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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
Hierarchical Modeling of Larval Sea Lamprey Petromyzon Marinus Habitat

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AUTHORS: Alexander J. Jensen*, Michigan State University; Michael L. Jones, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Man-made dams in the Great Lakes basin currently block the invasive sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus from accessing potential spawning and larval habitat. Increasing pressure for dam removal therefore necessitates a better understanding of how lamprey populations may respond to increased habitat availability. The amount of larval habitat in potentially vulnerable reaches, as an important driver of density-dependent recruitment success for sea lamprey, needs to be known in order to predict this response. Given the deficiency in larval habitat data for reaches upstream of existing dams, we developed a hierarchical model, in a Bayesian inferential framework, to predict the proportions of larval habitat for these reaches within the Lake Michigan drainage basin. Transect-scale measurements of “preferred” and “acceptable” larval habitat (i.e. identified solely by sediment composition) and landscape attributes for National Hydrography Dataset (NHDPlusv1) stream reaches were used to construct the hierarchical model, which was selected to account for the disconnect in spatial scale between larval habitat and landscape covariate measurements. After reducing our predictor variable set based on landscape limnology theory and tests for potential multi-collinearity between predictors, we fit the hierarchical model to evaluate linear relationships between landscape covariates at the reach-scale and larval habitat measurements at the transect-scale. The model adequately explained variation in larval habitat on the reach-scale, especially when random effects were included. However, the model performed more poorly when generating predictions based solely on our set of landscape covariates. Despite low explanatory power in the covariates, our Bayesian model still allowed us to identify consistent landscape drivers of sea lamprey larval habitat. Furthermore, accounting for spatial complexity in the relationship between larval habitat and landscape attributes enabled more robust estimation of larval habitat quantities in reaches with limited transect-scale data.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST