were significant indicators of Lake Macatawa, whereas rock bass Ambloplites rupestris were indicators of Muskegon Lake. The structure in fish assemblages between lakes may be attributed to environmental conditions. The water quality of Lake Macatawa appeared to be degraded compared to Muskegon Lake, with higher turbidity and specific conductivity levels than Muskegon Lake, which is associated with high anthropogenic disturbances.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST