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NEW THIS YEAR! The schedule of technical sessions is in Sched.org which allows you to search within the schedule, filter the schedule to show sessions only occurring on a certain date, within a track, or in a room. You can also build your own schedule by creating a free account in Sched.org. Click here to return to the main Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference website. 

PLEASE NOTE: The schedule posted here is as of 1/25/16, and is subject to change. Please check back for updates.

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Sunday, January 24
 

7:00am EST

Conference Registration Open
Stop by the conference registration desk to pick up your nametag, final program, and to hear about changes to the program.

Sunday January 24, 2016 7:00am - 7:00pm EST
Center Concourse

8:00am EST

Workshop: Introduction to Sampling and Identification of Freshwater Fish Eggs and Larvae
FEE TO ATTEND: $60/Professional; $45/Student

CONTACT: Amy George, USGS, ageorge@usgs.gov

DESCRIPTION: This workshop is an introduction to sampling and identification of freshwater fish early life history stages, with an emphasis on Great Lakes and Midwestern fauna. Sample processing protocols, larval fish morphological features useful for identification, and a procedure for using dichotomous keys to identify specimens will be discussed. This workshop will make use of digital images of fish eggs and larvae to introduce participants to morphological and meristic characters used in larva fish identification.

Sunday January 24, 2016 8:00am - 1:00pm EST
Thornapple

8:00am EST

Workshop: Fish Bioenergetics 4.0
FEE TO ATTEND: $70 /Professional; $30 /Student

INSTRUCTORS: Dr. David Deslauriers, Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba; Dr. Steven R. Chipps, Unit Leader, USGS South Dakota Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Natural Resource Management, South Dakota State University

DESCRIPTION: Bioenergetics models are widely used as a tool in fisheries management and research. Although Fish Bioenergetics 3.0 (Hanson et al. 1997) remains a popular software package, it is now over 18 years old and is incompatible with many new operating systems. Moreover, since Fish Bioenergetics 3.0 was released, the number of published fish bioenergetics models has increased from 33 to 115 models. This workshop will introduce Fish Bioenergetics 4.0, an R-based platform that consists of a graphical user interface application (Shiny by RStudio). Instructors will provide an overview of bioenergetics concepts and applications, and introduce attendees to the new modeling platform. Example exercises and group projects will be covered to aid in navigating the software and to answer basic and applied questions in fish ecology.

Sunday January 24, 2016 8:00am - 4:00pm EST
Ruby

8:00am EST

Workshop: Beginning Your Professional Journey (for students)
FEE TO ATTEND: $25.00 (Lunch is included)

INSTRUCTORS: Jim Schneider, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; John P. Loegering, Ph.D., Associate Professor, and Wildlife Extension Specialist, Agriculture and Natural Resources Department University of Minnesota

DESCRIPTION: This workshop’s purpose is to address the needs of undergraduate Fisheries and Wildlife undergraduate students to prepare for their first post-baccalaureate position, whether as a graduate student or employee. The workshop will consist of four sections: Resumes and Professional Correspondence; Academic and Employer Panels; Networking; and Interviewing. The workshop will include lecture, interactive discussion, small group exercises, and individual work. Sponsored by Grand Valley State University Biology Department

Sunday January 24, 2016 8:00am - 5:00pm EST
Emerald A & B

9:00am EST

Workshop: Midwest Avian Data Center: Cutting Edge Knowledge, Sharing, and Conservation of Birds
FEE TO ATTEND: $10 - SOLD OUT!

CONTACT: Katie Koch, USFWS, katie_koch@fws.gov

DESCRIPTION: The model for how aggregations of data can be used in bird conservation has evolved over the last ten years from centralized data management to distributed data sharing, and the main hub for data sharing in North America is the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN). In 2011, the Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership launched a new regional node of the AKN, the Midwest Avian Data Center. Since then, we have successfully incorporated over 300,000 new bird observations, developed a new application to help people manage and enter bird monitoring data, and enhanced our decision support tools. We are now actively training and growing the community of users, from those who want to manage and share their own data to those who want to use data for research, conservation planning, or evaluating conservation outcomes at various scales.

Sunday January 24, 2016 9:00am - 4:00pm EST
Heritage Hill

10:00am EST

12:00pm EST

Exhibitor Set-up
Sunday January 24, 2016 12:00pm - 6:00pm EST
Center Concourse

12:00pm EST

Speaker Ready Room
Sunday January 24, 2016 12:00pm - 6:00pm EST
Robinson

1:00pm EST

Workshop: Midwest Fish & Wildlife Leadership Series
FEE TO ATTEND: $25 TWS Members; $40 Non-members

CONTACT: Patrick Lederle, MDNR, lederlep@michigan.gov

DESCRIPTION: The Workshop Leadership Series is aimed at providing training and continuing education for all natural resource professionals ranging from students to seasoned professionals. Workshop organizers recognize everyone is a leader within their respective agencies. The workshop will emphasize practical skills, tools, and experiences applicable to all attendees. Students and professionals will enhance their leadership skills, expand leadership contacts, and explore areas for professional growth.

Sunday January 24, 2016 1:00pm - 5:00pm EST
Pearl

2:30pm EST

Workshop: How to Communicate Your Information with Power!
FEE TO ATTEND: $20 - SOLD OUT!

CONTACT: Kevin Frailey, fraileyk@michigan.gov

DESCRIPTION: Randy Olson, Monday’s keynote speaker and author of “Don’t Be Such A Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style,” leads a limited participant workshop to develop your communication skills. Randy’s ABT (And, But, Therefore) formula will take you from a data quoting scientist and researcher to an effective and powerful storyteller. Learn to take your scientific findings and humanize your work making it relevant to the masses.

Sunday January 24, 2016 2:30pm - 4:30pm EST
Winchester

3:00pm EST

AFS NCD Ictalurid Technical Committee
Sunday January 24, 2016 3:00pm - 4:00pm EST
Grandview A

3:00pm EST

AFS NCD Walleye Technical Committee
Sunday January 24, 2016 3:00pm - 5:00pm EST
Thornapple

4:00pm EST

4:30pm EST

AFS NCD Executive Committee
Sunday January 24, 2016 4:30pm - 5:30pm EST
Grandview A

6:00pm EST

Welcome Reception
(Note: food and beverages will be available immediately following the tribal flag raising ceremony taking place at 6:00 p.m.)

Sponsored by: Bass Pro Shops; Cardno, Inc.; Invenergy, LLC; Jay’s Sporting Goods; Meijer; Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development; Michigan State University, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, AgBioResearch and Extension; and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Start off the Conference with a bang by joining us for the Welcome Reception and After Party! Attendees will be greeted by the Conference Hosts and have a unique opportunity to witness one of our local Native American Tribes present their nation’s flag to kick off our amazing Conference. Enjoy hors d’ oeuvres and a complimentary beverage while networking and reconnecting with peers and professionals. The socializing continues during the After Party with Grand Rapid’s own Stay for the Pie, a local band with a big sound and a big love of music! The fun-filled evening is the perfect way to jump start a week of networking, presentations, workshops, social events, and more!


The Ogitch-E-Daa color guard of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Tribe, commonly known as the Gun Lake Tribe, will be presenting flags at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference welcoming social.  The Ogitch-E-Daa is a group of military veterans and they will post the Tribal, State and American flags.  With the Ogitch-E-Daa we will be honoring and recognizing the rich heritage which each of the flags embody.    

Sunday January 24, 2016 6:00pm - 9:00pm EST
Ambassador E & W

7:00pm EST

After Party
Enjoy the sounds of Stay for the Pie, a local 4-piece local band that plays light classic rock music.

Sunday January 24, 2016 7:00pm - 10:00pm EST
Ambassador E & W
 
Monday, January 25
 

7:00am EST

Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Herpetological Resource and Management; Michigan State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation; Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Monday January 25, 2016 7:00am - 8:00am EST
Center Concourse

7:00am EST

Conference Registration Open
Stop by the conference registration desk to pick up your nametag, final program, and to hear about changes to the program.

Monday January 25, 2016 7:00am - 6:00pm EST
Center Concourse

7:00am EST

Speaker Ready Room
Monday January 25, 2016 7:00am - 6:00pm EST
Robinson

8:00am EST

Plenary Session I & Awards Presentation
8:00 a.m.
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Gary Whelan, Co-Chair Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division


8:05 a.m.
Posting of Colors – Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division Color Guard
Dean Molnar, Michigan Department of Natural Resources


8:10 a.m.
National Anthem
Doug Reeves, Michigan Department of Natural Resources


8:15 a.m.
Introductory Comments
  • Bill Moritz, Director, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Brian Calley, Lt. Governor of Michigan


8:35 a.m.
Michigan, We Have A Narrative: Why Science Needs Story
Randy Olson, Author

For 25 years Randy Olson has been a man on a science communication mission. His journey is now documented in three books. The first, “Don’t Be Such A Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style” (Island Press, 2009) addressed the problems the science world has when it comes to communicating information to the public. For this he drew on his previous career as a marine biologist, which included earning his Ph.D. in Biology at Harvard University, then spending several years studying coral reef ecology on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Shortly after achieving tenure, he moved to Hollywood where he got screamed at by a psychotic acting teacher on the first night of acting class which changed his entire life as he tells in the book. It was the beginning of his looking at the communication dynamics of academics in general from a different, outside perspective. He earned an MFA in Cinema at the University of Southern California then wrote and directed several feature films including “Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus,” which aired on Showtime in 2007. This led to his second book, co-authored with actors Dorie Barton and Brian Palermo and titled, “Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking.” Out of their Connection Storymaker Workshop they developed the tools needed to address the communications problems of science. Now he will be publishing his third book, “Houston, We Have A Narrative: Why Science Needs Story,” which presents what he feels is the solution to the communications challenge — the need to understand and promote narrative principles through the world of science.

Dr. Randy Olson will hold a book signing in the Exhibit Hall on Monday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. after his Plenary presentation. Copies of his two books will be available for purchase at a special discounted rate for conference attendees:  “Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story”;  and “Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style
 


9:15 a.m.
Awards Presentation: North Central Division - American Fisheries Society

Presented by: Melissa Wuellner, President, North Central Division of the American Fisheries Society

  • Outstanding Chapter (Small & Large):  Two awards (small chapter, large chapter) will be given to the chapters that have carried out the most active programs of enhancing professionalism and fisheries science.
  • Best Chapter Communications:  One award will be given to the chapter that has developed the most efficient, useful, and attractive newsletter and website to disseminate information to its members. 
  • Outstanding Student Subunit:  One award will be given to the North Central Division student subunit that has carried out the most active program in developing interest among undergraduate and graduate students in fisheries science and fulfilling the mission of the American Fisheries Society. 
  • Meritorious Service:  This award recognizes extraordinary service to the American Fisheries Society (Chapter, Division, Section, or Parent Society level) by a North Central Division member.
  • Recognition of Joan Duffy Award recipients:  One award is given to a student from each North Central Division chapter for travel assistance to the Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference.



9:30 a.m.
Awards Presenation: The Wildlife Society

Presented by: Mike Larson, President, North Central Section of The Wildlife Society

  • Outstanding Wildlife Student Awards: One undergraduate and one graduate student recognized for academic achievement, professional experience, and activities in The Wildlife Society.
  • Student Chapter of the Year Award: An exemplary student chapter recognized for its contributions to The Wildlife Society’s mission and goals.
  • Professional Award of Merit: The North Central Section's most prestigious award.  Recognizing outstanding professional accomplishments in wildlife conservation and leadership over a period of years in any area of wildlife work.



9:45 a.m.
Awards Presentation: Janice Lee Fenske Memorial Award 

Presented by: Jessica Mistak

The Janice Lee Fenske Memorial Award was created in 2005 to recognize undergraduate and graduate students for their achievements in the field of fisheries or wildlife management. Each year, up to 25 Fenske Memorial Award finalists are selected based on their enthusiasm to protect fisheries and wildlife resources through management activities, selflessness and motivation to teach others, interest in professional involvement, integrity, positive attitude, and compassion.



10:00 a.m.

Door Prize Distribution (must be present to win)


10:05 a.m.
Adjourn 


Monday January 25, 2016 8:00am - 10:00am EST
Ambassador E & W

10:00am EST

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
Monday January 25, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Center Concourse

10:20am EST

Commercial Harvest and Population Demographics of Smallmouth Buffalo In The Middle Mississippi River
AUTHORS: Seth Love*, Southeast Missouri State University; Sara Tripp, Missouri Department of Conservation; Quinton Phelps, Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT: Smallmouth buffalo Ictiobus bubalus are a commercially harvested warmwater fish species found within many Midwestern rivers and lakes; however, minimal scientific information exists. The objectives of this study were to assess historic commercial harvest data, determine current demographics, and evaluate the sustainability of the smallmouth buffalo population. To carry out this study, we evaluated existing commercial harvest data collected by the Missouri Department of Conservation. In order to acquire baseline population demographic data on this commercially important fish species, we collected data (e.g., length and age) from 113 specimens caught within the Middle Mississippi River. Overall, trends in buffalofish commercial harvest data ranged from 8.36 to 129.19 t/year between 1945-2015. In terms of demographics, we collected a broad size distribution with total lengths between 250 and 801 mm (M = 622.3, SE = 7.22) and lapilli otolith age estimates ranged from 5 to 39 years old (M = 19.0, SE = 0.686). Using age information, total annual mortality was estimated at 10.1%. Furthermore, our simulation modeling suggests that the smallmouth buffalo population is sustainable under the current low levels of commercial harvest. To this end, baseline knowledge generated during this study has provided potential insight into managing this commercially important species in the Middle Mississippi River.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Pantlind

10:20am EST

Great Lakes Anglers’ Preferred Trade-Offs Between More Fish, Native Fish, and Risk of Ecosystem Collapse
AUTHORS: Jody Simoes, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Frank Lupi, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Managers, researchers and stakeholders tasked with developing and implementing management plans are often faced with conflicts among management objectives, particularly in support of large diverse systems such as the Great Lakes. Policy decisions and management strategies are further complicated by a lack of Great Lakes angler preference information. Our objective was to inform the development of fisheries management plans in four Great Lakes (Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior) and Lake St. Clair, using a stated-preference choice model to examine preferred management outcomes of licensed anglers. The model was estimated with survey data from a random sample of anglers (N=1,036, Response rate=36%). We use the model to estimate relative preferences, willingness to make tradeoffs between attributes, and to illustrate likely angler support for Great Lakes management strategies differentiated by emphasis on Pacific salmon, prey base, and risk of ecosystem collapse. Results showed anglers generally expressed stronger preferences for management outcomes related to ecosystem health attributes and recreational opportunity attributes. To facilitate managerial applications of the trade-offs that were quantified, anglers’ willingness to trade-off average fish size for abundance was computed for all key sportfish in each lake. Finally, the model was used to calculate choice probabilities for three hypothetical Great Lakes management strategies that differed in their emphasis on Pacific salmon, prey base, risks of ecosystem collapse and average fish size. In general, choice probabilities for the average angler, which can be interpreted as the average support for management outcomes, were greater for management outcomes favoring a native species emphasis.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Ambassador W

10:20am EST

Using Social Media To Increase Public Understanding of Research
AUTHORS: Tyler R. Petroelje*, Mississippi State University; Ashley Lutto, Mississippi State University; Nick Fowler, Mississippi State University; Dean Beyer, Jr., Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Jerrold Belant, Mississippi State University

ABSTRACT: Public understanding of wildlife research, often filled with misinformation, is limited to media portrayals of research regularly polarized by a political agenda. Social media networks are readily available to wildlife researchers, easy to use, and may be a tool to reach members of the public and build support for, and understanding of, wildlife research. The Michigan Predator-Prey Project (MIPP) is a multi-phase 12 year study examining the influence of habitat, predation, and winter weather on fawn survival in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The study provides information on predator-prey ecology and recommendations for white-tailed deer management. We examined the total reach of our social media and compared this to our website reach to assess public awareness and involvement in this research. During 1 July–30 September 2015 the MIPP Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mipredprey) increased followers from 2,015 to 2,270 unique users. Content reach during that same time ranged from 18 to 4,340 (x = 1,052) unique users/day. The MIPP website (cfr.msstate.edu/carnivore/predatorprey) visitation ranged from 3 to 29 (x = 12) unique users/day. Social media provides a platform to reach greater numbers of people than a static webpage and can provide an easy way to communicate with people locally and globally.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Emerald A

10:20am EST

An Introduction To The Michigan Amphibian and Reptile Best Management Practices Manual: A Critical Resource For Conservation of Herpetofauna
AUTHORS: David A. Mifsud*; Maegan Stapleton, Herpetological Resource and Management, LLC

ABSTRACT: The Michigan Amphibian and Reptile Best Management Practices manual was designed to address threats to Michigan’s herpetofaunal communities posed by development and conservation management practices. The creation of this manual was driven by the significant decline in amphibian and reptile populations in Michigan and the need for increased conservation actions. The BMP provides recommendations to protect and conserve species and associated habitat based on the best available science and is intended to serve as a quick-reference guide throughout all phases of site development and construction, mitigation, restoration, and habitat management. Regulators, agency land managers, consultants, commercial and residential developers, and private citizens can find value in this document for protecting, preserving, and restoring the herpetofauna of Michigan. This presentation will highlight portions of the manual including habitat restoration and creation, landscape impact minimization, and management techniques.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Vandenberg A

10:20am EST

(CANCELLED) Understanding Population Dynamics of Bald Eagles In Michigan, 1961-2015
AUTHORS: William Bowerman*, Latice Fuentes, Kendall Simon, Tyler Pittman – University of Maryland; David Best, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Teryl Grubb, U.S. Forest Service; James Sikarskie, Michigan State University

NOTE: This talk has been cancelled. 

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Governors

10:20am EST

Markers, Methods, and Applications of Genetic Data Applied To The Management of Fish and Wildlife Populations
AUTHORS: Kim Scribner*, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Department of Zoology, Michigan State University; Andrew Mahon, Institute for Great Lakes Research, Department of Biology, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: Recent advances in areas of genomics and statistical methodologies that utilize molecular genetic data provide important information that can be used by fish and wildlife managers to more effectively manage fish and wildlife populations. Managers require information on population abundance, levels of natural recruitment and whether abundance is associated with local reproduction or immigration or emigration, and aspects of the physical and biotic environment that affect population processes. This presentation introduces fisheries and wildlife biologists to general topics covered in the symposium. We provide an overview of the importance of evolutionary theory to applied resource management, with particular emphasis on anthropogenically altered terrestrial and aquatic systems. We introduce empirical data collection methods and contract traditional fish and wildlife collection methods with innovative sampling methods that employ genetic markers. We introduce sub disciplines of quantitative, molecular and population genetics. We will highlight general applications that will be developed in detail by speakers in the symposium. Examples demonstrate how genetic tools are being used to acquire data at population, community and larger landscape scales that provide unprecedented resolution to understand fundament behavioral, ecological and demographic aspects of fish and wildlife species that provide facilitate more informed stewardship of fish and wildlife resources.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Atrium

10:20am EST

A Risk Assessment Toolbox That Rapidly Supports Nonnative Species Risk Management
AUTHORS: Michael H. Hoff*, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Bruce G. Marcot, U.S. Forest Service; Susan D. Jewell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Craig D. Martin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Carrie E. Givens, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Nonnative species ecological risk assessment is defined as characterization of risk to ecosystem structure and function. Risk screening is defined as rapid (completed within several hours) risk assessment. The U.S. National Invasive Species Management Plan (Plan) states that preventing the introduction and establishment of invasive species is the first-line of defense against species invasion. A key objective in that Plan is to prevent establishment of intentionally introduced invasive species by developing fair and practical screening processes, and modifying and incorporating screening results into agency and partner regulatory and non-regulatory programs. Three tools were developed and peer reviewed to characterize risk: 1) Ecological Risk Screening Summary (ERSS), which is a semi-quantitative, rapid-assessment procedure; 2) Freshwater Fish Invasive Species Risk Assessment (FISRAM), which is a quantitative probability network model, and 3) Risk Assessment Mapping Program (RAMP), which quantitatively matches a species climate niche with that in the U.S., and is used in both the ERSS and FISRAM processes. If the ERSS process, which is based on history of invasiveness and climate match, characterizes nonnative species risk as either low or uncertain, then risk characterization is complete. However, if ERSS characterizes risk as uncertain, then FISRAM is used to calculate the expected probability of invasiveness as a function of species potential establishment, spread, and harm, based on probable effects on native species and ecosystems, climate match, habitat suitability, ease of dispersal and transport, and harm to humans. These tools are being used for regulatory and non-regulatory risk management decision support by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and some partners.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Ambassador E

10:20am EST

An Introduction To Michigan's Statewide Angler Survey Program
AUTHORS: Tracy Kolb*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Zhenming Su, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Michigan’s Statewide Angler Survey Program has been running continuously for 31 years. The program uses interviews collected by creel clerks to estimate harvest and effort for Michigan’s recreational fisheries. Major challenges for the program have been maintaining geographical continuity while improving technology and sampling methods; especially during years of lean budgets. The program now curates over 100,000 samples of sportfish, more than one million records of angler interviews and hundreds of thousands of estimates of fishing pressure and catch for Great Lakes ports in Lakes Huron, Superior, Erie and Michigan, and Michigan’s inland lakes and tributaries. Major recent accomplishments of the program include expanding coverage of inland fisheries, designing customized software for generating catch and effort estimates, creating an Android app for data entry in the field, becoming more nimble in collecting open-ended social data, utilizing new technologies to capture counts of anglers, collaborating with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to survey the St. Mary’s and Detroit Rivers, building strong relationships between creel clerks and anglers and serving recreational fisheries data to our constituents.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Gerald Ford

10:20am EST

Uniting Adaptive Management Through The Great Lakes Region Aquatic Habitat Connectivity Collaborative
AUTHORS: Lisa Walter*, Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Joseph Sheahan*, US Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: In the Great Lakes region, barriers fragment riverine habitat and impede movement of fishes and other aquatic organisms within riverine networks, and between the lakes and the tributaries, possibly reducing genetic diversity of aquatic species and impeding energy transport, nutrient flow and recycling. Conversely, some barriers provide system benefits by: assisting with the control of sea lamprey and other detrimental invasive species, thereby protecting threatened, endangered, or vulnerable native species; preventing upstream contaminant spread; and, possibly decreasing pathogen spread. The Upper Midwest & Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative has approved a charter for a focused effort to restore aquatic connectivity through a collaborative process The purpose of the Great Lakes Region Aquatic Habitat Connectivity Collaborative is to harness the capacities, expertise, and abilities of all partners in support of common conservation outcomes for connectivity within riverine networks and between the lakes and the tributaries in the Great Lakes Basin, and to serve as a strategic forum for collaboration, coordination, and integration. Here, we introduce the Collaborative, discuss its charter and purpose, and present ongoing efforts to identify structure, governance, vision and mission.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Pearl

10:20am EST

Beyond Trust Obligations: The Imperatives For Tribal Collaboration
AUTHORS: Heather K Stricker*, Forest County Potawatomi Community

ABSTRACT: Federal agencies have a constitutionally-mandated obligation to Native American tribes for collaboration and consultation, however oftentimes this obligation falls short of meaningful action. In terms of natural resources, tribes may face a series of obstacles in efforts to reclaim sovereignty over trust resources, yet despite this, have been effectively building the capacity to address off-reservation management issues. Tribes are contributing vast amounts of knowledge, resources, and data to the conservation and management of resources, particularly threatened and endangered species. A large proportion of threatened and endangered species recovery falls on the burden of tribes, particularly because, as Professor Mary C. Wood writes, “The tribal harvest right is nearly meaningless within a context of modern species imperilment.” This talk will address not only legally-mandated (treaty) obligations that Federal agencies have to tribes, but also the mutually-beneficial imperative for all agencies, including both state and federal agencies, to partner with tribes on species recovery.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Imperial

10:20am EST

Upper Midwest Collaboration Effort On Wood Turtle Research and Management: Forging An Approach For Efficient and Effective Conservation For Wood Turtle
AUTHORS: Richard Baker, Gaea Crosier, Carol Hall, Maya Hamady* -MN Department of Natural Resources Karen Kinkaid- Iowa Department of Natural Resources Yuman Lee - Michigan Department of Natural Resources Madaline Cochrane-Univerisity of Minnesota -NRRI (Student) Carly Lapin: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Upper Midwest River Turtle Project is a collaborative effort among Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa funded through a Comprehensive –State Wildlife Grant (C-SWG) focusing primarily on the wood turtle Glyptemys insculpta. The premise of C-SWG is conservation actions in contrast to basic research. Conservation actions such as creation of nesting sites, road fencing and nest protection against predators are established based on limiting factors of habitat fragmentation, road mortality, predation and other factors that have been identified for the wood turtle in each state. Assessing the short term effectiveness as well as developing a plan for assessing the long term effectiveness of the conservation actions are major components of the project. Determining population levels and structures of current local populations without regard to the events or factors that determined them can provide a baseline to monitor population trends into the future and assess the response to established conservation actions. In spite of the wide range of habitat conditions and conservation practices undertaken in the different project sites, an argument is made that common approaches to establish baselines for local populations and to monitor them are needed for the conservation of the wood turtle to be effective and efficient across its range. Ultimately long term monitoring of population response is needed to determine the relative importance of factors currently limiting wood turtle populations and to assess the effectiveness of conservation actions set in place to address them. An example from Minnesota will be used to describe some conservation actions and assessment strategies and to argue that a broad view of wood turtle behavior and adaptiveness to the entire span of environmental conditions across its range would provide conservationists more options and approaches to conserving the species in the face of new threats.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Emerald B

10:40am EST

Assessing Short and Long-Term Persistence of Translocated Plains Topminnow Fundulus Sciadicus Populations in Nebraska Streams
AUTHORS: Joseph D. Thiessen*, Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney; Keith Koupal, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Casey Schoenebeck, Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney

ABSTRACT: The Plains topminnow Fundulus sciadicus is an endemic Great Plains stream fish that appears to be experiencing reductions in range and abundance, resulting in regional protection and federal listing considerations. In response, Nebraska Natural Legacy Project, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and the University of Nebraska at Kearney have proactively begun translocation efforts to reestablish and augment populations throughout the state. Project focus is to assess the long-term persistence of previously reestablished populations and determine the short-term success of semi-regular augmentation efforts. Assessments were completed on 17 stocking locations in 2011, concluding that only 47% (8 sites) showed short-term persistence. Unsuccessfully deemed sites (9 sites) had additional augmentation stocking events conducted in fall of 2014 at a rate of 2500 fish/habitat acre. All sites were revisited in 2015 to assess both the 8 successful sites for long-term persistence and determine short-term success on the 9 augmented sites. Translocation persistence will be determined using probability analysis, which includes species presence, available habitat, and biotic assemblage structure. Results will aid in the development of a state wide management tool for application in future translocation efforts of Plains topminnow.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Pantlind

10:40am EST

Lake Trout Spawning Habitat Selection in the Drummond Island Refuge: Paradigm or Paradox?
AUTHORS: Steven A. Farha*, MSU - Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability; Thomas R. Binder, MSU - Fisheries and Wildlife; John Janssen, UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Science; Stephen Riley, USGS - Great Lakes Science Center; J. Ellen Marsden, UVM - Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources; Mike Hansen, USGS - Hammond Bay Biological Station; Charles R. Bronte, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Charles Krueger, MSU - Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability

ABSTRACT: Despite decades of stocking, restoration of self-sustaining Great Lakes lake trout populations has been slow, potentially reflecting an inability of hatchery-reared lake trout to select habitats suitable for successful incubation. We addressed this hypothesis on two spawning reefs in the Drummond Island Refuge (Lake Huron) using a novel acoustic telemetry-based approach whereby sampling effort was apportioned based on behavioral data from tagged adult lake trout, which were used to classify habitats based on presence or absence of individuals during the spawning season. During 2013 and 2014 spawning seasons, 120-20m x 20m sites were physically characterized and surveyed for egg deposition. Incubation success was estimated on a subset of 30 sites each year using an established in situ habitat bioassay. Diver surveys confirmed egg deposition at 21 sites in both years, but not all sites received eggs in both years. Logistic regression models were used to test for relationships between egg deposition and physical habitat characteristics. The relative importance of each habitat characteristic was ranked using Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC). Initial analyses indicated that substrates selected for egg deposition were more uniform, smaller in diameter, had deeper interstitial depth, and had greater bathymetric slope than sites not selected by the lake trout for spawning. Sites visited by lake trout and selected for egg deposition had the highest incubation success as estimated by our habitat bio-assay, suggesting lake trout were capable of finding suitable spawning habitat within the Drummond Island Refuge. Nonetheless, lake trout spawned on a wide range of substrates, including several sites that were inconsistent with the commonly-accepted lake trout spawning habitat paradigm. Interestingly, these unconventional sites not only received eggs, but also produced viable fry during each year of the study, forcing us to rethink, adapt, and expand our conceptual understanding of what constitutes suitable trout spawning habitat.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Ambassador W

10:40am EST

Biologists Meet The Benchmarks
AUTHORS: Kevin Frailey*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Come learn how the Michigan DNR connects educators with biologists for an ever-popular summer seminar that builds credibility with the agency and takes key resource issues back to the classroom reaching thousands of students. Does your state agency do a similar program? If not, here is a great model to begin the process of connecting your work to education benchmarks.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Emerald A

10:40am EST

Conspecific Attraction In Anuran Amphibians
AUTHORS: Valerie L. Buxton, University of Illinois; Michael P. Ward, University of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey; Jinelle H. Sperry, University of Illinois, Engineer Research and Development Center

ABSTRACT: Conspecific cues may influence the habitat selection process in certain species. In anurans, conspecific acoustic cues may facilitate the location of new breeding ponds, but experimental evidence supporting this notion is lacking. In 2014 and 2015, we conducted an experimental field study on several anuran species including Cope’s gray treefrogs Hyla chrysoscelis, American toads Anaxyrus americanus, wood frogs Lithobates sylvaticus, and spring peepers Pseudacris crucifer to determine whether anurans use acoustic cues to select breeding habitat. We broadcast conspecific chorus sounds at artificial ponds with no prior history of colonization by our target species. We found that acoustic cues were effective in attracting certain species to ponds, such as H. chrysoscelis, but were not effective at attracting other species, such as A. americanus. This study provides some of the first rigorous experimental field evidence regarding the use of conspecific cues for location of new breeding habitat and may have valuable applications to amphibian conservation and management.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Vandenberg A

10:40am EST

The Role of Cities In Facilitating American Goldfinch Spinus Tristis Overwintering At High Latitudes
AUTHORS: Corrie Navis*, Eastern Michigan University; Peter Bednekoff, Eastern Michigan University

ABSTRACT: Winter habitat use by birds that overwinter at northern latitudes is not yet well understood. How do partial migrant species survive harsh winters at the northern limits of their winter distribution? We explored this question through a study of American goldfinches Spinus tristis. We hypothesized that with increasing latitude the proportion of S. tristis overwintering in cities would increase, as the birds take advantage of supplemental food sources provided by bird feeders. We conducted 300 surveys of S. tristis at 50 randomly selected sites throughout the latitudinal extent of Michigan in winter and early spring of 2015. Our results showed an overall decrease in S. tristis detection with increasing latitude, but no clear interaction between latitude and urban/rural distribution. This indicated that S. tristis are not highly dependent on urban feeders in winter. To examine how the findings of our random, standardized census differ from the trends indicated by other records, we analyzed our results against bird sightings submitted to the eBird database by volunteer citizen scientists. Initial analyses suggest that latitudinal correlation with urban S. tristis presence indicated by such data sets may be an artifact of higher reporting in urban areas.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Governors

10:40am EST

Indexing Recruitment Fluctuations For Populations Contributing To Mixtures By Simultaneous Analysis of Age and Genetic Information
AUTHORS: Travis Brenden*, Iyob Tsehaye, James Bence; Weihai Liu, Jeannette Kanefsky, Kim Scribner – Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: An understanding of recruitment variability in fish populations is considered critical for their effective management. Unfortunately, recruitment is also widely regarded as one of the more difficult rate functions to quantify. We describe an approach for estimating annual variation in recruitment levels for source populations contributing to mixtures. Our proposed approach incorporates age information into widely used model-based genetic stock identification analyses and can accommodate uncertainty arising from aging error. Whereas similar approaches have assumed that annual changes in recruitment levels of source populations are fairly consistent, our approach allows for annually fluctuating recruitment levels and therefore is more general. Stochastic simulations conducted to evaluate the performance of the proposed approach indicated a strong direct relationship between estimated and assumed recruitment levels. Accuracy and precision of the recruitment estimates were most influenced by mixture sample size and genetic divergence among source populations. Sensitivity analyses indicated that recruitment estimates were most sensitive to aging uncertainty. We use Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron walleye and Lake Michigan lake trout data to demonstrate empirical applications of our proposed approach. The results from the empirical applications are compared to recruitment estimates from statistical catch at age models (walleye) or historical stocking data (lake trout). We believe that this estimation approach could be applied in a variety of situations involving mixture fisheries and thus could be a widely applicable tool for managing populations.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Atrium

10:40am EST

A Review of Traits-Based Approaches To Understanding Invasiveness
AUTHORS: Brandon K. Peoples*, Purdue University; Reuben R. Goforth, Purdue University

ABSTRACT: Using functional species traits for understanding organismal invasiveness is a rapidly-expanding field of ecology. The first conceptual “invasion hypotheses” were entirely traits based, but many subsequent models emphasize event-level factors; contemporary syntheses are converging on a hierarchical perspective involving multiple mechanisms. A common goal for invasive species prevention is to identify traits that contribute broadly to invasiveness. Many traits contribute to invasiveness, but traits that contribute ‘universally’ to invasiveness remain elusive due to limited taxonomic and/or geographic scope of research. Broad-scale approaches may yield results that are more generally applicable. Genotypic/phenotypic variation and plasticity in traits can contribute to invasiveness by increasing the probability of phenotypic-environment compatibility, or by conferring greater flexibility than native species for persisting in heavily disturbed or subsidized environments. Invasive species often exhibit greater plasticity than native species, but the fitness consequences of plasticity can be context dependent. Pairwise analyses typically reveal significant differences in trait values between invasive and native species, suggesting a traits-based mechanism to invasiveness. However, studies comparing the relative roles of various mechanisms contributing to establishment success often reveal a diminished role of traits when compared to propagule pressure/human affiliation, environmental matching, and native range size. Accordingly, gaps exist between theory and observations because (a) most statistical approaches do not account of the hierarchical nature of the invasion process, and (b) because hierarchical conceptual models are difficult to translate into statistical models without major modification. We present a conceptual framework integrating mechanisms from multiple major invasion hypotheses. This framework retains the direct effects of previous models, but represents a hierarchical structure allowing interrelated mechanisms. The framework can be parameterized using hierarchical modeling (e.g. structural equations), then either supported or refuted, given a dataset.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Ambassador E

10:40am EST

The Urban Experience: Angling on Illinois’ Portion of Lake Michigan and The Utility of Angling Data
AUTHORS: Charles Roswell*, Illinois Natural History Survey; Sergiusz Czesny, Illinois Natural History Survey; Steven Robillard, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Daniel Makauskas, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Joshua Dub, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: The Illinois waters of Lake Michigan represent

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Gerald Ford

10:40am EST

Development of Tributary Connectivity Priorities For Great Lakes Migratory Fishes
AUTHORS: Matthew Herbert*, The Nature Conservancy; Mary Khoury, The Nature Conservancy; Eugene Yacobson, The Nature Conservancy; Jared Ross, The Nature Conservancy; Patrick Doran, The Nature Conservancy; Peter McIntyre, University of Wisconsin; Matthew Diebel, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Thomas Neeson, University of Wisconsin; Margaret Guyette, University of Wisconsin; Allison Moody, University of Wiscosin

ABSTRACT: Fish migration between the Great Lakes and their tributaries is critical for maintaining population structure and fisheries production in the Great Lakes, and provides important nutrient transport and other services. Unfortunately, this process has been highly altered due to migratory barriers and other impacts. In order to develop effective outcome-based conservation strategies to conserve this key process across the full suite of migratory fish, we need spatially explicit information on which tributaries are the most important. We defined migratory fish as native or managed species that have populations that depend on both Great Lakes and tributary habitat for part of their life cycle, which includes but is not limited to species that are known to have distinct seasonal spawning runs. We identified 42 species that met this criteria. Unfortunately, there are no large-scale datasets focused on migratory fish monitoring. We used a wide variety of riverine and Great Lakes fish sampling datasets to map tributary migratory fish priorities across the Great Lakes, based on occurrence frequencies, abundance, and Great Lakes occurrence frequencies adjacent to the downstream outlet. Priority tributary watersheds were identified separately for connected reaches and unconnected (by dams) reaches. Migratory fish priorities vary substantially both among and within lake basins. Results presented will be used in optimization modeling for barrier removal (i.e., Fishworks) that balance migratory fish benefits against barrier removal risks, such as sea lamprey proliferation. We will also be using the data assembled for more comprehensive predictive modeling of tributary priorities for migratory fish.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Pearl

10:40am EST

A Lesson In Success: The Story of The Modeling Subcommittee
AUTHORS: Dave Caroffino*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Steve Lenart, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: The 2000 Consent Decree is a federal court approved document that allocates fishery resources between the State of Michigan and five Native American Tribes, and dictates management of those fisheries by the State, tribes, and U.S. Federal Government in the 1836 Treaty-ceded waters of the Great Lakes. The Decree established a Modeling Subcommittee (MSC) that is responsible for monitoring populations of lake whitefish and lake trout and implementing the prescribed management regime contained within the Decree. The MSC membership is comprised of biologists from each of the tribes, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as technical experts from Michigan State University. This group has excelled in their core duties for more than 15 years and is the highlight of the 2000 Consent Decree. While members represent groups with differing ideas on policy and management, the biologists leave those differences at the door and come together, focused on the shared goals of data collection, summary, and analysis that result in biologically sound recommendations for management. The expertise within and the success of the MSC has led to numerous outside requests for the data that are produced and attracted biologists from other states and Ontario to participate with the group. The MSC is a model of what collaboration should look like, and the keys to their success should be duplicated when establishing partnerships between agencies.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Imperial

10:40am EST

Snapshot Comparison of Wood Turtle Population Size and Structure Between 1990 and 2015 in Minnesota
AUTHORS: Donald J. Brown*, West Virginia University, Morgantown; Madaline M. Cochrane, University of Minnesota-Duluth; Mark D. Nelson, U.S. Forest Service; Richard R. Buech, U.S. Forest Service (Retired); Ron A. Moen, University of Minnesota-Duluth

ABSTRACT: The wood turtle Glyptemys insculpta is a species of conservation concern throughout its geographic distribution, and is currently a candidate under consideration for listing as federally threatened or endangered. Several studies have documented severe population declines for this species in recent decades. We performed a snapshot comparison study to determine if the size and structure of a population in Minnesota has changed over the last 25 years. Using baseline survey data collected in spring of 1990, we resurveyed 12 sites along a 40-km stretch of river in spring of 2015. We used paired randomization tests to determine if relative abundance, sex ratio, adult-juvenile ratio, and turtle size (i.e., carapace length) differed between the two survey years. A total of 45 individuals were captured during the 1990 survey (mean per site = 3.75), and a total of 50 individuals were captured during the 2015 survey (mean per site = 4.17), which was not significantly different. We also found that population structure was similar between the two survey years. Our results indicate the population we studied has not declined over the past 25 years.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Emerald B

10:40am EST

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: State-Space Models As A Unifying Framework For Analyzing Fish and Wildlife Time Series Data
AUTHORS: Ken B. Newman*, US Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: State-space models (SSMs) helped NASA complete a successful trip to the moon....and back in 1969. Ames Research Labs developed a SSM fitting algorithm, the extended Kalman filter, which aided navigation and control of the Apollo space capsule. SSMs are models for two time series occurring in parallel: one consisting of an unknown dynamic process and another consisting of imperfect, partial measurements of the process; for example, a time series of the true position of the capsule and a time series of estimates of the position. Such time series pairs are ubiquitous in fish and wildlife management and science, for example, the abundances of a gray whale stock from 1967 through 1997 and shore-based counts of whales. I present a general framework for SSMs as well as a selection of applications to fish and wildlife populations over the past 30 years. Model fitting methods are briefly discussed along with model formulation and evaluation. Entry-level points for fish and wildlife biologists to some of the SSM literature on methodology and applications and to software for fitting SSMs are given.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 11:20am EST
Vandenberg B

10:40am EST

Wild Jobs Café
Students – Be sure to stop by the Wild Jobs Café on Monday and Tuesday anytime between 10:40 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Interact with potential employers, meet students and professionals within your area of interest, and get expert advice. Come often and stay as long as you’d like. Ongoing through the day on Monday and Tuesday, members of the Wild Jobs Cafe Subcommittee will be available for one-on-one discussions. Daily door prizes will also be awarded! Additionally, check out these specific offerings on Monday:
  • 10:40 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Job Panel
  • 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Grad School Panel
  • 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Interview Skills
  • 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Resume Writing
Professionals – Be sure to stop by and share your expertise as well as job or grad school opportunities!

Monday January 25, 2016 10:40am - 4:00pm EST
Grandview A & B

11:00am EST

Life-History Expression of Three Popular Sportfish From Three Distinct Habitats in the Illinois River Watershed
AUTHORS: Jason A. DeBoer, Andrea K. Fritts, Mark W. Fritts, Richard M. Pendleton, Levi E. Solomon, T.D. VanMiddlesworth, and Andrew F. Casper Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

ABSTRACT: Understanding how a fish’s environment affects life-history expression throughout its geographic range is important for effectively managing and conserving important resources. Largemouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill are popular sportfish in the Midwest, making their management and conservation a priority for many natural resource agencies. We collected largemouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill from three distinct habitats in the Illinois River Watershed – the Upper Illinois River/Lower Des Plaines River, LaGrange reach of the Lower Illinois River, and The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, a large restored floodplain wetland – during Spring 2015 to better understand the effect of environmental differences on sportfish life-history expression. These habitats vary in many aspects, including location, contaminant load, bathymetry, water turbidity, and macrophyte abundance. We weighed and measured fishes, categorized visible parasite presence or absence, and extracted otoliths (to estimate fish age), gonads (to determine sex, estimate fecundity, and calculate GSI), and livers (to calculate HSI). Many life-history traits differed among habitats, though the results were often sex- and species-specific; the most-dramatic differences were in ovary weight-somatic weight relationships. Environmental factors appear to affect fish life-history expression, but more research is needed on additional factors involved (e.g., biotic interactions) and the mechanisms of effect. We suggest that management and conservation of these fishes in different habitat types and locations needs to consider life-history expression for these important sportfish.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Pantlind

11:00am EST

Role of Olfactory Cues During Reproduction in Lake Trout and Implications For Restoration
AUTHORS: Tyler Buchinger, Michigan State University; Nicholas Johnson, USGS; Weiming Li, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Historically, the Great Lakes hosted genetically diverse populations of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush that were specialized to various niches and spawning habitats. Sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus predation, habitat degradation, and overfishing led to near extirpation of lake trout in the early 1950s. Restoration of naturally reproducing and genetically diverse populations of lake trout is now a key management objective for the Great Lakes. However, lake trout restoration is impeded by low natural reproduction in many areas, and low diversity throughout the Great Lakes. Successful reproduction of natural and stocked lake trout has been hypothesized to be hampered in part by an inability to locate and spawn on highly productive reefs. Furthermore, the mechanisms of reproductive isolation that result in genetic diversity remain unclear. Olfactory cues are hypothesized to guide lake trout to spawning reefs and facilitate spawning behaviors, and may mediate reproductive isolation between populations. Here, we highlight recent efforts to characterize the role of olfaction in lake trout reproduction. First, we evaluate the evidence for the hypothesized roles of juvenile, male, and female pheromones. We then present a revised working model of the function of pheromones, and expand the hypothesis to include olfactory imprinting on unique chemical signatures of a rearing environment. We conclude with future research plans and a vision on how olfactory biology can be incorporated into the restoration of lake trout in the Great Lakes.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Ambassador W

11:00am EST

Adapting Your Presentation Style To Your Audience
AUTHORS: Natalie J. Elkins, M.S.*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: An overview of how to build AND give an engaging presentation, while meeting your objectives and those of your audience. Learning styles, multiple intelligences and the learning pyramid will be discussed and deconstructed.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Emerald A

11:00am EST

Range Expansion Of The Green Treefrog Hyla Cinerea In Indiana
AUTHORS: Michael J. Lodato; Nathan J. Engbrecht*, Cardno; Sarabeth Klueh-Mundy, Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Zachary Walker, Wyoming Game and Fish Department

ABSTRACT: The green treefrog Hyla cinerea is widely distributed in the southeastern quadrant of the United States. Although it did not occur historically in Indiana, it was recorded from Vanderburgh County in extreme southwestern Indiana in 2003. From 2003 to 2013 we documented this hylid’s range expansion in Indiana as part of a rapid and recent range expansion in adjoining states in the middle Mississippi Valley. Likely dispersal mechanisms for its appearance and colonization in southwest Indiana are discussed. In addition to distributional records, its status, relative abundance, and potential for additional colonization within the state are reviewed. Our findings indicate that H. cinerea arrived in the state as part of a natural range expansion and that it appears to be permanently established as a member of the state’s herpetofauna.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Vandenberg A

11:00am EST

Distribution, Migration Chronology, and Survival Estimate of Eastern Population Sandhill Crane
AUTHORS: David L. Fronczak; US Fish and Wildlife Service; David E. Andersen*; US Geological Survey; Everett E. Hanna; Long Point Waterfowl; Thomas R. Cooper; US Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: The Eastern Population (EP) of greater sandhill cranes Grus canadensis tabida (hereafter cranes) is rapidly expanding in size and geographic range. Little information exists regarding the geographic extent of breeding, migration, and wintering ranges of EP cranes, or migration chronology and use of staging areas. To address these information needs we trapped and deployed solar Global Positioning System (GPS) Platform Transmitting Terminals (PTTs) on 42 sandhill cranes from mid-December 2009 through January 2012, in known fall and winter concentration areas. On average, tagged cranes settled in summer areas late-March in Minnesota (7%), Wisconsin (42%), Michigan (26%), and Ontario, Canada (26%) and arrived at their winter terminus beginning mid-December in Indiana (15%), Kentucky (3%), Tennessee (45%), Georgia (5%), and Florida (32%). Cranes departed mid-February for spring migration to their respective summer areas on routes similar to those used during fall migration. Twenty-five marked cranes returned to the same summer area after a second spring migration. During the 2010-2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Cooperative Fall Abundance Survey for EP cranes, we estimated that approximately 29-31% PTT-marked cranes that summered in both Wisconsin and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan were not in areas included in the survey. We used resulting GPS monitoring data to estimate an annual survival rate of 0.95 for adult EP cranes. The information we collected on EP sandhill crane movements provides insight into distribution and migration chronology that will aid in assessment of the current USFWS fall survey. In addition, information on specific use sites can assist state and federal managers to identify and protect key staging and winter areas.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Governors

11:00am EST

Use of Molecular Markers For Management of Endangered Fishes: The Razorback Sucker Xyrauchen Texanus as a Case Study
AUTHORS: Thomas E. Dowling*, Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit MI; Paul C. Marsh, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe AZ and Marsh & Associates; Thomas F. Turner, Department of Biology and Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

ABSTRACT: Advances in molecular genetics have provided new tools for management of endangered fish and wildlife, and these have been especially useful for management of the unique, endemic fishes of the Colorado River basin of the desert Southwest. Human impacts on the basin have resulted in severe reductions in the number and size of populations for most species, and have prompted management actions to protect them. One exemplary species of this fauna is the razorback sucker Xyrauchen texanus, a long-lived, highly fecund catostomid fish. This species was once abundant and distributed throughout the basin, however, loss of available habitat and presence of non-native fishes has led to extirpation of this species from most locations. We have used molecular markers (mitochondrial DNA sequence and microsatellite variation) as a management tool to assess the effect of various management strategies on levels of genetic diversity. Use of large numbers of larvae captured from the wild, raised in protective custody, and repatriated to the lake were found to adequately represent genetic variation in the parental population, validating this as an effective strategy for managing endangered fishes. These markers have also allowed us to assess patterns of reproduction in experimental backwater populations, providing life history information essential for future management actions.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Atrium

11:00am EST

Vector- and Species-Based Strategy For Early Detection of Non-Native Aquatic Species In Lakes Erie and Huron
AUTHORS: Stephen R. Hensler*, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Anjanette Bowen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Eric Stadig, Purdue University (Fort Wayne); Sandra Keppner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Jesse McCarter, University of Michigan; Jessica Loughner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Chris Olds, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Dan Drake, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Robert Haltner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Heidi Himes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Josh Schloesser, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: In response to decades of invasions by non-native species and prompted by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service is implementing a monitoring program focused on early detection of new non-native fishes, crustaceans and bivalves in lakes Erie, Huron and the other Laurentian Great Lakes. The goal of this program is to detect species while they are rare, potentially allowing initiation of management or policy efforts to stop new species from becoming invasive. Using vector- and species-based risk assessments as well as direct measures of relative risk for potential vectors of introduction, transparent procedures have been developed to select sampling sites where new species would likely first appear in the system. A suite of sampling gears is being used to collect a variety of organisms during various life stages. Rarefaction is performed to estimate species detection probability, and molecular techniques are used to improve organism detection and identification. The USFWS early detection monitoring program is designed to be flexible and responsive to new non-native species threats.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Ambassador E

11:00am EST

Using Historical Creel Survey Data For Southern Lake Michigan To Identify Drivers of Fishery Change
AUTHORS: Mitchell Zischke*, Purdue University; Charlie Roswell, Illinois Natural History Survey; Ben Dickinson, Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Ben Gramig, Purdue University

ABSTRACT: Routine creel surveys of recreational anglers in southern Lake Michigan have been conducted by Illinois and Indiana state agencies since the mid-1980s. These surveys have produced a wealth of data that may yield insights into how the recreational fishery has changed through time and help identify biological, social and economic drivers of these changes. This project collated data from 55 creel surveys: 29 surveys by the Illinois Natural History Survey (1985-2013) and 26 surveys by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (1988-2013). These surveys focused on shore- and boat-based anglers during summer months (April-October), with additional surveys directed towards stream fishing, winter fishing and other specialized fishing (i.e. smelt, ice and snagging). Total fishing effort has varied through time but is currently less than 50% of peak effort during the last 30 years, and has decreased significantly for anglers targeting salmon and trout. Catch rates have also varied considerably through time. Yellow perch catch rates were highest in the early 1990s and mid-2000s, and lowest in the mid-1990s and 2010-2013. Salmonid catch rates remained relatively stable throughout the 1990s but have decreased by more than half since the early 2000s. Expenditure information was only reported from surveys conducted in Illinois, and while annual totals also vary considerably through time, current values are significantly lower than the historical mean. Annual variation and decadal trends may be attributed to a number of factors including the effect of extreme weather events on fish life history and angler participation, changes in management (e.g. stocking, regulations), ecosystem change (e.g. invasive dreissenid mussels), and the health of regional and global economies. This project highlights the utility of historical data in identifying previous challenges and future opportunities for management of recreational fisheries.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Gerald Ford

11:00am EST

Optimizing Barrier Removals In The Great Lakes Basin: Accounting For Native and Invasive Species
AUTHORS: Allison T. Moody*, University of Wisconsin; Thomas M. Neeson, University of Wisconsin; Matthew W. Diebel, Wisconsin DNR; Patrick J. Doran, The Nature Conservancy; Michael Ferris, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, University of Wisconsin; Jesse O'Hanley, University of Kent; Peter B. McIntyre, University of Wisconsin

ABSTRACT: In river networks, dams and road crossings often fragment habitat and impede fish migrations. Because removing these barriers is a costly process and resources are limited, decision support tools are needed to guide prioritization of potential projects. However, while removal or modification can improve habitat connectivity for native fishes, it can also increase available habitat for invasive species. As a result, decisions about barrier removals or upgrades must account for trade-offs between benefits for native species and costs associated with enabling the spread of invasive species. We developed an optimization model for barrier removals in the Great Lakes basin and an associated online decision support tool designed for agency and NGO staff. The prioritization model weighs the estimated cost of replacing each dam or culvert against the length of upstream channel gained for native fish species, but constrains barrier selection by capping the expected production of invasive sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Thus, the model identifies a portfolio of projects that maximizes habitat gains for a given budget and delineates the trade-offs between native and invasive species. Preliminary return-on-investment curves suggest that there are locations where barrier removals can be expected to substantially increase habitat available to native migratory fishes with minimal expansion of lamprey breeding habitat. In other locations, barrier removals would likely substantially increase the amount of accessible sea lamprey habitat. We will discuss the sensitivity of the model to uncertainty in our estimates of the suitability of tributaries for native and invasive species. This decision support tool will be a valuable resource for organizations wanting to prioritize projects across the Great Lakes Basin and also for watershed-centered groups who work at a local level.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Pearl

11:00am EST

A Beach Seine-Based Coregonid Recruitment Survey: “Multi-Agency Collaboration In The Bag!”
AUTHORS: Kevin Donner, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; Barry Weldon, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

ABSTRACT: Dynamic shoreline environments of the Great Lakes directly and indirectly influence basin-wide ecological processes and likely influence the strength of recruitment events for an array of ecologically, commercially, and culturally important fish species. Lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis are among the most valuable commercial fish species in the Great Lakes basin and occupy shoreline habitats during the first three to four months of life. Lake whitefish recruitment is highly variable and may be largely determined during this critical time period. During 2013, several agencies collaboratively initiated a relatively inexpensive, low effort, standardized beach seining survey with the intent of indexing the abundance young of the year (25-55mm) coregonids. As of 2015, the survey is standardized, coordinated, and conducted at 51 sites across Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior by tribal, state, and federal agencies as well as one university. This growing collaborative effort has documented substantial variability in juvenile whitefish abundance, growth, and timing. Average whitefish catches were relatively high in 2015 relative to previous years, particularly Saginaw Bay and Green Bay. In addition, data collected during the survey has documented the occurrence of juvenile cisco Coregonus artedi throughout northeastern Lake Michigan, and represents one of the most comprehensive datasets of shoreline fish community structure assembled in the Great Lakes basin. Preliminary analyses, future dataset uses, and potential implications of the survey are discussed.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Imperial

11:00am EST

Movement Patterns of a Wood Turtle Population in Minnesota
AUTHORS: Madaline M. Cochrane*, University of Minnesota-Duluth; Donald J. Brown, West Virginia University; Ron A. Moen, University of Minnesota-Duluth

ABSTRACT: The wood turtle Glyptemys insculpta is a state threatened, semi-terrestrial species at the western extent of its range in northeastern Minnesota. Numerous studies have investigated wood turtle habitat use and movement with VHF tracking, particularly in the eastern United States. However, no studies to date have utilized GPS technology to study fine-scale habitat use patterns. In June 2015, we fitted turtles with combination VHF and GPS units, as well as temperature loggers. GPS and temperature data were recorded every 10 minutes. We tracked movements of 26 turtles along a 40-km stretch of river in Northeast Minnesota from June to September. Preliminary analyses suggest the furthest distance traveled by individuals via river movements was 4600 m. During the post-nesting months of June and July, turtles spent 90% (19% SD) of time within 120 m of the river, and 50% (13% SD) of time within 50 m of the river. The maximum distance dispersed inland was 350 m. GPS data tracking of 23 individuals will continue in the spring and summer of 2016. Due to the scarcity of information regarding wood turtle habitat use at the western edge of their range, our research will be valuable for local and regional management of this threatened species.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Emerald B

11:20am EST

Biotic and Abiotic Factors Affecting Salmonid and Sculpin Abundance, Density, and Biomass In Tributaries of The Manistee River, Michigan
AUTHORS: Cameron W. Goble, Michigan Technological University; Nancy A. Auer, Michigan Technological University; Casey J. Huckins, Michigan Technological University; Brian M. Danhoff, Michigan Technological University; J. Marty Holtgren, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Stephanie A. Ogren, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

ABSTRACT: We conducted a three year investigation of fish community and habitat in eight tributary streams of the Manistee River, MI ranging in average width from 1.7 – 8.5 m to explore their suitability as potential locations for reestablishing Arctic grayling Thymallus arcticus, an extirpated native species, in the State of Michigan. The effects of biotic and abiotic factors on the relative abundance, density, and biomass of brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, brown trout Salmo trutta and slimy sculpin Cottus cognatus were evaluated at 22 tributary study sites. Together these species comprised 94% of all fish captured over the course of the study and are commonly used as indicator species for assessing cold-water stream systems in the Great Lakes region. Catch per unit effort (CPUE) of brown trout was negatively correlated with CPUE of both brook trout and slimy sculpin. Instream habitat features also play roles in structuring the fish community in these streams. For example, both brown trout CPUE and biomass tended to increase with stream width, depth, and velocity whereas brook trout CPUE and biomass tended to be greatest in smaller streams (< 2.5m wide) and slimy sculpin densities were negatively correlated with stream width and velocity. It appears that stream size is an important factor in some of the observed differences in abundance, density, and biomass for three of the most abundant cold-water fish species in this portion of the Manistee River watershed. Possible differences in catchability between species as related to stream size could explain why direct negative correlations between species were observed for CPUE but not for density or biomass.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Pantlind

11:20am EST

Lake Trout Hooking Mortality in Lakes Superior and Huron
AUTHORS: Shawn P. Sitar*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; James E. Johnson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources-retired; Ji X. He, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Lake trout compose a key component of recreational fisheries in the upper Great Lakes and are managed with length regulations. In some areas and years, recreational length limit regulations require anglers to release non-legal sized lake trout. Furthermore, stock assessment models that estimate harvest quotas for lake trout need to account for recreational catch-release mortality. Currently, these models use 15% hooking mortality which was based on the only Great Lakes study conducted in the 1980s. In that study, no lake trout were caught below 50 m and in Lake Superior, anglers frequently catch lake trout deeper, and these fish may experience barotrauma. There is concern among managers and scientists that the 15 % hooking mortality estimate may be too low. In this study, we estimated hooking mortality using mark-recapture data by comparing differential tag return rates between trapnet-caught (control) and angler-caught (treatment) and released lake trout. Furthermore, key factors that may influence hooking mortality were also measured for angler-tagged fish. These included barotrauma symptoms, fish condition at release, water temperature, depth of capture, hook location, and fishing method. During 2010-2013, 2,300 trap net caught (control group) and 1,800 angler-caught (treatment group) lake trout were tagged and released in southern Lake Superior. In west-central Lake Huron, 1,670 trap net caught and 930 angler-caught were tagged and released. Tag recapture data were accumulated between 2010 and 2015. Tag return rates were lower for angler-tagged than trap net-tagged lake in both Lake Superior and Lake Huron. We estimated overall hooking mortality to be more than double that of the 15% rate previously reported. Furthermore, tag returns rates were lower for higher water temperatures and we measured a positive relationship between water temperature and hooking mortality rate. Based partly on these findings, Lake Huron managers decided to minimize use of length-based regulations.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Ambassador W

11:20am EST

Social Media 101
AUTHORS: Tyler Czarnopis*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Social media is here to stay. Come learn whats in, whats out and the data that drives it. A look at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and other platforms and how they are changing the way we communicate.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Emerald A

11:20am EST

20 Years of The Michigan Frog & Toad Survey
AUTHORS: Lori Sargent*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Michigan Frog and Toad Survey has successfully completed 20 years of data collection. Three species, Fowler’s toad, Blanchard’s cricket frog, and mink frog, have ranges that include only a portion of the state. A calling index of abundance of 0, 1, 2, or 3 (less abundant to more abundant) is assigned for each species at each site. Results from the evaluation of methods and data quality showed that volunteers were very reliable in their abilities to identify species by their calls, but there was variability in abundance estimation. The number of sites per route at which species were heard is used for trend analysis. A statewide, 20-year analysis was done, along with a 10-year analysis and a one-year analysis. Percent change was calculated for each species using the number of sites per route. For most species the trends are similar between zones. Most species’ trends appear to be stable or increasing. The 10-year analysis shows only two species declining. The 20-year analysis shows declines in eight species, which is up from six as calculated in 2014.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Vandenberg A

11:20am EST

Modeling Population Dynamics of Sandhill Cranes Using A Multi-State Open Robust Model and Simulation
AUTHORS: Michael Wheeler*, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Tim Van Deelen, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Jeb Barzen, International Crane Foundation; Shawn Crimmins, University of Wisconsin, Madison

ABSTRACT: Long-term trends in Midwestern sandhill crane populations indicate positive growth despite much yearly variability, and continued monitoring will be required for effective management. This study is being conducted to explore relationships between life-history stage and recruitment in sandhill crane populations. Since 1990, the International Crane Foundation (Baraboo, Wisconsin) has collected long-term re-sightings data on territorial and non-territorial sandhill cranes in southcentral Wisconsin. We used these data in a multi-state open robust design model to estimate survival and state-transition probabilities of different demographic groups. Primary sessions were on an annual basis, and secondary sessions were monthly. State variables were Territorial and Non-territorial, and classifying birds in either category was based on behaviors observed during re-sightings. Preliminary results suggest that survival of territorial adults and their continued tenure on territory have appreciable effects on growth rate – hence availability of suitable territories may regulate growth rates. Consequently, management of crane populations in the Midwest may depend on creating habitats that support territory establishment.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Governors

11:20am EST

Gene Flow From An Adaptively Divergent Source Causes Genetic Rescue, Not Outbreeding Depression, In Two Wild Populations of Trinidadian Guppies
AUTHORS: Sarah W. Fitzpatrick, Michigan State University; Lisa M. Angeloni, Colorado State University; W. Chris Funk, Colorado State University

ABSTRACT: Interplay between genetic variation and demography can determine the ultimate fate of wild populations. Genetic factors associated with small populations such as loss of genetic variation and inbreeding may cause population decline and an inability to adapt to changing environments. Genetic rescue (GR), defined as an increase in population growth owing to the infusion of new alleles via gene flow, is one way to reverse a genetically induced population decline. However, its use is limited largely due to current poor understanding of the fitness effects of gene flow. Theory predicts that gene flow can boost fitness when recipient populations are small and inbred, but too much gene flow may homogenize populations, constrain local adaptation, and reduce fitness. Experimental introduction experiments using Trinidadian guppies set up an ideal opportunity to monitor demographic and genetic effects of gene flow from an adaptively divergent immigrant source on two small native populations. I monitored population dynamics using capture-mark-recapture analysis for 29 months (3 months before gene flow and 26 months after) and genotyped all individuals for 17 months (3 months before gene flow and 14 months after) at microsatellite loci to classify individuals by their genetic ancestry: native, immigrant, F1 hybrid, or F2 hybrid. I then reconstructed a pedigree for both wild populations to compare estimates of total fitness (i.e., lifetime reproductive success) among individuals of different genetic ancestry. In total I monitored 9,590 guppies from two streams and genotyped 3,298 guppies for individual fitness estimates. My study captures the initial and sustained effects of gene flow in detail, over 6-8 generations, under fully natural conditions. I documented substantial and long-term net positive effects on population fitness that can be attributed to gene flow (i.e., genetic rescue) in two natural populations. Immigration and subsequent hybridization with genetically and phenotypically divergent individuals led to a dramatic increase in within-population genetic variation, individual fitness, abundance, and population vital rates, though dynamic differences were observed between streams, sexes, and over time. My results suggest that adaptive divergence should not, in itself, preclude the use of assisted gene flow for inducing fitness benefits, and also that low levels of migration can result in genetic rescue without the loss of native genetic signature. Indeed, low levels of gene flow can provide a substantial demographic boost to small populations, and may provide the buffer needed to withstand environmental stochasticity.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Atrium

11:20am EST

Understanding The Risk of Direct Movement of Freshwater Fishes Through The Welland Canal
AUTHORS: Jaewoo Kim*, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Nicholas E. Mandrak, University of Toronto Scarborough

ABSTRACT: The Welland Canal has been identified as a pathway for direct and indirect bi-directional movement of aquatic invasive species between Lake Ontario and the remaining Great Lakes. However, the direct movement of freshwater fishes including aquatic invasive species through the connecting channels such as Welland Canal are poorly understood. In 2012-2015, we conducted acoustic telemetry studies to examine whether and how freshwater fishes move between Lake Ontario and Erie through the Welland Canal. In 2012-2015, the movement of 179 tagged fishes were tracked using 34 acoustic receivers deployed throughout the canal. Over a million detections were collected. Our results indicate that the movement within the canal is dominant for most fishes. However, seven fishes such as common carp and freshwater drum were detected leaving the Canal. In addition, three fishes were detected re-entering the canal the following year. We also used multi-state mark recapture models to describe the patterns of fish movement within the canal by estimating survival, detection, and transition probabilities. The results of 2012-2015 study have significant implications for developing effective management options to control the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Ambassador E

11:20am EST

Great Lakes Angler Demographic Change: Age-Period-Cohort Analysis of Wisconsin Anglers, 2000-2013
AUTHORS: Erin Burkett*, Michigan Technological University; Richelle Winkler, Michigan Technological University

ABSTRACT: Recreational anglers influence the biology of the fish they target, the ecology of the systems they fish on, and the economies they interact with. Angler participation rates directly affect license sales, which in turn provides critical funding for state-level fisheries management. Angler participation rates throughout the United States, including Wisconsin, have generally declined over the past 15 years; however, little is known about the social and demographic factors that drive participation in recreational fishing. There is a need to better understand social drivers of angler participation to provide more accurate projections of future angler recruitment and retention. Age-Period-Cohort (APC) analysis is a demographic research method that allows examination of the impacts of angler age, time period, and angler birth cohort individually. This analysis can be useful for management because each of these social factors could influence future fishing participation, management, and policy goals in distinct but important ways. We used this APC analysis approach to examine license sales and census population data from Wisconsin for years 2000-2013 and determine how age, period, and/or birth cohort influenced Wisconsin residents’ likelihood to fish. Initial findings show that age effects were important for both male and female anglers. Male anglers were more likely to fish from ages 24-46 and ages 64-68, whereas females were more likely to fish from ages 22-48. Cohort analysis revealed that males born between 1955 and 1968 were more likely to fish than other birth cohorts. Female cohort effects were similar with the addition of post-1990 birth cohorts increasing in their likelihood to fish. Understanding the demographic drivers of angler participation will help managers understand social factors that influence angler participation and potentially adjust or create more targeted marketing strategies.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Gerald Ford

11:20am EST

Predicting and Visualizing Sea Lamprey Spread Stemming From Proposed Barrier Removal
AUTHORS: Dale Burkett, Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Pete Hrodey*, Great Lakes Fishery Commission

ABSTRACT: Barriers that block upstream movement of adult sea lamprey remain the most effect tool in the control of this invasive species. Barrier infrastructure, along with public support to maintain it, continues to decline. As a result, connectivity projects that yield the most economic, ecological, and social benefit need to be strategically targeted. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) is keenly interested in fish passage solutions that consider both native fish production and invasive species control. Recently, the GLFC has embarked on several new partnerships and initiatives to assist with coordination of connectivity projects within the Great Lakes Basin and to develop new bi-directional fish passage technologies. To ensure integration of sea lamprey control requirements, the GLFC, in collaboration with the Great Lakes Commission, has recently developed a web mapping application to inform decision makers considering barrier removal scenarios. The application is built as a platform for decision making regarding sea lamprey control investments, natural resource management, and barrier removal for native species connectivity. The tool is available online at http://data.glfc.org/. The application offers the ability to trace upstream or downstream along unified U.S. and Canadian stream data, terminating at both existing and user-input barriers. Thus, users can visualize impacts of potential barrier addition or removal from system and basin-wide perspectives. In addition to barrier physical attributes and locations, the tool also includes historical sea lamprey control data. Web users can experiment on the placement or removal of dams and then see, instantly, the effect these management actions. Additional enhancements are planned during 2016 including addition of the metrics considered in sea lamprey treatment planning as well as trapping locations and results. Other historical sea lamprey control attributes, such as historic and current infestation boundaries, will also be included.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Pearl

11:20am EST

Inferences On Demographic Rates Using State-Space Models
AUTHORS: Elise Zipkin*, Michigan State University; Sam Rossman, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Understanding a population’s spatial and temporal dynamics requires unbiased, precise estimation of demographic rates, such as reproduction, survival, and movement. Yet estimating these quantities can be difficult, requiring years of intensive data collection. Often this is accomplished through the capture and recapture of individual animals, which is generally only feasible at a limited number of locations. In contrast, recently developed models using a state-space formulation allow for the estimation of abundance and spatial variation in abundance from count data alone for both closed (e.g., N-mixture model) and open (Dail-Madsen model, structured population count model) populations. The modeling framework uses a discrete distribution to estimate local abundance (e.g., Poisson or negative binomial), and a binomial distribution to account for imperfect detectability of individuals during sampling. This is in contrast to traditional state-space models which typically employ normal distributions for both process and sampling error. This approach requires repeated survey events during a time period when the population is closed and thus detection errors can be explicitly attributed to false-negatives in the data (e.g., failure to detect an individual when it is present). We review recent advances in state-space modeling for estimating demographic rates in populations using unmarked data. We also demonstrate how detection/nondetection (e.g., occupancy) data can be used either separately or in conjunction with count data to more precisely estimate recruitment, survivorship, colonization, and extinction rates. We discuss the data requirements (e.g., number of survey locations, years, and replicate sampling events) for both accurate and precise estimates of the parameters of interest.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Vandenberg B

11:20am EST

Teaming Up To Preserve Prairie, People, and Pets: A Collaboration Between The Northern Cheyenne Tribe and Lincoln Park Zoo
AUTHORS: Mary Beth Manjerovic, Lincoln Park Zoo; Rachel Santymire, Lincoln Park Zoo; Evan Sorley, University of Minnesota; Adriann Killsnight, Northern Cheyenne Reservation; Mark Roundstone, Northern Cheyenne Reservation

ABSTRACT: For over 6 years, Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago, IL) has been working with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe to engage the community and build capacity to support the restoration of the prairie ecosystem on the reservation located in southeastern Montana. The area is rich in wildlife and in need of restoration as it is one of the few black-footed ferret reintroduction sites. Through teacher workshops and resources, including camera traps, we have been sharing information on wildlife and culture to inspire the interest in science and develop programs for education, upward bound and summer youth programs. Additionally, we are investigating the relationship among human, wildlife and domestic species to ensure the health of community and wildlife on the reservation. This research stems from the large number of free-roaming dogs on the reservation with uncertain ownership status and limited veterinary care. Free-roaming dogs pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of humans, livestock and wildlife, acting as both vectors and reservoirs of infectious pathogens. We conducted a series of community surveys to assess dog ownership practices including veterinary care and possible contact with wildlife, and conducted a ‘photographic recapture’ survey to determine the size of the dog population. This study emphasizes the importance of building collaborations to develop effective and culturally sensitive strategies for the management of wildlife and ecosystem research.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Imperial

11:20am EST

Wood Turtle Research and Conservation Strategies in Wisconsin
AUTHORS: Carly Lapin*, Wisconsin DNR; Jim Woodford, Wisconsin DNR; Tiffany Bougie, Wisconsin DNR; Laura Jaskiewicz, Wisconsin DNR

ABSTRACT: The wood turtle Glyptemys insculpta is a state-listed threatened species in Wisconsin. We investigated species ecology and conservation strategies in the upper St. Croix and Wisconsin river watersheds in northern Wisconsin. In 2014 and 2015 we captured and processed 98 wood turtles, 32 of which were located 2-3 times per week using radio telemetry and 13 of which were located more frequently using GPS technology to identify nest sites, movement patterns, and road crossing locations. We identified 65 wood turtle nests, 27 of which were protected using several different methods. Of the 65 nests, 18 (28%) were predated, 17 (26%) did not hatch (all but 1 in 2014), 29 (45%) successfully hatched, and 1 had an unknown outcome. Between the 2 study locations, a total of 9 nest sites were created or restored above flood stage, 3 of which were protected from predation with electric fencing; in 2015, 4 of these sites were used voluntarily by nesting wood turtles. In addition, we identified 11 locations where wood turtles were frequently crossing roads and at risk for road mortality, and we installed barriers to prevent road access as well as signage to attempt to reduce the risk of road mortality at several of these sites. We will provide preliminary project results, including population estimates, survival, nest success and hatching rates, and home range analysis, as well as feedback on several different conservation strategies.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Emerald B

11:40am EST

Evaluating Movement and Spatial Distributions of Smallmouth Bass and Saugeye in a Thermally Dynamic Environment Using a Spatially-Explicit Individual-Based Model
AUTHORS: David Coulter, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University; James Breck, Institute for Fisheries Research, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan; Cary Troy, School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University; Maria Sepúlveda, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University; Tomas O. Höök, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University

ABSTRACT: Warm water discharges are a common component of many waterways that create thermally dynamic environments across both space and time. Such thermal variability has potentially strong influence on the physiology, ecological interactions, and population trajectories of fishes. The realized responses of fish to these environments are expected to be mediated by their behavior, and specifically their differential utilization of various thermal habitats. While annual field surveys and tagging studies provide information on distributions and individual movement patterns, they generally only provide snapshots of distributions and movements of few individuals, and do not explicitly evaluate the behavioral mechanisms underlying distributional patterns. To this end, we designed a spatially-explicit individual-based model to evaluate movements and spatial distributions near thermal effluents for two fish species with differential thermal preferences; smallmouth bass and saugeye. We used observed water temperatures near the Tanners Creek power plant on the Ohio River to calibrate an existing thermal model (CORMIX) and predict the three-dimensional thermal plume downstream from the plant. Prey consumption and growth of each fish species (represented as super-individuals) were predicted using species-specific bioenergetics models. To consider the consequences of movement rules and select the most appropriate set of rules for future scenarios, we performed simulations where individuals were assigned a variety of movement rules and compared the resulting distribution patterns for both species. Modeling fish movements near industrial discharges will complement field studies and provide for more effective management of fish populations that are potentially directly influenced by anthropogenic activities.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Pantlind

11:40am EST

Cisco Assessment in Northeastern Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: Jason B. Smith*, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; Annalise M. Povolo, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division

ABSTRACT: Recent decreases in alewife Alosa pseudoharengus abundance have increased both interest in and opportunity for restoration of Lake Michigan native planktivores such as cisco Coregonus artedi. Anecdotal evidence, including increased recreational and assessment catch, suggest that Lake Michigan cisco stocks are expanding from their current, near historic low, levels of abundance. However, even if the cisco population is expanding, it is possible that successful restoration may require stocking of an appropriate strain or strains. Since 2014, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Fisheries Enhancement Facility has released more than 50,000 cisco into Little Traverse Bay. Accurate assessment of the Lake Michigan cisco population is needed both to understand the status of the remnant population as well as to assess the efficacy of current and future stocking efforts. Our lake-wide assessment effort focuses on three areas: (1) gaining a better understand of the life history of the remnant Lake Michigan cisco stock; (2) quantifying population demographics of this stock; and (3) detecting and/or quantifying the effect of the current LTBB Hatchery effort. In spring of 2015, we used shallow set gillnets and beach seines to successfully determine that both juvenile, immature and mature fish inhabit nearshore waters less than 10 meters deep. Lake Michigan cisco appear to become pelagic as spring progresses into summer. Therefore, we are using vertical gill nets, suspended gillnets, hydroacoustic monitoring, and pelagic trawls in an effort to document the extent of their seasonal range within the lake. Our fall sampling effort is aimed at identifying previously unknown spawning reefs throughout Northeastern Lake Michigan as well as collecting eggs for the LTBB Hatchery. Ultimately, we plan to use our increased knowledge of Lake Michigan cisco to construct a long-term lake-wide assessment protocol leading to well informed decisions regarding cisco restoration.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Ambassador W

11:40am EST

Examples of Social Media Success
AUTHORS: Tyler Czarnopis*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: See examples of when social media has been used to spread the awareness of research. Learn about methods to successfully use social networks to enhance engagement in research projects.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Emerald A

11:40am EST

Assessment and Conservation of The Northern Mudpuppy Necturus Maculosus Along The Lake Huron To Lake Erie Corridor, Michigan
AUTHORS: David Mifsud*, Herpetological Resource and Management; Dr. Katherine Greenwald, Eastern Michigan University; Maegan Stapleton, Herpetological Resource and Management; Amber Stedman, Eastern Michigan University; Richard Kik IV, Belle Isle Aquarium; Paul Muelle, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority; Jaquie Craig, U.S. Geological Survey; James Boase, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; James Francis, MDNR; Mike Thomas, MDNR; Andrew Briggs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Justin Chiotti, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Ed Roseman, U.S. Geological Survey; Greg Kennedy, U.S. Geological Survey; Mary Bohling, Michigan SeaGrant

ABSTRACT: The mudpuppy Necturus maculosus serves a critical role in the Great Lakes region as an environmental health indicator as well as the obligate host to the state endangered salamander mussel Simpsonaias ambigua. Populations have declined throughout the state in recent years likely due to multiple factors including habitat degradation and loss, invasive species, chemical application, and persecution and collection. Numerous data gaps exist for this fully aquatic salamander in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Given their significant declines and ecological importance, objectives of this project are evaluating the distribution, health, and genetic structure of mudpuppies along the Huron-Erie Corridor (HEC) and to restore mudpuppy habitat benefiting a variety other species as well. This work is applicable throughout species range making it an important step in the future conservation of mudpuppy throughout the Great Lakes region. Importantly this work is possible through collaboration and support of more than 15 different agencies and organizations and these partnerships are critical in achieving the research and conservation objectives.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Vandenberg A

11:40am EST

Robust Spatial Prioritizations For Avian Conservation In The Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Regions Under A Changing Climate
AUTHORS: Chad Wilsey*, National Audubon Society

ABSTRACT: Spatial prioritizations are a tools for guiding conservation in the face of accelerating climate change. However, uncertainty about the rate and degree of future climate change as well as species’ responses to changing climates can complicate prioritization efforts. Audubon has generated spatial prioritizations for avian conservation in the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes regions utilizing an approach robust to these inherent uncertainties. The approach builds prioritizations based on three hypotheses about species’ potential responses to climate change. These reflect a range of assumptions related to niche flexibility and colonization ability. The hypothesis-driven prioritizations are then combined in a final ‘bet-hedging’ ensemble which has been shown to minimize the chance that incorrect assumptions would lead to valuable landscapes and species being overlooked. The resulting climate prioritizations can be overlaid with current landcover to rank areas important for avian conservation today and in a future impacted by climate change. We demonstrate the application of this approach by building multi-species prioritizations for suites of grassland and forest birds and identify areas of high conservation priority in the region.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Governors

11:40am EST

Broad-Scale Spatial Genetic Structure In A High Gene Flow Species, Mule Deer
AUTHORS: Emily K. Latch*, Dawn M. Reding, James R. Heffelfinger, Olin E. Rhodes, Jr.

ABSTRACT: The spatial distribution of genetic diversity provides interesting and sometimes unexpected insights into mechanisms of evolutionary diversification in nature, as well as valuable resources for the development of efficient conservation strategies. For species that exist in isolated populations without direct genetic or ecological connections, delineating populations across a landscape can be straightforward. As connectivity among populations increases, defining discrete populations and identifying dispersal barriers becomes more challenging. Characterization of spatial genetic structure is perhaps most challenging in continuously distributed species with no apparent population boundaries. Widespread, highly mobile species with the ability to thrive in a wide range of habitats are expected to show little genetic differentiation across their range. In this study, we provide a continent-scale assessment of genetic variability for mule deer across their full range in western North America. Our primary goal was to quantify broad-scale patterns of spatial genetic structure in this common species, to test whether historical and contemporary processes have resulted in cryptic spatial genetic structure, as has been found for carnivores. We also examined potential mechanisms involved in establishing and maintaining population divergence in this widespread, mobile ungulate. To achieve this goal, we sampled over 1900 geo-referenced individuals collected throughout the mule deer range, and assessed genetic variation at 10 microsatellite loci using both individual and population-based analyses. Despite the potential for high levels of gene flow in mule deer, our data revealed the presence of broad-scale spatial genetic structure. Both individual-based and population-based analyses supported the existence of three main genetic lineages, and resolved additional substructure within each lineage. The locations of these lineages correspond well to predictions based on the biogeographic history of mule deer, and suggest that the broad-scale patterns of spatial genetic structure we observed are primarily due to historical restrictions of gene flow.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Atrium

11:40am EST

Aquatic Invasive Species Passage Project Screening Tool
AUTHORS: Nate Jacobson*, LimnoTech; Doug Bradley, LimnoTech; Scott Bell, LimnoTech; Donovan Henry, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: The “Aquatic Invasive Species Passage Project Screening Tool” is designed to support U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) personnel in their evaluation and ranking of proposed fish passage and stream restoration projects, specifically with respect to the potential to spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). This Microsoft Excel-based, decision-support tool was developed for use in project planning by FWS personnel within the Upper Mississippi, Ohio River, and Lower Missouri River Basins. The tool focuses on potential passage removal projects that could promote hydrologic connectivity, specifically in areas where the potential range expansion of fish and crustacean AIS through aquatic pathways should be considered as part of the barrier removal decision process. In order to provide scientifically supported advice, the tool was created through a review of existing, relevant protocols, studies, risk assessments, reports, and regulations that support decision making on passage projects. This literature review included compiling relevant life history and habitat preference information for 10 AIS threats found within the project region and the selection of key metrics to be included in the tool. The concept tool is designed for the following aquatic invasive species: bighead carp, silver carp, black carp, scud, northern snakehead, rusty crayfish, round goby, inland silverside, white perch, and Eurasian ruffe. The tool is also simple and flexible enough to accommodate additional species and updated information, when available. The AIS expansion risk for a potential project is scored by working through a series of metrics and questions, with a pre-defined scoring system that automatically calculates the overall risk score for the project. This talk will discuss the background and process that went into developing the tool and the overall functionality of the tool in supporting passage project decisions.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Ambassador E

11:40am EST

A Discussion of Fish Contaminants In The Context of The Future Management of Great Lakes Fisheries
AUTHORS: Ryan R. Holem*, GEI Consultants of Michigan, P.C.

ABSTRACT: Fish contaminant issues should be evaluated when fisheries management actions are being considered for a given water body. It is widely known that elevated levels of contaminants can be found in tissues of some species of Great Lakes fish and consumption of fish is a primary route of human exposure to contaminants (e.g., methylmercury). In 2012, over 70% of Michigan anglers who responded to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) online survey rated contaminants as an “important” or “highly important” challenge to MDNR fisheries efforts, but the extent to which fish contaminant levels or the existence of fish consumption advisories may impact fishing participation is unclear. In recent years, significant changes in the population of popular Great Lakes sportfish (e.g., salmonids) have been observed in the Great Lakes. Shifts in angler harvest patterns due to changing fish communities could impact exposure of fish consumers to contaminants found in fish tissues, as could the implementation of fisheries management tools such as slot limits, modifications to minimum/maximum legal size, and bag limit changes. 

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Gerald Ford

11:40am EST

Using An Updated Road Network To Map Watershed Infrastructure Vulnerability For The Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan
AUTHORS: Mark Fedora, Ottawa National Forest; Christopher Kovala, Ottawa National Forest; Colin Brooks, Michigan Tech Research Institute; David Banach*, Michigan Tech Research Institute

ABSTRACT: While providing transportation for people and goods, there are a number of negative ecological impacts that stem from a road network including the increase of relative vulnerability of infrastructure in watersheds. Sixth-level sub-watersheds for three watersheds in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula were assigned a relative vulnerability rating ranging from very low to very high, based on road density and weighted hydrological soil groups. Watersheds with deep sandy soils and low road densities received a very low risk rating, while watersheds with clay soils or shallow to bedrock soils and high road densities received a very high risk rating. This rating system originally reported that National Forest lands generally consisted of higher vulnerability risks due to higher road densities. However, upon closer examination of multi-temporal aerial imagery, numerous miles of unmapped forested roads on other land ownerships were discovered. Therefore, an updated and improved road network dataset was necessary to draw inferences that quantify the total vulnerability impact upon a watershed. The updated road network for these three watersheds consisted of 8,200 miles of previously unmapped roads, with an additional 4,150 road-stream crossings. The watershed infrastructure vulnerability mapping effort was reassessed to determine how vulnerability patterns across the landscape have changed due to the updated road network. This infrastructure vulnerability remapping is serving as an effective tool to help managers in prioritizing infrastructure inventories and “right size” road/stream crossings in watersheds with high vulnerability ratings.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Pearl

11:40am EST

Estimating Population Abundance Trends Via Presence-Absence Data
AUTHORS: Sam Rossman*; Elise Zipkin

ABSTRACT: Monitoring a species population abundances across large geographic ranges is critically important to conservation efforts but generally requires precise abundance estimates from a large number of sites, and across many years which are often difficult to obtain. Mark recapture studies provide precise estimates of abundance but are generally limited to small geographic ranges. Recently, developed N-mixture models can provide abundance estimates from counts of unmarked individuals, however, many species are predominately identified via presence-absence data (e.g., occupancy) such as those identified by call or scat analysis. We present a novel modeling framework in which we use only occupancy data to derive abundance estimates through time. This state space modeling uses an observation model in which non-detections are the conditional probability of failing to detect any individual present. This observational model provides a link between occupancy data and abundance estimation. We validate this model using simulation studies and discuss the required data. While, this approach requires a large amount of occupancy data it provides a means to monitor the abundance of species in which count data is difficult or impossible to obtain and could be particularly powerful in the analysis of citizen science data. We apply our model to examine population trends in the northern spotted owl which is threatened by the invasive barred owl in Western Oregon. Previous to our analysis population abundance monitoring was not feasible for this threatened species.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Vandenberg B

11:40am EST

Mannomin Zizania Spp. (Wild Rice) Species Habitat Variables and Monitoring
AUTHORS: Allison Smart*, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians; Stephanie Ogren, Grand Rapids Public Museum; Scott McNaught, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: Wild rice Zizania spp. (mannomin) is a culturally significant plant to Tribes throughout the Great Lakes Region. Concerns about mannomin populations lead to collaboration between Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Central Michigan University to investigate wild rice habitats in Michigan. There are two species of wild rice native to Michigan. Z. palustris is found growing in both peninsulas, while Z. aquatica is only located in the Lower Peninsula. With recent interest and multiple restoration attempts, questions regarding ecological requirements for healthy populations and differentiation of the two species in Michigan have arisen. We sampled 20 locations with wild rice site present throughout Michigan to determine possible differences in abiotic parameters based upon species present and geographical regions within Michigan. Sites with Z. aquatica present had higher nutrient concentrations and conductivity, and lower pH and a greater proportion of catchment agricultural land use than Z. palustris sites. Northern, Central and Southern Geographic regions of Michigan were delineated by differences in, nutrient concentrations; conductivity and catchment land use classifications. Areas with Z. aquatica had higher conductivity than areas with Z. palustris. This study suggests that varying conductivity throughout the State has implications for wild rice populations specifically in the context of restoration. As planting and restoration plans move forward continued monitoring to determine annual and large scale changes to wild rice beds is a strong component of the wild rice program at LRBOI. This work will help determine potential changes to local wild rice beds over time as well as success of future restoration attempts.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Imperial

11:40am EST

Assessment and Conservation of a Wood Turtle Glyptemys Insculpta Population Over 46 Years in Northern Michigan
AUTHORS: James H. Harding, Michigan State University; Peter Wilson, Independent Researcher; David A. Mifsud, Herpetological Resource and Management

ABSTRACT: In 1969 a study was established to evaluate the demography, spatial distribution, and overall population viability in a northern Michigan population of Glyptemys insculpta. During the duration of this study (and particularly the late 1980s- early 1990s) the population was significantly reduced by poaching, presumably for the illegal pet trade. Substantial and increasing nest and direct mortality from over-populated raccoons, and perhaps other subsidized meso-predators, have exacerbated the turtle's decline and prevented any potential recovery. Efforts began in the late 1990s to test the possibility of augmenting recruitment through artificial incubation of eggs for immediate hatchling release, and by headstarting and raising of young for one season prior to release. We will offer comments on what has been learned over 46 years of observations, along with practical conservation recommendations to help conserve this declining species.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Emerald B

12:00pm EST

Lunch Break - on own
Monday January 25, 2016 12:00pm - 1:20pm EST
N/A

12:00pm EST

NCD AFS Past Presidents Lunch (invitation only)
Monday January 25, 2016 12:00pm - 1:30pm EST
Bull Head Tavern 188 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

1:00pm EST

1:20pm EST

Do Lake Huron Fish Prefer Hot Dogs or Potato Chips?
AUTHORS: Patricia Armenio*, David "Bo" Bunnell, David Warner –USGS-GLSC

ABSTRACT: The Lake Huron food-web has undergone fundamental changes since 2002 from declines in primary production to the near collapse of the Chinook salmon fishery.  One native forage fish species, bloater Coregonus hoyi appears to have at least partially benefited from the changing ecosystem.  Bloater consumes both benthic invertebrates and zooplankton and has increased in abundance since the mid-2000s, although its growth and condition appears stunted.  Rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax, a nonnative forage fish, is another dominant prey fish in Lake Huron, although its population trends have trended downward since the 1980s and has been relatively stable in the 2000s.  One possible explanation for the changing fish community is a shift in zooplankton community composition and domination of the benthic invertebrate community by invasive dreissenid mussels (which bloater and smelt cannot consume).  To evaluate which prey species were important to bloater and rainbow smelt consumption, we calculated Vanderploeg’s W´ index of selectivity in Spring, Summer, and Autumn of 2012 at three depths (18 m, 46 m and 82 m) near Hammond Bay and Thunder Bay in northern Lake Huron.  Bloater greater than 90 mm total length (TL) selected mostly for chironomids, Mysis, and also Bythotrephes.  While Mysis is an energetically valuable prey item (i.e., hot dogs), chironomids and Bythotrephes are lower food quality (i.e., potato chips).  These diet selectivities could help explain the truncated size distribution and lower than expected physiological condition of bloater.  Rainbow smelt greater than 80 mm selected mostly for Senecella calanoides, a large calanoid copepod, in Spring and Bythotrephes in other seasons.  Rainbow smelt seem to be more opportunistic and generalist feeders than bloater.  Our research describing forage fish diet and selectivity patterns can be used in future research to better understand changes in growth and production of these two key species in Lake Huron.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Ambassador W

1:20pm EST

These Resources Are YOUR Resources
AUTHORS: Kevin Frailey*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: America's model of wildlife conservation and the holding of these resources in the public trust is one of the greatest conservation achievements in history. Learn how you can relate these important themes to the public and demonstrate that the future of America's crucial natural resources is dependent on the service and stewardship of all generations.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Emerald A

1:20pm EST

(CANCELLED) Grassland Birds and Roads: Does Occurrence Differ With Road Type and Proximity To Roads?
AUTHORS: Kassondra Hendricks*, South Dakota State University; Dr. Kristel Bakker, Dakota State University; Dr. Chuck Dieter, South Dakota State University

NOTE: This talk has been cancelled. 

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Governors

1:20pm EST

Elk Management In The Eastern United States
AUTHORS: Shelby Hiestand*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Jennifer Kleitch, Michigan DNR; Jeremy Banfield, Pennsylvania Game and Fish; Will Bowling, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; Kevin Wallenfang, Wisconsin DNR

ABSTRACT: Elk Cervus canadensis were extirpated from the eastern United States by the late 1800s due primarily to habitat degradation and unregulated hunting. Early attempts to bring elk back to eastern states occurred with varying success as early as the 1910s. Some of these small populations were able to establish and still exist today. Many factors limited success of reintroductions including disease, unsustainable harvest levels, removal of crop-depredating elk, and isolation of small, unsustainable herds. Elk populations currently exist in MI, KY, PA, WI, MN, AR, TN, NC, MO, WV, and VA. Reintroduction efforts continue to this day most recently in expanding Wisconsin and Minnesota elk range. Current herds in the eastern US vary widely in population, management strategies and techniques. Each area that reestablishes elk on the landscape faces similar challenges including gaining local public support, funding, and outlining future goals and management strategies. As each herd is regionally unique, managers face diverse challenges depending on habitat type, weather conditions, disease concerns, predators, and potential to become a nuisance animal. Establishment of hunting seasons is a common strategy for managing established populations. Seasons, quotas, and designation of hunting areas add another layer of control as well as challenges for managers. Beyond hunting, elk have also become a popular species for wildlife viewing and established viewing areas or parks bring tourism to these regions. Current tasks for many managers include habitat management, population monitoring, and communicating with the public. Communication among elk managers of these isolated populations is important in improving and expanding local management resources.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Vandenberg A

1:20pm EST

(CANCELLED) Advances In Active and Passive Environmental DNA Surveillance In Aquatic Ecosystems
AUTHORS: Dr. Andrew R. Mahon, Associate Professor of Molecular Ecology, Department of Biology, Institute for Great Lakes Research, Central Michigan University

NOTE: THIS TALK HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Atrium

1:20pm EST

Invasive Species Management In Uncertain Times: How To Be Proactive, Not Reactive
AUTHORS: Kile Kucher*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Natural resource managers often make decisions under great uncertainty when managing trust resources. Often, managing to increase habitat value requires controlling widespread invasive species and places a burden on available resources. Yet, because of limited resources, some recommended management actions may not be implemented. As invasive species expand, the costs of treatment escalate, while the likelihood of successful mitigation declines. It is most cost effective to identify species that pose the greatest threat to wildlife and direct actions towards prevention and early detection and response. This requires an understanding of what is valued, the level of threat posed by invasive species, and effective control techniques and costs. However, it is rare that managers will ever have enough knowledge to proceed down a perfect path. Logical action should be taken based upon current knowledge. This presentation will focus on these principles with examples at multiple scales, including how collaboration can extend resources and expand knowledge and success.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Ambassador E

1:20pm EST

Spatial Patterns of Charter Boat Catches In Lake Michigan: Analyzing Patterns and Web-Based Visualization
AUTHORS: Tomas O. Höök*, Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant; Nicholas Simpson, Andrew Honsey, Jarrod Doucette –Purdue University FNR; Edward Rutherford, NOAA-GLERL

ABSTRACT: Lake Michigan supports important charter boat fisheries targeting various species of salmon and trout. Charter boat operators are required to report a variety of information for each fishing trip, including species harvest, number of anglers and time spent fishing, as well as the 10-minute grid cell fished in. We compiled these spatial data collected by the Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources from 1992-2012. We analyzed spatial patterns in harvest and harvest-per-unit-effort of salmonines over time, and compared observed patterns with hypotheses based on recent foodweb changes (e.g., decreased offshore production) and physical trends (e.g., lake warming).We also developed a web-based spatial visualization so that anglers can access monthly patterns of salmonine harvest and use this information to make fishing decisions. We will discuss implications of observed spatial changes in salmonine harvest and potential utility of our web-based visualization.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Gerald Ford

1:20pm EST

Emerging Technologies For Sea Lamprey Control
AUTHORS: Michael J. Siefkes*, Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Nicholas S. Johnson, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: The Great Lakes Fishery Commission (Commission) implements a program to control the invasive, parasitic sea lamprey in the Great Lakes. The primary methods of control are periodic applications of selective pesticides (lampricides) that kill larval sea lampreys in their natal tributaries and the use of barriers to prevent adult sea lampreys from accessing spawning habitats in hundreds of Great Lakes tributaries. Although lampricides and barriers have been successful at reducing sea lamprey abundance by 90% from peak levels, the Commission is heavily invested in the development of alternative methods of sea lamprey control. Having more tools in the tool box will allow for a truly integrated approach to sea lamprey control and will also provide options to better balance the sometimes conflicting practices of sea lamprey control and the connectivity of lotic ecosystems. One area of particular interest is the development of behavioral manipulation tactics to either 1) block adult sea lamprey migrations without the use of physical barriers, 2) guide adult sea lampreys into traps, and 3) guide out-migrating juvenile sea lampreys into traps. The use of reproductive pheromones, alarm substances, and electricity are currently being explored in management-scale trials to determine their potential use for sea lamprey control.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Pearl

1:20pm EST

Fishery Stock Assessments: An Overview Of State-Space Applications
AUTHORS: James R. Bence*, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: For the purposes of this presentation, a state-space model is one where the probability distribution of the system state at the next time step is determined by the system state at the current time step, and transition rules, and where system characteristics are observed with error. The estimation task is estimate parameters for the transition rules, the initial system state, and process errors. Given this definition, most recent statistically-based fishery stock assessments are state-space models. For fishery stock assessment, interest is in both identifying and parameterizing the transition rules, and in determining the likely system states over the observation period, particularly stock size and mortality rates at the end of the time-series. The underlying transition rules are critical for supporting evaluation of management strategies, whereas estimation of the current state is needed for applying a management strategy (e.g., setting a limit on annual harvest). A diversity of estimation approaches are currently applied in fishery stock assessment, including a "mixed-effect" approach where process errors are treated as random effects, penalized likelihood (from a Bayesian perspective highest posterior density), and full Bayesian hierarchical approaches where process errors are drawn from distributions, and inferences about the parameters of those distributions are also made. The strengths and weaknesses of these various approaches will be reviewed.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Vandenberg B

1:20pm EST

Collaborative Approaches To Coastal Marsh Restoration In The Upper St. Marys River
AUTHORS: Joseph Lautenbach, Eric Clark, Shane Lishawa, and Nick Reo

ABSTRACT: The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is located in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Migratory bird hunting is an important subsistence activity for Sault Tribe members, with a large proportion of hunting activity taking place in and around the St. Marys River corridor. The islands, marshes, and shallow water bays of the upper St. Marys River are vital for migratory birds for breeding and stop-over sites in the Great Lakes Region. The coastal wetlands of the upper St. Mary’s have been impacted in a complex manner through water regulation, shipping traffic and invasive species introduction. Sault Tribe is collaborating with universities and colleges to improve migratory bird habitat by restoring native hardstem bulrushes Schoenoplectus acutus and removing invasive hybrid cattails Typha x glauca. In the northern Great Lakes, where native plant seed banks are intact, mechanical removal of invasive cattails promotes recovery of plant communities and effectively controls cattails. In 2015, we initiated an experiment where we removed cattails mechanically from 4 ha of a recently invaded St. Marys River marsh to evaluate the effectiveness of harvesting and bulrush planting to restore native biodiversity and wildlife habitat. In 2016, we plan to plant 15,000 bulrush plugs, plant bulrush seeds, conduct monitoring efforts, and continue mechanical removal of hybrid cattails in important migratory bird habitat. By monitoring bird use of St. Marys River wetlands and determining effective invasive plant control strategies, we can target restoration efforts in areas that are most important to migratory birds. These efforts will continue over the next several years with the goal of enhancing wetland quality and improving migratory bird habitat.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Imperial

1:20pm EST

An 18-Year Study of Wood Turtles Glyptemys Insculpta in Northern Lower Michigan
AUTHORS: Timothy Lewis*, University of St Thomas; Todd Arnold, University of Minnesota; Alaini Schneider, University of St Thomas; Philip Huber, US Forest Service

ABSTRACT: Wood turtles Glyptemys insculpta are found in the upper Midwest as well as east to the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout their range, numbers are declining such that they are protected at some level in most states and internationally. Wood turtles typically inhabit forested streams. Long-term studies offer different kinds of information useful to resource managers and biologists alike. We studied one population of wood turtles in Lower Michigan for 18 years, individually marking 259 different turtles (143 females, 88 males) with unique notching and most with pit tags. Over 100 were followed using radio transmitters. Genetic testing from scale samples estimated the population at 50 effective breeders and declining, although other population estimating methods (modified mark-recapture, MARC software) place the population at more than twice that, still declining. Males had lower long-term survival rates than females. Wood turtles are relatively easy to age in their earlier years, with average age of turtles captured at 14.8 years. Turtles spend most of their time within 100 meters of a major stream, with significant seasonal differences with June being the month of the most distant movements, and distances greater than 50 m from the stream by April, having some impact on site availability for controlled burns. Individuals radio located in multiple years give long-term habitat use information, including seasonal and annual differences. Comparison to other long-term studies of wood turtles show many similarities but a few significant areas of difference from this population.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Emerald B

1:20pm EST

Fish Community Response To The Establishment And Expansion of Asian Carp Along a Spatio-Temporal Gradient
AUTHORS: Jason A. DeBoer, Mark W. Fritts, Daniel K. Gibson-Reinemer, and Andrew F. Casper; Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

ABSTRACT: Long-term, spatially extensive datasets are critically important for understanding broad-scale ecological changes. In the 1950s, Illinois Natural History Survey scientists initiated a standardized electrofishing sampling program (Long-Term ElectroFishing - LTEF) on the Illinois River Waterway (IRW). This monitoring program spans six decades and has documented not only the effects of pervasive degradation, but also the promising recovery of a fish community following the passage of environmental regulations during the 1970s. However, as a heavily modified river system that connects the Mississippi River watershed to the Great Lakes watershed, the IRW is a conduit for the movement of invasive species between watersheds. The most-recent – and perhaps most-feared – invasives are Asian carps, which threaten the Great Lakes themselves, and countless highly productive miles of connected rivers as well. Using the unparalleled spatio-temporal record of the LTEF program, we have documented the Asian carps’ march up the IRW toward the Great Lakes. We present an analysis of an ongoing 60-year, watershed-scale dataset, including ebbs and flows in Asian carp CPUE, condition, and chronic effects on the fish community. Our program provides fish community data prior to the invasion and at every step as it happens. Our objective is to provide a better understanding of how Asian carps have affected fish communities throughout the IRW. We believe these findings may provide indications of how Asian carp populations can become established and grow in novel habitats.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Pantlind

1:40pm EST

Most Chinook Salmon Stocked Into Northern Lake Huron Have Been Feeding in Lake Michigan Since The Collapse of Alewives in Lake Huron
AUTHORS: Rick Clark*, Quantitative Fisheries Center, Michigan State University; Reneé Reilly, Quantitative Fisheries Center, Michigan State University; James R. Bence, Quantitative Fisheries Center, Michigan State University; Randall M. Claramunt, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station; John A. Clevenger, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station; Matthew S. Kornis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office; Charles R. Bronte, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office; Charles P. Madenjian, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; and Edward F. Roseman, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center

ABSTRACT: Alewives are preferred food of Great Lakes Chinook salmon. Alewife abundance declined to near zero in Lake Huron (LH) in 2004 and has subsequently remained low. In contrast, alewife abundance in Lake Michigan (LM) has remained comparatively high. We wondered if this abrupt change in relative abundance between lakes affected movement patterns of Chinook salmon. We compared movements before (1993-1997) and after (2008-2014) the alewife collapse using recapture locations of Chinook salmon tagged and released at similar sites in each lake; Medusa Creek in LM and Swan River in LH. Both sites are about 80 kilometers from the boundary between lakes. We aggregated recaptures into seasonal periods; April-July and August-October. Based on the life history of Chinook salmon, we assumed that the primary reason for movements in the first period was feeding and the primary reason for movements in the second period was spawning. We found that over 90% of recaptures in 1993-1997 were from within the same lake where fish were stocked regardless of season. That is, Medusa fish fed in LM and returned to Medusa Creek to spawn, and Swan fish fed in LH and returned to Swan River to spawn. After the collapse of alewives in LH, Medusa fish continued the same pattern, but Swan fish changed their feeding location to LM. Over 90% of recaptures of Swan fish in 2008-2014 were in LM during the feeding season, and the spatial distribution of recaptures was similar to that of Medusa fish. The distribution was centered in the Ludington-Manistee area of LM, more than 250 kilometers from the boundary between the lakes. Fish returned to their respective release sites in the spawning season. We concluded that most Chinook salmon stocked into Northern LH since the collapse of alewives have been feeding in LM.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Ambassador W

1:40pm EST

How Marketing Can Move The Needle (And Float Your Boat!)
AUTHORS: Kristin M. Phillips*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Learn why it's important to follow the "science" of marketing when talking to your customers, some case studies from the Michigan DNR and steps you can follow to build your own marketing plan.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Emerald A

1:40pm EST

Breeding Bird Use and Nesting Ecology In Moist-Soil Wetlands Managed For Waterfowl
AUTHORS: Kristen M. Finch*, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Thomas J. Benson, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Heath M. Hagy, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Many guilds of migratory birds including grassland birds have declined during the last century. Within the United States, population declines of grassland birds have been especially pronounced in the Midwest. Much of this decline is attributed to the loss and alteration of native grasslands and other suitable habitats. Previous studies have suggested that seasonally de-watered moist-soil wetlands may provide adequate habitat for nesting songbirds during the breeding season. However, breeding bird use of these specific habitats has not been quantified, and is a specific need identified in relevant state and regional land management plans. The Illinois River Valley (IRV) is a unique collection of habitat types including moist-soil wetlands managed for waterfowl by public agencies and private landowners. Using the IRV as a study area, I aim to assess breeding bird, especially grassland bird, use of and nesting ecology in moist-soil wetlands, and to identify factors influencing nest density and success in that habitat.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Governors

1:40pm EST

Habitat Selection of Reintroduced Bison in Northern Illinois
AUTHORS: Julia C. Brockman*, Southern Illinois University; Clayton K. Nielsen, Southern Illinois University; Jeffery W. Walk, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: American bison Bison bison have historically played an integral role in shaping prairie ecosystems. In one of the first reintroductions of a semi-wild population of bison east of the Mississippi River, The Nature Conservancy reintroduced bison to the Nachusa Grasslands in northern Illinois in November 2014. Given the novelty of such efforts, questions remain regarding how human disturbances and prairie management affect bison habitat selection. Our study will address these literature gaps while investigating seasonal and annual changes in habitat selection. During the first year of study (October 2014-September 2015), we collected hourly location data from Lotek Iridium TrackM 3D and 4D collars placed on 7 bison prior to reintroduction. We overlayed these data on a map of land cover types within the bison enclosure. Using a Chi-square test with a 95% confidence interval, we compared observed bison use of cover types to expected use. Our initial findings indicate significant preferential selection for remnant prairie and unrestored grassland relative to restored prairie and oak savanna. Future analysis will include the development of a resource selection function to more thoroughly investigate other environmental and management-related variables that may influence habitat selection, including burn regime, planting restoration date, slope, aspect, and distance from anthropogenic structures. With a better understanding of how bison grazing is influenced by restoration management and human disturbance, wildlife managers can make better-informed decisions regarding bison restoration and public use.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Vandenberg A

1:40pm EST

Persistence of Walleye Strains In Southern Minnesota
AUTHORS: Loren Miller*, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Ryan Doorenbos, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Craig Soupir, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Walleye are the most desired gamefish in Minnesota and have been widely stocked for over a century. A genetics survey in the 1980s led to watershed-based stocking in northern Minnesota, but conservation of genetic diversity in southern Minnesota was not considered a priority. We used microsatellite DNA markers and Bayesian assignment techniques to determine ancestry of walleyes in numerous southern Minnesota lakes and rivers. Sampling locations included waters with native populations, some that were known sources for hatchery production, and lakes with introduced populations. Lakes throughout the Cannon River chain, a tributary to the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota, have persisting native ancestry despite ongoing stocking of northern Minnesota strains. Natural reproduction in several introduced populations is primarily sustained by Cannon or Mississippi River sources that have not been stocked for 25 years, despite subsequent stocking of other northern strains. Another distinct strain has persisted in the Crow River system in south-central Minnesota. This strain has recently been stocked in many southern lakes and was also shown to contribute to natural reproduction. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is exploring ways to maintain the genetic integrity of these newly recognized strains. Although it is clear that southern strains are persisting in their source water and contributing to natural reproduction where introduced in southern lakes, it is uncertain that they could sustain high enough population levels to satisfy angler demand.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Atrium

1:40pm EST

Lake Erie Asian Carp Response Exercise: A Collaborative Approach For Responding To Aquatic Invasive Species In The Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Seth J. Herbst, Nick Popoff*, Jim Francis, Jeff Tyson, Chris Vandergoot, Tammy Newcomb

ABSTRACT: The Great Lakes are influenced by established aquatic invasive species (AIS) and the threat of new invaders persists. Asian carp are a group of AIS that have received much attention in the Great Lakes because of their negative impacts and potential to spread. Grass carp, a species of Asian carp, are considered to cause less substantial impacts than bighead and silver carps. However, recent evidence suggests that grass carp natural recruitment has occurred in Lake Erie. Additional reports of grass carp from commercial fishermen have elevated the concern in Lake Erie. To address these concerns, the Michigan and Ohio DNRs led a three day multi-agency response exercise with goals to use a collaborative multi-agency approach to increase staff preparedness on Asian carp sampling methodologies and to increase the information base of grass carp population demographics in western Lake Erie. The Council of Great Lakes Governors Mutual Aid Agreement was exercised and multiple agencies, universities and a commercial fisherman participated in this response exercise focused in Michigan waters of Lake Erie. The three day exercise resulted in the capture of two grass carp. This exercise provides a response framework that can be utilized for future AIS responses within the basin.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Ambassador E

1:40pm EST

Fishing Online: Evaluating The Impact of Online Communications on Angler Engagement
AUTHORS: Julie Claussen*, Kim Stanhope, Jeffrey A. Stein – University of Illinois

ABSTRACT: Traditionally, methods to relay information about recreational fishing to the angling community have included magazines, special publications, displays, and events. In recent years, the number of websites and mobile device applications delivering information to the recreational angling public has grown substantially. State agencies now provide a multitude of online services in addition to fisheries information, including license sales, tournament registration, regulation information, fishing reports and maps, how-to guides, and research updates. The increasing ease and accessibility of online and mobile use improving every year, online communications may have influenced angler recruitment and retention to recreational fisheries, and changed angler behaviour in these fisheries. Effective online information and services may keep anglers engaged and informed, make license purchases more accessible, and ultimately lead to an expanding angling population.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Gerald Ford

1:40pm EST

Consequences of Contaminant Biotransport By Pacific Salmon For Upper Great Lakes Tributaries
AUTHORS: B.S. Gerig*, University of Notre Dame; D.T. Chaloner, University of Notre Dame; D.J. Janetski, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; R.R. Rediske, Grand Valley State University; A.H. Moerke, Lake Superior State University; J. McNair, Grand Valley State University; D.A. Pitts, University of Notre Dame; and G.A. Lamberti, University of Notre Dame

ABSTRACT: Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) can deliver a significant pulse of biomass, including its bioaccumulated contaminants, to tributaries during spawning runs. Thus, salmon transport contaminants accumulated in the Great Lakes (e.g., persistent organic pollutants [POPs], total mercury [THg]) to tributaries that otherwise lack point source pollution. We used a combination of observational surveys, experimental manipulations, and modeling, to (1) assess the extent of salmon-mediated biotransport across the upper Great Lakes; (2) determine pathways by which stream fish become contaminated by salmon; and (3) forecast areas at significant risk from salmon biotransport. Resident stream fish (e.g., brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis) in salmon spawning reaches had higher POP concentrations than fish in upstream reaches lacking salmon, but the extent of contamination varied among lake basins and streams. In contrast, THg concentrations in the same fish did not differ between reaches with and without salmon spawners but exhibited considerable among-site variability. In general, resident fish in Lake Michigan tributaries were the most contaminated by POPs, suggesting a direct relationship between salmon-derived contaminant inputs and resident fish contaminant levels. Experimental exposure to salmon carcasses and eggs for 50 days increased brook trout POP concentrations by 50 times. Eggs are elevated in POPs but depleted in THg compared to whole salmon, suggesting that resident fish contaminant levels reflect direct consumption of eggs rather than indirect food web pathways. Our model suggests that salmon-mediated bioaccumulation is primarily influenced by the size and duration of salmon runs, and secondarily by factors including individual consumption rates, temperature regime, and background pollutant levels. Overall, our research provides increased understanding on the physical, chemical, and biological controls of salmon contaminant biotransport in the Great Lakes region. This research will help inform management decisions in this region with respect to legacy pollution, dam removal, stream connectivity, fish stocking, and non-native species in stream ecosystems.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Pearl

1:40pm EST

Performance of a Bayesian State-Space Model of Semelparous Species For Stock-Recruitment Data Subject To Measurement Error
AUTHORS: Zhenming Su*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Measurement errors in spawner abundance create problems for fish stock assessment scientists. To deal with measurement error, we develop a Bayesian state-space model for stock-recruitment data that contain measurement error in spawner abundance, process error in recruitment, and time series bias. Through extensive simulations across numerous scenarios, we compare the statistical performance of the Bayesian state-space model with that of standard regression for a traditional stock-recruitment model that only considers process error. Performance varies depending on the information content in data determined by stock productivity, types of harvest situations, and the amount of measurement error. Neither model performs best across all scenarios, but the Bayesian state-space model is most frequently best for informative data. However, the traditional model may be used for very low-productivity stocks having a moderate amount of measurement error.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Vandenberg B

1:40pm EST

Pooling Resources To Inform Management; A Case Study of an American Marten Resource Collaboration
AUTHORS: Paul Keenlance*, Grand Valley State University Biology Dept.; Maria Spriggs, Busch Gardens; Robert Sanders, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Natural Resources Dept.; Ari Cornman, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Natural Resources Dept.; Joseph Jacquot, Grand Valley State University Biology Dept.

ABSTRACT: In an era of downward trending budgets and increasing management challenges, collaborations and the resulting pooling of resources to accomplish research and management goals is increasingly important. We discuss an example of a collaboration between a university, a Native American tribe, and a zoo to conduct research with a goal of informing management decisions for American martens in Michigan’s lower peninsula. American marten are a member of the family Mustelidae associated with mature and structurally diverse forested habitat. The species historically ranged throughout most of MI. They were extirpated from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan by the early 20th century due to overharvest and loss of habitat. Marten were reintroduced to the area in the mid-1980’s but little is known about the population’s current size, demographics, genetic diversity and health. The US Forest Service requested research to be conducted to help explore these aspects of marten ecology and guide management strategies in the Lower Peninsula. Through a collaborative effort, we have been able to conduct a unique multifaceted study to address these questions. We discuss the benefits of pooling resources and knowledge as well as the challenges experienced. Each organization in this collaboration has provided a different culture or perspective that ultimately strengthened the scientific merit of the project, improved the technical capabilities, and maximized safety for the individual animal. We also describe the challenges of project development and implementation, including those related to logistics, accountability, and liability. We also address how we have dealt with more complicated issues, such as publication rights, data sharing, and differing IACUC needs. Finally, we give a brief overview of project progress to date. Given the reality of finite resources, we suggest that a little can go a long way when organizations decide to work together to realize a common goal.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Imperial

1:40pm EST

Wood Turtle Conservation and Research in Michigan as Part of Upper Midwest Collaborative Effort
AUTHORS: Yu Man Lee*, Michigan Natural Features Inventory/Michigan State University Extension; Timothy L. Lewis, University of St. Thomas

ABSTRACT: The Upper Midwest Riverine Turtle Project is a collaborative effort among Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa funded through a Comprehensive –State Wildlife Grant (C-SWG) focusing primarily on the wood turtle. In Michigan, the wood turtle is a species of special concern. It also has been identified as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan. Threats to wood turtle populations in Michigan include habitat loss and fragmentation, limited recruitment due to nest predation, road mortality, collection, and human disturbance from intensive recreational use in and along rivers and streams. Loss and degradation of suitable nesting habitat and reduced nesting success due to streambank stabilization, recreational use, flooding, invasive species, and/or vegetative succession also threaten some populations. This project addresses some of these threats by identifying areas with suitable nesting habitat for wood turtles that are safe from flooding, protecting nests from predation, identifying areas that may be barriers to turtle movement, enhancing nesting habitat, and assessing the effectiveness of some of these conservation actions. Aerial photo interpretation, radio-telemetry, and/or field surveys were conducted in 2014 and 2015 to identify areas with suitable flood-safe nesting habitat and areas that may be barriers to turtle movement within the study areas. Wood turtle nests were identified and protected using individual nest enclosures, and monitored to determine nesting success and effectiveness of the nest enclosures. Results from this project will help inform and guide management and conservation for wood turtles in Michigan and the Upper Midwest. Highlights of results from the project in Michigan will be presented.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Emerald B

1:40pm EST

Upstream-Downstream Variation In Silver Carp Life-History Traits Along An Invasion Front
AUTHORS: Christopher Sullivan*, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Carlos Camacho, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Michael J. Weber, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University , Clay L. Pierce, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University and U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Longitudinal gradients in river morphology can influence life-history traits of fish populations. Since the 1970s, silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix have spread throughout the Mississippi River basin and are currently expanding into interior Iowa rivers. Under range expansion, life-history traits are expected to differ from central to peripheral populations (e.g., smaller individuals and skewed sex ratios for peripheral populations) which may influence population establishment and growth. To test this hypothesis, silver carp life-history traits were evaluated along an upstream-downstream invasion front (northern edge of range, adults present and reproduce but no known recruitment). Silver carp were collected with daytime electrofishing from April – September 2014/2015 at five locations along the Des Moines River and at the Mississippi River confluence. Mean catch per unit effort ranged from 8.2 to 434.0 fish/hour (mean = 70.8, SD = 110.4) but were not related to river location. At downstream sites, silver carp were generally larger, fish grew faster, and sex ratios were skewed towards females compared to upstream sites. However, silver carp GSI and condition were unrelated to river location. Our results suggest that silver carp populations display variations in life-history traits along longitudinal gradients which may be an important component of successful range expansion into novel systems. After initial establishment, silver carp colonization into novel river reaches free of barriers (e.g., dams) may require different life-history traits than those required to maintain a viable, self-sustaining population.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Pantlind

2:00pm EST

Current Growth, Condition, and Fecundity Trends of Alewives in Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: Zach Prause*, Ball State University; Thomas Lauer, Ball State University

ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, alewives Alosa pseudoharengus in Lake Michigan have been showing signs of declining overall health and reduced abundance. Because alewives are such an integral part of the Lake Michigan ecosystem, a collapse similar to one seen in a decade ago in Lake Huron is feared. The objective of this study is to identify changes in alewife demographics over time to create possible future trends. Fulton’s condition factor for alewives has declined from an average of 0.83 in the period 1979-1994 to 0.74 in the time period 1994-2012. Recent length-frequency distributions failed to demonstrate a consistent and robust alewife population and are instead showing one or two dominant classes with others being poor or missing. Von Bertalanffy growth curves from the last decade show an overall decrease in growth rate, max length, and max age of fish when compared to growth rates in the 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s. Further, alewife fecundity changes appear to have declined in the most recent years. These composite results identify a scenario In Lake Michigan similar to that shown in Lake Huron in the early part of the 2000s. The shift in alewife abundance and size structure in Lake Michigan in the past two years may alter the predator/prey ratio, ultimately resulting in reduced salmonid abundance.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Ambassador W

2:00pm EST

The Michigan Wildlife Council's Challenge - Making Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Relevant To Non-Sportsmen and Women
AUTHORS: Carol Moncrieff Rose*, Michigan Wildlife Council

ABSTRACT: This session will be an introduction to the newly-created Michigan Wildlife Council. We’ll talk about the MWC’s mission to promote the essential role played by sportsmen and women in furthering wildlife conservation and to educate the public on hunting, fishing and the taking of game. We’ll address the MWC’s challenges to make these activities and the benefits derived by them relevant to those who do not engage in these activities, and how the MWC is working with a professional marketing/media firm (GUD Marketing) to achieve its objectives. Our baseline survey data indicate wide support by the general public for hunting and fishing, yet lower support for hunters and anglers! The data also indicate a lack of awareness of the contributions made to the management and conservation of Michigan's natural resources which we all enjoy, made possible by the license fee dollars of sportsmen and women. How do we reach those who are ambivalent or neutral when asked about hunting, fishing or wildlife management? How do we provide the non-sportsmen and women of our state with the information they need when faced with wildlife management issues in their community or in the ballot box? How to we do everything we can to protect Michigan’s rich outdoor heritage for generations to come? Therein lies the challenge before us.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Emerald A

2:00pm EST

Evaluating The Relationship Between Food Availability and Wetland Landscape Structure In Determining Dabbling Duck Habitat Use During Migration
AUTHORS: Travis J Schepker*, University of Missouri; Elisabeth Webb, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Ted LaGrange, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: Wetland biologists rely on species distribution models (SDM) to generate an ecological explanation and prediction of how wetland-dependent species distribute and interact within a system. Typically, SDM are developed by identifying relationships between species distributions (response variable), and varying attributes within the physical environment they inhabit. Waterfowl are among the more frequently studied wetland dependent groups, however even waterfowl SDMs are far from complete. Previous studies have identified forage, vegetative dispersion, depth, and wetland area as factors influencing waterfowl distribution, however these variables are generally only applicable for local scale (within wetland) assessments. Waterfowl are highly mobile and capable of exploiting wetlands in the surrounding landscape to acquire food resources, form pair bonds, and avoid predation. Therefore it is important that SDMs incorporate relevant variables at multiple scales to accurately predict how waterfowl distribute themselves across an ecological complex. We conducted weekly avian surveys at 20-27 playas in Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin, to determine waterfowl density, and species richness during springs of 2014 and 2015. At the wetland scale, we assessed spring food resource phenology (seed and invertebrate biomass), vegetative cover, depth, and wetland area. At the landscape scale we used recurring aerial imagery to quantify change in total wetland area within a 4.6 km radius of our individual study sites. Local and landscape attributes were designated as independent variables, and waterfowl density and species richness were designated as dependent variables. From our independent variables we developed a priori candidate models and used multiple generalized linear mixed models and Akaike information criterion to evaluate models based on their ability to explain variation in waterfowl density and species richness. Preliminary analysis from 2014 data indicated invertebrate biomass as the only covariate in the top model predicting waterfowl density, however, wetland area within 4.6 km of a study site were covariates in competing models.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Governors

2:00pm EST

Resolving Deer-Human Conflicts Within The Suburban Setting of East Lansing
AUTHORS: Sarah Plantrich*, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Jordan Burroughs, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Henry Campa III, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Catherine DeShambo, City of East Lansing; Tim Wilson, USDA Wildlife Services

ABSTRACT: Many suburban areas within Michigan and across the country experience deer-human conflicts, and East Lansing, Michigan is no exception. As a city’s population increases, expanding development often encroaches on wildlife habitat. White-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus populations in these areas, therefore, become part of the suburban landscapes thereby increasing the potential for conflicts between deer and residents. Managing deer in suburban landscapes is often more challenging than managing deer in rural landscapes due to the diversity of stakeholders and their values, diversity of cover types available to deer, and options to lower deer numbers. In 2011, City of East Lansing officials began taking proactive steps to address their deer issues by surveying residents’ perceptions and attitudes regarding deer management, passing ordinances to ban deer feeding, collecting data on local deer-vehicle accidents, mapping areas with high deer conflict, and ongoing dialog and education efforts. A 2011 online survey of 200 residents revealed that 60% of respondents were concerned about deer numbers. Deer-vehicle collisions, damage to landscaping and park ecosystems, and herd health were among top concerns. Half of the respondents indicated their landscaping had been damaged by deer. In 2015, East Lansing officials consulted with USDA Wildlife Services to determine a minimum deer population estimate. With an increasing amount of deer-human conflicts, officials decided to initiate a deer removal plan. Before an official plan could be finalized, 3 cases of chronic wasting disease were discovered in an adjacent area, resulting in the forced removal of over 500 deer. Further study will show how reducing deer numbers may affect human-deer conflicts. Conflict resolution and achieving the desired outcomes of residents and city officials are key factors in suburban deer management. We will provide an overview of the East Lansing deer management and stakeholder engagement efforts to date.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Vandenberg A

2:00pm EST

Spatial and Temporal Genetic Analysis of Walleye Sander Vitreus in the Ohio River
AUTHORS: Kevin Page*, ODNR Division of Wildlife; Richard Zweifel, ODNR Division of Wildlife; Wendylee Stott, Great Lakes Science Center

ABSTRACT: Previous genetic analyses have shown that walleye in the upper Ohio River (OR) are comprised of two distinct genetic strains, walleye of Great Lakes (GL) origin stocked into the OR basin and a putative remnant strain native to the OR and its tributaries. Resource agencies are developing management strategies that conserve and restore the native OR strain within upper reaches of the OR. However, it is unknown how intra-specific hybridization between strains has impacted genetic integrity of the OR strain. To better understand the extent and effects of hybridization on the native OR strain, we used mtDNA and microsatellite markers to evaluated the spatial (river pools) and temporal (pre- and post-stocking) genetic diversity of OR walleye. Contemporary Lake Erie walleye and archival OR basin museum specimens were used for comparison to contemporary OR walleye. While there was evidence of hybridization between strains, most genetic diversity within the OR was partitioned by basin of origin (GL vs. OR), with greater similarity among river pools than between strains within the same pool. Results also suggested the OR strain has diverged from historical OR populations. Further, decreased allelic richness and increased relatedness among OR strain walleye within one section of the OR may be related to stocking aimed at restoration of the OR strain. Our results suggest that although the OR strain persists, it has diverged over time and that current management practices may further impact genetic diversity of native strains.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Atrium

2:00pm EST

Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch: Development and Evaluation of a Volunteer Monitoring Program For Aquatic Invasive Plant Species In Michigan Lakes
AUTHORS: Angela De Palma – Dow*, Michigan State University; Jo A. Latimore, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: The Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch (EAPW) is a specialized volunteer component of Michigan’s Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program. This citizen science program connects the public to their local aquatic resources and provides valuable aquatic invasive species data to local and state managers. Although public interest in the EAPW is great, evidenced by high attendance at annual training sessions, volunteer enrollment and completion rates were initially quite low. To address these concerns, we gathered volunteer feedback via surveys and visited volunteers on 31 lakes during 2013-2015 to identify barriers to enrollment and reporting and learned how program staff could improve volunteer participation and experience. Surveys revealed that the most common reason for not enrolling was the belief that monitoring was unnecessary if a professional plant management contractor had been hired for the lake and that many enrolled volunteers were failing to report negative results (e.g., reporting that no invasive plants were found during the volunteer survey). During lake visits we learned that many volunteers were unsure of how and where to sample, lacked confidence in correctly identifying plants and lacked a user-friendly Michigan-specific invasive aquatic plant resource. In response to these findings, we improved program promotion and improved the EAPW protocol and training. We also incorporated a new, Michigan-specific aquatic invasive plant field guide that is lightweight, small and water resistant. After applying these strategies to the program, we saw a 23% increase in lake enrollment and reporting rates almost doubled from 38% to 63% during 2011-2014. These results indicate that hands-on staff involvement, investment in training and resources and monitoring volunteer feedback are essential to increasing participation and reporting of aquatic invasive species. We plan to continue lake visits and partnering with the state to maintain and grow this important program.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Ambassador E

2:00pm EST

Creel Surveys on Southeast Minnesota Trout Streams – Challenges of Evaluation Regulations and Habitat Improvement
AUTHORS: Vaughn A. Snook*, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Douglas J. Dieterman, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Selected sociodemographic and fishery-related information were compiled from creel surveys conducted on southeast Minnesota trout streams in part to evaluate angling regulations and stream habitat improvement projects.  New trout stream regulations and a large increase in trout stream habitat improvement projects have taken place since 2005 in southeast Minnesota providing a challenge for fisheries managers to advise and direct.  Few sociological metrics assessed in any of the creel surveys differed among angling regulations or before-after comparisons with habitat improvement projects.  Fisheries management will be improved by focusing creel survey design, increasing sample size and developing key objectives for angling regulations and stream habitat improvement projects.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Gerald Ford

2:00pm EST

(CANCELLED) Assessing The Ecological Effectiveness of Restoring Aquatic Organism Passage
AUTHORS: Keith H. Nislow, US Forest Service/UMASS; Jason A. Coombs, US Forest Service/UMASS; Andrew Whiteley, UMASS; Benjamin H. Letcher, USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center

NOTE: This talk has been cancelled. 

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Pearl

2:00pm EST

Integrated Assessment of Harvested Wild Turkey Populations In Southern Michigan: A State-Space Approach
AUTHORS: Bryan S. Stevens*, Michigan State University; James R. Bence, Michigan State University; William F. Porter, Michigan State University; Michael L. Jones, Michigan State University; David R. Luukkonen, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division

ABSTRACT: Methods for assessing abundance and understanding dynamics of wild turkey Meleagris gallopavo populations using widely available data have been recognized as a critical missing piece of turkey management for over 50 years. Turkeys are cryptic and irregularly distributed over large landscapes, and thus many traditional wildlife sampling techniques requiring individual capture or high rates of detection are either too costly or ineffective for assessing population patterns over broad scales. Consequently, hunter harvest remains the primary data collected on turkey populations in most areas. We used existing hunter harvest, effort, and auxiliary data sets from southern Michigan to develop an integrated model of turkey population and harvest dynamics based on the statistical framework of state-space models. This framework allowed us to effectively use all available data sources to simultaneously estimate patterns of turkey populations through time. The models also allowed us to evaluate hypotheses about the structural dynamics of turkey populations in their ancestral range of southern Michigan. Here we discuss development of the modeling framework, data sources used, and preliminary results from fitting these models. We also briefly discuss future use of these models for assessing harvest management strategies for turkeys in southern Michigan.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Vandenberg B

2:00pm EST

Status Assessment of The Wood Turtle in the Northeastern USA, From Maine To Virginia
AUTHORS: Michael T. Jones*, Lisabeth L. Willey, Paul R. Sievert, Thomas S.B. Akre, Lorien Lemmon, Jeff Dragon, Lori Erb, Brian Zarate, Michael Marchand, JD Kleopfer, Derek Yorks, Jonathan Mays, Phillip deMaynadier, Glenn Johnson, Lori Johnson, Kathy Gipe, Chris Urban, Kieran O'Malley, Scott Angus, Barry Wicklow, Jay Drasher, Ed Thompson, Scott Smith, Deanna McCullum, Angelena Ross, Bill Hoffman, J.W. Tamplin, Thomas Pluto, Hank Gruner, Steve Parren, Jenny Dickson, Chris Raithel, Maureen Toner, Russell Burke, Tom Duchak, Ray Farrell, Colin Osborn

ABSTRACT: Wood turtles are a riparian species of regional conservation concern and a high-value focal species for landscape-scale planning in the northeastern USA. Wood turtles have apparently undergone recent, widespread population decline; many populations are small and isolated. Threats include riparian habitat fragmentation as well as mortality from cars, mowers and farm equipment, collection, and predators. From 2011 to 2015 we developed a status assessment and conservation strategy, supported by Northeast AFWA's Regional Conservation Needs (RCN) program and led by the Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. We amassed corroborated occurrences and built species distribution models (SDM) from climatic and stream geomorphology data. We evaluated and refined visual survey protocols, undertook standardized population assessments in ten states, and examined the influence of landscape on abundance. Over 50% of SDM stream habitat in the Northeast Region has urbanization and deforestation characteristics similar to survey sites with repeated negative results, and it appears that wood turtle abundance is best explained by these variables at relatively large spatial scales. New Jersey and Maryland appear to have the largest proportion of potentially impaired SDM habitat in the Northeast Region (over 80%). Maine, West Virginia, and New Hampshire appear to support relatively non-impaired SDM habitat. Approximately 25% of corroborated occurrences are >50% protected, but only 14% of SDM streams are >50% protected. Historic occurrences last observed before 1983 have higher potential impairment values (compared with recent observations) based on urbanization and forest cover. The level of regulatory protections provided to wood turtles and critical components of wood turtle upland habitat do not appear to correspond to the high level of concern for wood turtle conservation. To avoid further declines, conservation actions will protect remaining, functional populations in high-quality riparian habitats, and respond to opportunities for riparian restoration and population management on protected lands elsewhere in the range. In 2014, we received regional funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Competitive SWG program to develop a comprehensive conservation plan for wood turtles in the Northeast Region.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Emerald B

2:00pm EST

Entrainment, Retention, and Transport of Fish By Barge Traffic In The Illinois River
AUTHORS: Jeremiah J. Davis*, USFWS Carterville FWCO- Wilmington Sub-station; Samuel T. Finney, USFWS Carterville FWCO; Rebecca N. Neeley, USFWS Carterville FWCO- Wilmington Sub-station; Robert L. Simmonds USFWS Carterville FWCO

ABSTRACT: A series of large electric fish barriers exists in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to prevent the dispersal of bigheaded carps between the Mississippi and Great Lakes basins while simultaneously allowing the passage of commercial barge traffic. Recent studies by the USFWS utilizing caged and tethered fish showed that tethered fish could become entrained within junction spaces between barges and transported upstream. Caged fish that were placed within rake to box junctions between barges were carried across the Electric Dispersal Barrier without becoming incapacitated. Here, we investigate the potential for entrainment, retention, and transport of freely swimming fish that were not caged or tethered within the rake-to-box junctions between barges traveling on the Illinois River. A modified mark-recapture approach was employed to provide direct evidence of fish transport by barge tows. This approach was supplemented with a multi-beam sonar fish observation system that was deployed into the rake-to-box barge junction. This system made direct observations that allowed quantification of entrainment and retention rates. Trials took place in the Upper Illinois River at the Electric Dispersal Barrier, in Lockport Pool, at Lockport Lock, in Brandon Road Pool, at Brandon Road Lock, and in Starved Rock Pool. The results presented here provide insights into the potential for entrainment, retention, and transport of freely swimming fish by barge tows, as they traverse substantial barriers to fish dispersal in the Illinois River.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Pantlind

2:00pm EST

2:20pm EST

An Aquatic Ecological Classification For The Laurentian Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Catherine Riseng*, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment; Kevin Wehrly, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; James McKenna, USGS, Great Lakes Science Center; Chris Castiglione, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Lizhu Wang, International Joint Commission; Edward Rutherford, NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory; Lacey Mason, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment; Lucinda Johnson, University of Minnesota, Natural Resources Research Institute

ABSTRACT: We used variables describing depth, thermal regime, and mechanical energy to develop an aquatic ecological classification for waters of the Great Lakes. The classification is developed across aquatic zones including coastal (0-3 meters), nearshore (3-30 meters), and offshore (>30 meters) areas for all five lakes. The nearshore and offshore zones were divided into shallow and deep categories. We calculated cumulative degree-days above zero in the coastal zone using surface temperatures, and in the nearshore and offshore zones using the mean water column temperature of the upper 20 meters. Mechanical energy was described using relative exposure index in the nearshore and coastal areas and dominate spring circulation patterns in the offshore zone. We developed classification thresholds for each of these variables using information from the literature and from a team of Great Lakes’ experts. Our resultant classification contains ~50 unique aquatic ecological units (AEUs) across the entire Great Lakes. Lake Superior and Lake Erie were relatively homogeneous whereas Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Ontario were more complex and contained many more ecological units. Our classification describes the major environmental gradients structuring chemical, physical, and biological factors, and provides a means to simplify and describe the complex array of habitats found throughout the Great Lakes. Because our classification was developed for both U.S. and Canadian waters using the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework, it provides a common spatial and classification framework for assessing and managing the Great Lakes at the basin scale.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Ambassador W

2:20pm EST

Increased Hunting/Fishing Awareness Through Marketing
AUTHORS: Kelly A. Wolgamott*, Travel Michigan

ABSTRACT: Illustrate the effectiveness of a brand tourism advertising campaign can have in engaging potential travelers to hunting and fishing opportunities.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Emerald A

2:20pm EST

Bird Conservation In The Great Lakes Region
AUTHORS: Rebeccah Sanders*, National Audubon Society; Melanie Driscoll, National Audubon Society; Chris Canfield, National Audubon Society

ABSTRACT: Approximately 200 species of songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, marsh birds, and shorebirds migrate across the Great Lakes relying heavily on nearshore habitat to provide refuge along the way. The sheer size of the lakes present an initial hurdle in the fall and final hurdle in the spring for many of these long distance migrants. The loss and degradation of nearshore shrub lands, woodlands and wetlands that provide critical stopover habitat combined with emerging coastal threats such as the growing demand for wind energy, city lights, lakefront glass, and coastal development as well as climate change are putting the future of these species in serious jeopardy. With new threats emerging for Great Lakes birds, there is an opportunity to build on coastal restoration projects and utilize new tools to more effectively safeguard migratory species and target their regionally and internationally important stopover habitat. Audubon staff from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio are working together to empower their grassroots chapters and membership as well as regional partners to conserve migratory birds in the Great Lakes. National Audubon Society staff will present Audubon’s Great Lakes’ strategies that focus on: informing wind siting areas along the Great Lakes, developing policy for bird-friendly cities in ten coastal cities, and restoring areas identified as critical gaps in migratory stopover habitat. This presentation will be followed by a discussion that seeks to gather feedback on Audubon’s strategies from the Midwest Fish and Wildlife coalition. The discussion will also address any questions or concerns participants may have about issues related to Great Lakes birds.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Governors

2:20pm EST

Assessing Local-Scale Population Abundance and Recovery of White-Tailed Deer Following A Disease Event
AUTHORS: Sonja A. Christensen*, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; David M. Williams, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; William F. Porter, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Brent Rudolph, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Amy C. Dechen Quinn, State University of New York

ABSTRACT: Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is the most significant source of viral disease-related mortality in white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus in the United States. Michigan has seen an increase in EHD related deer mortality since 2006, and 2012 was the largest outbreak of EHD in Michigan history. This perturbation provided an opportunity to evaluate deer dynamics as affected by a major local mortality event at a spatial scale not typically addressed by management agencies. Our objectives were to 1) evaluate local population recovery after an EHD event and 2) compare local-population abundance of deer in an EHD-impacted area with deer abundance in an unaffected area using two survey methods. We used distance sampling techniques for ground-based and aerial surveys to estimate annual abundance of unmarked deer populations. Because proximity to wetlands may impact EHD occurrence, we surveyed transects at 2 distances along each side of a riparian corridor (~1km and 5km). We present differences in deer abundance for sites affected and unaffected by EHD as estimated by ground-based and aerial methods, which were targeted for cost efficiency and availability for state agencies. For each study area we provided abundance estimates in relation to distance from the riparian corridor. Abundance estimates in the affected area were lower along transects near the river, reflecting EHD mortality associated with wetlands, and the opposite was true in the unaffected site. Our research has important implications to management of deer because we address challenges posed by sudden and severe mortality events in ungulate populations at local scales.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Vandenberg A

2:20pm EST

Developing Genomic Resources For Mule Deer Odocoileus Hemionus Using Exon Capture Techniques
AUTHORS: John H. Powell*, Inland Fish and Wildlife Department Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; Stephen J. Amish, Fish & Wildlife Genomics Group University of Montana; Gwilym D. Haynes, Department of Biological Sciences Simon Fraser University; Gordon Luikart, Fish & Wildlife Genomics Group University of Montana; Emily K. Latch, Department of Biological Sciences University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

ABSTRACT: Mule deer Odocoileus hemionus are a highly variable species that occupies a wide range of habitats in large populations with high rates of gene flow. These traits make this species an excellent non-model system for testing hypotheses in population genomics and landscape genetics, two fields that emphasize increasing the resolution of population genetic studies both across a landscape and within a genome. However, no genomic resources exist for mule deer. Here we describe using a cattle Bos taurus reference genome to direct targeted re-sequencing of exons in seven mule deer, a technique that can be extended to other cervids and non-model organisms. This targeted re-sequencing yielded approximately 3.75 Mbp of sequence at a minimum 20X coverage in each individual. We identified 23,204 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within this sequence, 91 of which have putatively fixed allele frequency differences between the two major evolutionary lineages of mule deer (mule deer and black-tailed deer). Our estimate of genetic divergence between these lineages remained consistent with what had been found using microsatellite loci. Although we did not detect a signature of natural selection at individual loci, we did find an over-representation of apoptotic process genes among loci with the highest 10% of the observed FST values between mule deer and black-tailed deer. We also detected an overrepresentation of gamete generation and amino acid transport genes among the subset of genes with loci exhibiting putative fixed allele frequency differences between these two lineages. Our targeted re-sequencing using exon capture techniques has identified loci that can be used in future studies investigating the genomic basis of adaptation and differentiation between the two evolutionary lineages of mule deer.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Atrium

2:20pm EST

Telecoupling and The Great Lakes: Understanding Global and Local Socio-Environmental Systems Using Zebra Mussels as a Case Study
AUTHORS: James Roche*, Michigan Sea Grant Extension and the Glassen Scholars Program; Heather Triezenberg, Michigan Sea Grant Extension

ABSTRACT: Telecoupling is relatively new framework in the scientific field that examines the global relationship between natural systems (e.g. ecosystems, weather) and human systems (e.g. economics, culture) connected by the flow of goods and ideas across global distances, as opposed to simply focusing on the environmental or human issues in localized areas. By using the telecoupling framework we can understand the far-reaching environmental and socioeconomic causes and effects of issues within the Great Lakes Region. Using the introduction of zebra mussels as a case study shows how the telecoupling framework can be applied practically for the benefit of the Great Lakes. In the mid 1980s the Soviet Union suffered for a series of particularly harsh winters and summers and also a greater national demand for more meat, this led to a shortage of grain within the nation. To counteract this shortage the Soviet Union signed a trade agreement with President Regan that allowed for the shipment of grains grown in the United States to Soviet ports by Soviet cargo ships. Zebra mussels were most likely brought to the Great Lakes by the ballast water tanks on these Soviet cargo ships that were based in the Caspian and Black Seas, the mussel’s original habitat. The introduction of zebra mussels in the Great Lakes is the result of long distance interactions between separate environmental and socioeconomic systems. By better understanding the underlying causes of invasive species introduction, we can look toward addressing issues of importance for Great Lakes region sustainability by incorporating a coupled human and natural systems perspective over local and global distances.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Ambassador E

2:20pm EST

Analysis of Lake Huron Recreational Fisheries Data Using Models Dealing With Excessive Zeros
AUTHORS: Zhenming Su*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and University of Michigan

ABSTRACT: Excessive zeros in recreational catch data can cause problems for fish stock assessment and management. We evaluated a range of count regression models for analyzing the recreational catch data of walleye, Chinook salmon, and lake trout in Lake Huron. We also used modern predictive measures of effects to interpret the statistical results and extract year effects from the complex models. Models that account for both excessive zeros and overdispersion in recreational data (i.e., the zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB) and hurdle negative binomial models) performed much better than those that incorporate only one or none of the two common count data problems. Using the results from the best ZINB models, we identified important factors affecting catch rate of the three aforementioned species, and constructed standardized CPUE indices for each species.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Gerald Ford

2:20pm EST

Information Management To Support Collaborative Decision Making
AUTHORS: Scott Sowa, The Nature Conservancy; Mary Khoury*, The Nature Conservancy; Shawn Weis, The Nature Conservancy; Amber Datta, The Nature Conservancy; Eugene Yacobson, The Nature Conservancy; Sandy Carter, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: Conservation across a region as large as the Great Lakes requires unprecedented collaboration among scientists, resource managers and administrators, business leaders, policy makers and the public. Successful collaborative adaptive management of conservation issues stems from three key enabling conditions: programs, procedures, and policies that support collaborative adaptive management; regional goals developed and supported by stakeholders in a formal collaborative process; and, information management and delivery that adequately helps conservation practitioners and managers access, understand, and incorporate science and research into their decisions. The latter often does not receive enough attention. However, effective gathering, sharing, and information delivery must occur to improve collaboration, ensure that science informs decisions, and create a transparent atmosphere where all actors understand conservation actions and decisions. For the nascent Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Connectivity Collaborative to reach its vision of a connected Great Lakes that is optimized for desired species and ecosystem processes, it must have a robust information management and delivery strategy. This talk will provide principles of information management and delivery that support large-scale collaborative adaptive management and highlight the features of an online-platform, Great Lakes Inform, built to provide these information services.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Pearl

2:20pm EST

Use of Dynamic Factor Analysis In Analyzing Mutlidimensional State Space Data Over Time
AUTHORS: Brian A. Maurer*, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Data on fish and wildlife communities are often collected over long periods of time. Such data are meant to represent dynamical processes going on in a multidimensional state space defined by the abundances of all species in the community. The intent of any analysis of such data is to infer something about the processes that affect the community from the multivariate time series that represents the community. Dynamic factor analysis provides a unique approach to this goal. The basic concept is that the measures of abundance for each species in a community are indicators of some latent trend common to all species in the community. The approach begins by modeling these latent trends as simple random walks. For each latent trend, a “loading” is estimated for each species that represents the degree to which that species is associated with that trend. I will discuss the model building process for DFA and address a few computational issues. A brief discussion of R code implementation and results will be illustrated using data from a long term study of desert rodents.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Vandenberg B

2:20pm EST

Landscape Genetics and Wood Turtles
AUTHORS: Deahn Donner*, USDA Forest Service; Paula Marquardt, USDA Forest Service; Donald Brown, West Virginia University

ABSTRACT: Conservation efforts for disconnected populations can be improved with information on broad-scale dispersal movement patterns. Using landscape genetic approaches can identify movement patterns by characterizing population structure and linking this structure spatially with landscape features. Wood turtles Glyptemys insculpta are a species of concern due to reported range-wide population declines. The western Great Lakes population is disconnected from the larger northeastern population. The western population is found primarily in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, but an isolated population exists in Iowa. Previous genetic research in this region showed evidence of lower allelic richness and heterozygosity indicating spatial isolation, but sampling was limited. The loss of genetic diversity has major implications on species persistence, and identifying potential landscape barriers is imperative. In spring of 2015, we began a study to identify population spatial structure across the Great Lakes Region using genetic analysis. Our objective is to determine the extent of gene flow between spatially separated populations. We expect riverways to be dispersal corridors, as wood turtles have been found to stay near running water during summer months when they are primarily terrestrial. Our goal is to collect 20 individuals from two sites within each water basin boundary. To date, we collected blood samples from 67 wood turtles: 42 turtles across six sites in Minnesota and 25 turtles across two sites in Wisconsin. Of the Minnesota turtles, seven were male and 35 were female; eight were male and 17 were female in Wisconsin. Sampling will continue in 2016, but sampling a large geographic area during a fairly short window requires partnerships that we hope to develop with this presentation. Results from our study will be combined with similar genetic research being conducted in the northeastern population to obtain a range-wide analysis of population connectivity.

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Emerald B

2:20pm EST

The Shoaling Behavior of Invasive Bigheaded Carps Suggest These Species Can Be Targeted Using Judas Fish
AUTHORS: Ratna Ghosal*, University of Minnesota; Peter Xiong, University of Minnesota; Peter W. Sorensen, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT: Shoaling, or the tendency of fish to aggregate and swim together, serves many purposes in teleost fish including facilitating finding food and predators. Further, if fish shoal, that makes them easier to locate using individual fish with attached transponders as these fish can then be remotely tracked by biologists as they locate shoal mates. This approach, also known as “Judas fish technique” has been used successfully to locate and remove invasive common carp Cyprinus carpio in lakes in Australia and Minnesota and would seem to have potential for bigheaded carps (Hypophthalmichthys sp.). As a first step to test the utility of this approach, we tested the tendency of silver (H. molitrix) and bighead carp (H. nobilis) to shoal in the laboratory. We examined the roles of species identity and fish density on shoaling behavior. Trials were conducted using juvenile bighead and silver carp in 2-meter circular tanks with low-light cameras. To determine the role of density on shoaling we tested groups of 4, 8, 12 and 20 fish. To investigate the effects of species identity, we conducted trials only for group size 8, in two species groups with equal number of silver, bighead, or common carp. Nearest neighborhood distance (NND) was measured and used to calculate the number of shoals formed and their average size. Data analysis revealed that both bighead and silver carp shoal (P0.05). Further, when tested as mixed-species groups of 8 fish, bighead and silver carp preferred to shoal with each other than with the common carp. The two bigheaded carp formed very tight mixed species groups. How they discern species identity is not known but pheromones are suspected. In conclusion, bigheaded carp shoal and the Judas fish technique could potentially be applied to find and perhaps count or remove them. (Funded by the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund)

Monday January 25, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Pantlind

2:40pm EST

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
Monday January 25, 2016 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
Center Concourse

3:00pm EST

Effects of Macrophytes on Zooplankton Abundance and Composition
AUTHORS: Hailey Yondo*, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Joel K. Nohner, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; William W. Taylor; Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Zooplankton are important for water quality, healthy ecosystems, and productive sport fisheries in lakes, but their populations may be influenced by anthropogenic changes to littoral habitat. Zooplankton are a primary food source for juvenile sport fish, and are vital to sport fish natural reproduction. In addition to supporting healthy fisheries, zooplankton consume phytoplankton, increasing water clarity and improving the aesthetic and environmental quality of Michigan lakes. Zooplankton are found in both pelagic and littoral habitats of lakes. This study focused on zooplankton in the littoral zone, where lakeshore property owners often remove macrophytes. We analyzed the differences in zooplankton species richness and biomass between two littoral habitats: 0% macrophyte cover (bare sediment) and 100% macrophyte cover. We sampled 8 random locations in the littoral zone of Chancellor Lake in Mason County, Michigan for zooplankton. Zooplankton were collected across three time periods (August 4, September 1, and October 1, 2014) using a depth integrated zooplankton tow at a standard length of 3 m. Zooplankton were preserved in ethanol and a subsample were identified to order and enumerated. We measured the total length of the zooplankton using Dummyname image analysis software and used these measurements to estimate zooplankton biomass based on published length-mass regressions. Information will be presented on the differences in zooplankton species richness and biomass based on the presence or absence of macrophytes. The results from this study will benefit inland lakes fisheries and ecosystem management by assessing the potential impact of macrophyte removal on zooplankton populations.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Emerald B

3:00pm EST

Evaluating The Launch of The Deer Management Assistance Program In Wisconsin
AUTHORS: Ben Beardmore*, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ; Robert H. Holsman,Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Robert Nack, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Wisconsin developed and implemented a Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) in 2014 following a recommendation in the 2012 Deer Trustee Report. DMAP was presented as way to improve habitat for deer and other wildlife and to build trust and credibility with deer hunters and landowners through increased interaction and cooperation with agency biologists and foresters. Currently, 20 state agencies utilize some type of DMAP as an outreach tool for private land conservation and deer herd control efforts. This presentation will highlight Wisconsin’s experience with developing and implementing DMAP over the first two years of the program. To date, over 700 landowners and approximately 90,000 acres have been enrolled in the program. The program emphasizes forest management and harvest strategies that strike an appropriate balance between deer herd size and sustainable habitat. We developed an evaluation framework to measure the influence of program interventions on participant attitudes about habitat carrying capacity as well as on agency credibility. Baseline survey results indicate that most participants entering the program believe their properties are below carrying capacity and that local deer impacts are minor. Initial program enrollees entered with positive attitudes toward the WDNR. Enrollees in the first year of the program expressed very positive experiences. We conclude by sharing lessons learned from the initial implementation of the program.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Emerald A

3:00pm EST

Spatially Explicit Assessment of Landscape Characteristics Influencing Trophy White-Tailed Deer Harvests Through Time
AUTHORS: Rebecca L. Cain*, Michigan State University; David M. Williams, Michigan State University; William F. Porter, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: When the number of records is mapped, it is easy to see that the harvest of trophy white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus varies spatially, thus some areas of the United States are more likely than others to produce trophy individuals. Due to the high energetic and nutritional requirements of antler growth, only healthy deer are able to produce antlers large enough to achieve trophy status. Therefore, areas that consistently report trophy harvests must denote the presence of favorable habitat, management, or other ecological conditions. Research on white-tailed deer has predominantly been conducted at small-spatial scales, thus the influence of environmental conditions across broad geographic regions is essentially unknown. Although there are many ideas about the factors driving the spatial heterogeneity in trophy whitetail harvests, no studies have been conducted at this landscape scale to test if these assumptions are accurate. Our objective was to evaluate the influence of various landscape characteristics on the number of trophy white-tailed deer harvested in the Midwestern region of the United States. We used the Boone and Crockett Club’s century-long database of trophy deer to examine the trends at a regional scale. We chose the Midwest for our study area because this region has consistently produced record-sized deer. Moreover, we used counties as the spatial unit for the reported harvest of trophy whitetails. We collected data on land cover, climate, and trophy deer harvests. We analyzed the impact of explanatory variables on the number of Boone and Crockett records for trophy white-tailed deer using a spatial-temporal model within a Bayesian framework for 858 counties (9 states). We quantify and discuss various landscape characteristics that influence trophy white-tailed deer harvest. Findings from this research provide new information relating broad-scale environmental features to population health.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Vandenberg A

3:00pm EST

Understanding The Social Habitat of Hunters In Michigan
AUTHORS: Chris Henderson*, Michigan Tech

ABSTRACT: Participation rates in consumptive activities such as hunting and angling have been declining across much of the country in recent years, leading to many changes in management of wildlife, decision-making, and governance by state wildlife management agencies. States have invested millions of dollars in hunter and angler recruitment efforts that have not always been effective at increasing long-term participation. A comprehensive understanding of the various social factors that influence hunting can help wildlife managers, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens work together to the benefit of rural communities, public lands, wildlife, and the ecosystems on which they depend. In order to assess patterns associated with hunting participation in Michigan, my research uses a hierarchical model to incorporate variables at multiple scales that influence hunting behavior at the individual level, and collectively comprise the "social habitat" of hunting. I analyze the entire population of Michigan in the year 2010 based on population data from the U.S. Census Bureau and hunting license sales data from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, determining the log likelihood of each individual having purchased a hunting license based on a series of predictor variables at micro, meso, and macro scales of influence. I found that sociodemographic characteristics of communities, ecological and landscape variables, and regulatory frameworks have a significant relationship with hunting, and that analyzing them within a multilevel context allows for integration and interaction within those contexts.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Governors

3:00pm EST

Genetic and Environmental Components of Phenotypic and Behavioral Trait Variation During Lake Sturgeon Acipenser Fulvescens Early Ontogeny
AUTHORS: Kari Dammerman, Michigan State University; Juan Pedro Steibel, Michigan State University; Kim Scribner*, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Quantifying the relative contributions of genetic and environmental effects and their interaction on phenotypic variation is vital to understand how populations respond to their environment. Adults can plastically respond to environmental conditions by selecting breeding and egg incubation locations that affect offspring traits during embryonic and larval development. Environmental conditions during incubation can also affect traits during later ontogenetic stages (i.e. ontogenetic contingency). Using a population of lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens from Black Lake, Michigan, we conducted field and common garden studies and evaluated whether larval phenotypes and behavior at different ontogenetic stages would vary among families whose eggs were incubated under different thermal and flow regimes in the laboratory, and associated with different micro-habitat conditions in river substrates in the field. A significant family-by-treatment interaction was detected for traits (body length, body area, head area) measured at hatch associated with different flow (high, medium, low) and temperature (10oC, 18oC, variable, ambient) treatments. The greatest range in phenotypic variance was observed among individuals reared in the most environmentally deviant conditions (warm temperature and high flow treatments). Traits measured at hatch from eggs in the stream varied due to the influences of stream micro-habitat variables, while levels of additive genetic variance covaried with age. Results demonstrate that phenotypic variation across sequential ontogenetic stages is dependent on physical stream conditions and additive genetic effects, although the relative contributions of effects differ across ontogenetic stages. Increasingly deviant environmental regimes may reveal cryptic genetic variation, potentially leading to differential survival between genotypes, thereby altering the genetic architecture of populations.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Atrium

3:00pm EST

Aquatic Invasive Pathogens In North America: What Is Here and What Is Coming Next?
AUTHORS: Kensey Thurner*, Purdue University

ABSTRACT: Accidental and intentional movement of species around the world by humans has created unprecedented colonization opportunities for non-native, aquatic species. At the same time, it is often not economically or physically possible to prevent introductions or remove established aquatic invaders. These introductions have, however, sometimes led to severe impacts on receiving ecosystems, including extirpations of native species, alterations of habitat and loss of economic value. While much focus has been paid to invasive vertebrates and commercially valuable species, the impacts from aquatic invasive pathogens (AIP) can be equally significant. I conducted this review of aquatic invasive pathogens in North America to aid resource managers who must prioritize highly impactful invasive species when allocating limited resources for monitoring and control efforts. A review of the literature and invasive species databases revealed inconsistencies in the up-to-dateness of these databases and a paucity of information on invasive pathogens in aquatic environments. AIP were rarely included in databases or were not updated despite their potential for substantial impacts. Furthermore, data relating to invasive species in Mexico was scarce in comparison to the USA and Canada, leading to the appearance of far fewer invasive species in Mexico. Additionally, AIP in the literature showed a strong bias toward agriculturally important and charismatic species. Meanwhile, advances in next-generation sequencing and eDNA-related technologies provide opportunities to better characterize these understudied and potentially harmful group of invaders.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Ambassador E

3:00pm EST

Evaluation of Sample Design and Estimation Methods for Great Lakes Angler Surveys
AUTHORS: Zhenming Su*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and University of Michigan

ABSTRACT: Great Lakes waters support outstanding recreational fishing opportunities. Total catch and effort estimates obtained from on-site angler surveys are essential for the management of recreational fisheries. However, quality of angler survey estimates can be greatly affected by survey design and estimation approaches used. Using Monte Carlo simulation techniques, we evaluated the effects of two potential sources of bias (i.e., disproportional sampling of angler trips and subsampling of the fishing day) on two stratum catch estimators: a multiple-day estimator that ignores day effects and pools the angler trip data over a multiple-day period, and a daily estimator that treats the trip data in each day separately. When catch rates are constant among different time periods of the fishing day, the daily estimator produces total catch estimates with little bias; whereas the multiple-day estimator is prone to bias caused by disproportional sampling of angler trips. When catch rates vary among different periods of a fishing day, the daily estimator produces biased estimates of total catch when the fishing day is subsampled; whereas the multiple-day estimator is less affected by the variation in daily time-period catch rates and subsampling of fishing days. The quality of total catch and effort estimates (i.e., root mean squared error and coverage probability of confidence intervals) is poor when the number of days sampled each month is low and fishing days are subsampled.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Gerald Ford

3:00pm EST

Collaborative Restoration of Aquatic Resources In The South Central Lake Superior Basin
AUTHORS: Erin Johnston*, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community; Pamela Nankervis, US Forest Service; Luis Verissimo, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community; Chris Kovala, US Forest Service; Mark Fedora, US Forest Service; Shaun Hamilton, Trust for Public Lands; Geri Grant, Superior Watershed Partnership; Carl Lindquist, Superior Watershed Partnership; Peter McIntyre, UW Madison; Matthew Diebel, UW Madison

ABSTRACT: Partners for Watershed Restoration (PWR) a coalition for the South Central Lake Superior Basin (S.C. Basin) was formed in July 2013 and has already attracted over 40 agencies and organizations including Federal, State, County, Tribal, non-profit, and private. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department in close partnership with U.S. Forest Service seeks to bring this diverse group of researchers, resource managers and business groups together to develop a vision for restoration of riparian and aquatic resources in the S.C. basin. Thus far, little coordinated decision-making has occurred between agencies. We are developing a collaborative geo-database of inventoried connectivity barriers within the South Central Lake Superior Basin to prioritize restoration from approximately 1,500 inventoried stream crossings. We are also compiling publicly accessible GIS layers relevant to restoration within the watershed into geodatabases so that they are easily accessible and ready to utilize. Furthermore, we are integrating current remote sensing tools and outputs, including Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technologies, as strategy support tools for targeting additional restoration and management needs that meet multiple natural resource objectives. By the end of this two year project, we will: 1) Develop a vision and associated goals, objectives and strategies within the PWR coalition for restoration of riparian and aquatic resources in the S.C. basin, 2) Develop a collaborative geo-database of inventoried connectivity barriers within the S.C. basin, 3) Incorporate the collaborative geo-database into a Great Lakes basin wide LCC prioritization model project, and 4) Utilize current GIS and LiDAR data tools and outputs to evaluate conditions for further restoration needs. This LCC project brings together a conservation community that by utilizing decision support assets will allow natural resource professionals to assess a broad scope of resource conditions, plan accordingly, and work cooperatively to achieve landscape level results.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Pearl

3:00pm EST

Assessing Factors Influencing Population Dynamics In Lake Huron Fish Communities Using Dynamic Factor Analysis
AUTHORS: Andrew Dennhardt*, Michigan State University; James Bence, Michigan State University; Travis Brenden, Michigan State University; Brian Maurer, Michigan State University; William Fetzer, Michigan State University; Catherine Riseng, University of Michigan; Kevin Wehrly, University of Michigan; Danielle Forsyth, University of Michigan

ABSTRACT: An important component to understanding the nature and structure of biodiversity in ecosystems is investigating how communities respond to changes in the environment in both space and time. Hastening our inquiries for better or worse, systems of great value to global biodiversity often contain ecological communities of considerable socioeconomic value as well. One such ecosystem is the Laurentian Great Lakes and its constituent waterways in North America. Amidst the world’s largest surface freshwater system, Lake Huron supports a 5-year commercial fishery worth $4.6 million on average. Though Lake Huron fish communities face numerous pressures from various ecological agents, anthropogenic or otherwise, factors associated with species’ population dynamics are poorly understood due to deficient data across spatiotemporal scales. This motivates an important question: what factors influence fish populations in spatially-structured communities over time? To answer this question, we obtained abundance data on 12 fish species at five sites unevenly summarized during 1979 – 2012 in Lake Huron. Following pilot investigations that described null models of species’ abundance, we assessed these data for their linear association with environmental factors in Lake Huron. To elucidate population relationships to these variables, we applied multiple candidate models using dynamic factor analysis (DFA), a state-space tool for multivariate time series' data. Preliminary results illustrate that factors associated with local harvest biomass as well as remotely-sensed upwelling events and water temperatures disproportionately impact fish populations in the lake. Furthermore, variable influences differ with respect to common temporal trends in fish abundance and associated factor loadings on particular species. In lieu of auxiliary environmental data, more of this ecological story remains to be told. To date, this community-level assessment demonstrates both the power and utility of DFA as a tool for describing ecological patterns that constrain wild populations—factors useful to biodiversity conservation and management in the Anthropocene.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Vandenberg B

3:00pm EST

Long-Term Monitoring of The Eastern Massasauga in Illinois
AUTHORS: Sarah J. Baker*, Michael J. Dreslik, Christopher A. Phillips – Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Long-term monitoring projects are rare in ecological studies but provide invaluable information for conservation. We have been conducting annual population monitoring (including a combination of mark-recapture and telemetry) of eastern massasaugas Sistrurus catenatus at the last extant population in Illinois since 1999. Long-term mark-recapture has allowed us to document population crashes relating to stochastic flood events, but we also determined that population size is relatively stable over time. Such stability may indicate the population is near its carrying capacity, and an increase in habitat will be necessary to increase population size. Because of the temporal span of our data we can report detailed information regarding sources of mortality, reproduction, population genetics, and disease prevalence. The two greatest sources of mortality are automobiles and depredation. Telemetry studies are more likely to encounter depredation and observational studies are more likely to find automobile casualties. Our reproduction data indicate that mother size does not influence offspring number or size, and although some years neonate sex ratios appear to be skewed, overall sex ratios do not differ from 1:1. Evaluating population genetic parameters over a 10-year span revealed the loss of several rare alleles from the population, which could be a precursor to the loss of genetic diversity. Since the identification of an emerging fungal pathogen in 2008, continued disease monitoring has shown that its prevalence rate is relatively stable at 15-20%. Given the limitations of time and funding, long-term studies are not feasible for all populations. Therefore, existing long-term monitoring projects should be continued for comparison and extrapolation to other eastern massasauga populations, as well as other species with similar life histories.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Imperial

3:00pm EST

Using Modeling To Identify Ways Asian Carp Pass Through Locks and Dams in the Upper Mississippi River and How It Might Be Reduced
AUTHORS: Daniel Zielinski*, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology And Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center University of Minnesota, Vaughn Voller, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering University of Minnesota, Jan Hoover, Engineer Research and Development Center U.S. Army, Peter Sorensen, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology And Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center

ABSTRACT: To reach the Upper Mississippi River, Asian carps must first pass through its locks and dams which, depending on river stage and operating conditions, can create velocity fields that might deter fish passage. To address this possibility and the possibility that dam operating conditions might be modified to deter Asian carp passage while permitting many native fishes to pass, we developed an agent-based approach that uses three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models. These models calculate and then use velocities through the dams along with fish swimming-fatigue calculations. To then test whether and how adult Asian carp might pass, the model is supplied with swimming performance data generated using a very large swim chamber to identify the paths of least resistance. Preliminary models suggest Lock and Dam #8 (Genoa, WI) may already stop up to 80% of adult Asian carp under worst case scenarios. In this talk we will discuss model development, initial findings, and how these models could be used to manipulate gate operation for management purposes. (Funded by Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund).

Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 3:20pm EST
Pantlind

3:00pm EST

AFS NCD Business Meeting
Monday January 25, 2016 3:00pm - 4:30pm EST
Ambassador W

3:20pm EST

Spatiotemporal Differences In The Condition of Bythotrephes Longimanus In Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: Margaret Hutton*, Purdue University; Paris Collingsworth, Purdue University and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant; Samuel Guffey, Purdue University; Ed Rutherford, NOAA-Great Lakes Research Laboratory; Mitchell Zischke, Purdue University; Tomas Höök, Purdue University

ABSTRACT: Over the past two decades, Lake Michigan’s ecosystem has undergone numerous changes related to nutrient abatement, climatic effects, and influences of various invasive species. For example, chlorophyll a concentrations have decreased offshore but increased in some nearshore regions, and some secondary and tertiary consumers (e.g., planktivorous fishes) have come to rely more on nearshore production than offshore. However, these spatial shifts do not appear to be ubiquitous throughout the lake. With the increase in relative nearshore productivity and emerging spatial patterns, we hypothesize that the condition and growth (as indexed via RNA:DNA ratios, relative fecundity, and length-at-age) of the invasive predatory zooplankton Bythotrephes longimanus will also reflect these patterns. If Bythotrephes are able to devote more energy to growth (more RNA in the organism) due to increased food availability in nearshore areas, we would expect to see a decreasing RNA:DNA ratio from nearshore to offshore locations. To examine spatiotemporal trends in RNA: DNA, Bythotrephes were sampled from nine transects throughout Lake Michigan in both the northern and southern basins along a nearshore (~15m) to offshore (~105m) gradient. With different production pathways dominating different regions causing heterogeneous shifts in production, we expect the condition of Bythotrephes to mirror these patterns. For example, the increase in production in the last two decades in the northwestern region may allow Bythotrephes to devote more energy to growing and thus have a higher RNA:DNA ratio compared to regions with less nutrient input. Ultimately, we will relate resulting spatial patterns of Bythotrephes condition to both abiotic and biotic variables collected concomitantly.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Emerald B

3:20pm EST

Why Sturgeon Matter
AUTHORS: Marty Holtgren*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Lake sturgeon matter to people, communities and agencies yet the full range of how sturgeon are valued has been largely unexplored until recently. The sturgeon is an imperiled species where human activities are largely responsible for their demise but also for recovery efforts. Because sturgeon populations have been dramatically reduced their survival has been largely dependent on human intervention yet increasingly human communities are depending upon sturgeon for cultural sustenance and social solidarity. Accordingly, the sturgeon, and other imperiled species, may provide fishery managers an opportunity to engage in mutually beneficial and multi-cultural restoration efforts that bring historically disparate people and agencies together. For imperiled fish species, plans for restoration are often described through ecological principles and governmental statutes. Increasingly, especially in the field of restoration ecology, the effectiveness of a restoration projects is evaluated upon “if it matters to people” of the watershed. In order to understand how a species matters biologists must determine the human connections it provides and how an alteration to a natural resource may change how human communities interact with the watershed. This is difficult because how restoration matters includes political, economic and ecological elements in addition to social/cultural perspectives. If biologists are willing to embrace this type of thinking and use their technical “expert knowledge” alongside knowledge and values from people intimately connected to the landscape they may realize benefits to imperiled species that were unattainable when exclusively using ecological success criteria. In this presentation we will describe how lake sturgeon restoration efforts may produce recovery of the species and resiliency of social-ecological systems.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Emerald A

3:20pm EST

Deer Migration and Habitat Use Within Moose Range in Northeast Minnesota
AUTHORS: Amanda McGraw*, Integrated Biosciences Graduate Program, University of Minnesota Duluth; Lou Cornicelli, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Ron Moen, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth

ABSTRACT: Interactions between moose Alces alces and deer Odocoileus virginianus are of particular interest in Minnesota in light of moose population declines and because of the potential for deer to negatively affect moose populations through resource competition and disease transmission. Both species use young forest as primary foraging habitat, and management to create these habitats for moose is occurring in Minnesota. Because moose and deer forage on similar vegetation, there is concern that restored habitat could lead to increased contact between the two species. We used activity data from GPS radiocollared deer (n = 53) to examine movement patterns and habitat use across multiple scales. Deer in interior northeast Minnesota displayed two migratory strategies: no migration (65%) and migration (35%). Migratory deer moved 7.7 km (range: 1.0-15.6 km) and did not leave moose range. There was no difference in migration distances between spring and fall (p = 0.77), as all deer returned to the previous year’s summer and winter home ranges. Winter home ranges during the more severe winter of 2014 (1.05 km2 ± 0.15) were smaller than summer home ranges (1.65 km2 ± 0.36) and 2015 winter home ranges (1.75 km2 ± 0.20), though differences between seasons and years were not statistically significant (p = 0.56). Use of conifer and mixed forests was higher during winter, while use of deciduous forest was predominant in summer. Woody wetlands were avoided at all times of year. Additionally, a concurrent project assessing the effectiveness of moose habitat restoration suggests overlapping occurrence of moose and deer ranging from 15-40% in areas believed to be attractive to moose because of ample forage availability. Thus, deer in interior northeast Minnesota may pose a risk to moose throughout the year in terms of resource competition and disease transmission regardless of migratory strategy.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Vandenberg A

3:20pm EST

Wisconsin Pheasant Hunter Survey
AUTHORS: Brian J. Dhuey*, Krista Mcginley – Bureau of Wildlife Management, Wisconsin DNR

ABSTRACT: Pheasant hunting in Wisconsin has gone through many challenges and changes in recent years, with shrinking grass land acres and increased pressures on public lands and areas with stocked pheasants. Wisconsin Pheasant stamp purchasers were divided into three regional groups based on, wild pheasant populations, pheasant stocking densities, and zip code of residency. Questionnaires were sent out post hunt and responses were compared regionally and by landownership type they primarily hunted. Hunters in the Southeastern Region of Wisconsin are more likely to pheasant hunt (p

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Governors

3:20pm EST

(CANCELLED) Applications of Genetic Methods To Determine Species Identity For Fisheries Management
AUTHORS: Wendylee Stott*, USGS-Great Lakes Science Center; Ed Roseman, USGS-Great Lakes Science Center, Kevin Keeler, USGS-Great Lakes Science Center

NOTE: This talk has been cancelled. 

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Atrium

3:20pm EST

Aquatic-Based Recreation Users In Michigan: Risk Perceptions of VHS and Trust In Agency Management
AUTHORS: Erin L. Jarvie*, Michigan State University; Heather A. Triezenberg, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Aquatic based zoonotic diseases (e.g., fish diseases) pose a threat to fish populations and the livelihoods of people that depend on those fish populations. Although in general they do not pose a great risk to humans, fish diseases pose a risk to the environment; recreational, commercial, charter, and tribal fishing; and the culture of fishing. Besides the natural movement of fish pathogens, humans play a role in the transmission of fish pathogens between bodies of water. Michigan’s large commercial and recreational fishing industry contributes billions of dollars to Michigan’s economy each year through expenditures and sales of fish products. Fish diseases have the potential to greatly impact Great Lakes ecosystem health, as well as the industry and people that depends upon it. This research investigated stakeholder perceptions of fish diseases and trust in fish disease management by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division through interviews (n=80) with aquatic-based recreation users in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, using viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) as a case study. Despite VHS virus persisting in Michigan and Great Lakes waters for over a decade, 57.5% of study participants had never heard of the fish disease called viral hemorrhagic septicemia or VHS, and another 27.5% of participants had heard of it but didn’t know much about the disease. Overall, participants cited the natural environment as their top concern about risks from VHS as well as risks from VHS management, with 40% and 30% of participants, respectively. Insights from this study may inform future outreach and communication efforts to help stakeholders understand risks of fish diseases in the Great Lakes, and what steps they can take to reduce the risks of new aquatic diseases entering the Great Lakes.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Ambassador E

3:20pm EST

Demand For Fishery Regulations: Effects of Angler Heterogeneity and Catch Improvements on Preferences For Gear and Harvest Restrictions
AUTHORS: Scott Knoche*, Morgan State University; Frank Lupi, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Allocating limited funds across competing management actions to generate the fisheries improvements most desired by anglers requires in-depth knowledge of angler preferences for aspects of the fishing experience. Characterizing angler preferences in terms of a probability distribution, rather than simply a population mean, provides fisheries managers with deep insights into how preferences vary across the population of anglers. This is particularly important with respect to fishing regulations, for which anglers may have strong yet diverse preferences. To examine angler preferences and how these preferences vary across the population of trout anglers, we estimate a mixed logit model of trout fishing site choice using data from a mail and internet administered choice experiment of Michigan trout anglers (response rate – 44.6%). We find that, even though on average trout anglers do not prefer fishing at sites with the most strict fishing regulations (Catch and Release Only and Artificial Flies Only; p

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Gerald Ford

3:20pm EST

Decision-Making Tools and Aquatic Connectivity In The Great Lakes Basin: A 2014 Workshop Sponsored by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust
AUTHORS: Tammy Newcomb*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Mark Coscarelli, Great Lakes Fishery Trust

ABSTRACT: The Great Lakes Fishery Trust (GLFT) sponsored an aquatic connectivity workshop September 4-5, 2014, in Lansing, Michigan. The goal was to identify decision-support tools that resource managers and practitioners need and would use to guide decisions on where to improve fish passage or remove a dam in the Great Lakes basin. Within the Great Lakes basin, researchers conservatively estimate that more than 7,000 dams and 265,000 road-crossings may serve as barriers to migratory fish (Januchowski-Hartley et al 2013). The resource management community has reached general consensus that removing barriers to aquatic organism passage above lowermost barriers is a priority to enhance ecosystem health. This includes dams upstream of the lowermost barrier and almost all road-stream crossings, which rarely serve as an effective barrier to invasive species, but can impede success of native and desirable nonnative species. Given the sheer number of dams and road-stream crossings, the resource management community has identified the need for decision-support tools to prioritize connectivity projects within and among watersheds and deploy scarce resources more strategically. Over 50 workshop participants representing 23 entities—including state (3), federal (3), and tribal (4) agencies; utilities (2); binational coordination organizations (2); universities (4); county road commission (1); and nonprofit organizations (4)—discussed their information needs and process used when developing, evaluating, and implementing aquatic connectivity projects and reviewed existing decision-support tools. This discussion identified research needs and information gaps as well as ways to enhance existing tools to support more effective and efficient decision making. First, resource managers and practitioners discussed their processes and information needs for evaluating aquatic connectivity projects. Second, the workshop featured presentations by researchers regarding currently available support tools and, based on the first part of the workshop, how tools could be developed or modified to meet the needs of the manager and practitioner community.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Pearl

3:20pm EST

Eastern Massasauga Population Modelling and Assessment in Michigan
AUTHORS: Yu Man Lee*, Michigan Natural Features Inventory/Michigan State University Extension; Helen Enander, Natural Features Inventory/Michigan State University Extension

ABSTRACT: Michigan is considered to be the last stronghold for the eastern massasauga Sistrurus catenatus, with more historical and extant populations than any other state or province in the species’ range. The eastern massasauga is currently designated a species of special concern in Michigan and a priority Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan. Although Michigan still has a fairly large number of extant massasauga populations throughout the state, the species has declined and continues to face multiple threats. Given limited resources, the species’ extensive distribution in the state, its continued decline, and proposed federal listing, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is interested in identifying priority populations to focus management and conservation efforts for the species in Michigan. The purpose of this project was to assist the MDNR by identifying and delineating extant massasauga populations in the state, and assessing the condition and potential viability of these populations. Eastern massasauga populations were delineated based on a population model using known occurrences of this species in Michigan’s Natural Heritage Database (NHD) and a cost-weighted distance analysis. Land cover cells around known massasauga sites were assigned a weighted cost based on habitat suitability for massasaugas, and a maximum allowable distance a massasauga could move based on the species’ ecology and the weighted cost. This analysis was used to model the potential extent of massasauga populations, and delineate discrete populations in the state. We assessed the condition of each delineated population and ranked their potential viability or likelihood of persistence based on five general criteria, which included number and frequency of recent observations, evidence of reproduction/recruitment, habitat quantity, landscape context, and threats facing the population. We utilized available information in Michigan’s NHD, land cover data, aerial imagery, and expert opinion to assess and rank viability of delineated populations.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Imperial

3:20pm EST

Best Management Practices At Locks and Dams To Deter Bigheaded Carp Passage
AUTHORS: Marybeth Brey, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, Brent Knights, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

ABSTRACT: Minimizing propagule pressure is a key objective in minimizing the establishment of bighead carp and silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis and H. molitrix; hereafter, Asian carp (AC)) in the upper Illinois River and the Great Lakes. Currently, an electric dispersal barrier and contracted commercial fishing are the only measures in place to control fish movement. However, recent data suggest that characteristics of existing locks and dams on the river may also deter fish movement. Downstream of the electrical barrier are five “high-head” dams, including (from upstream to downstream) Lockport, Brandan Road, Dresden Island, Marseilles, and Starved Rock. Evidence in the form of continued low abundance of AC in the navigation pools above Starved Rock dam suggests that the high-head dams might be acting as deterrents to AC because of their design (i.e., gated, with relatively high head). The design of these dams might generally limit AC passage to times when gates are open (during high discharge events) or via lock chambers during spring or fall carp migrations. If the barrier characteristics of these high-head dams under various hydrologic conditions and seasons can be better understood and enhanced with low cost measures, then the number of AC present available to challenge the more comprehensive barriers would be reduced. To determine if these dams act as barriers and if barrier-characteristics of these dams can be enhanced, we used reach-specific hydrologic data, dam-specific design and operations data, and existing telemetry data (Southern Illinois University) on AC dam passage to assess under what conditions and how AC are passing through these dams. Alongside or following this assessment, we’ve begun to evaluate what combination of best management practices (including sound and CO2) at locks could best deter AC from entering or using a lock chamber.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Pantlind

3:20pm EST

3:40pm EST

Assessment of Organic Substrates As Sites For Zebra Mussel Dreissena Polymorpha Attachment In Four West-Central Minnesota Lakes
AUTHORS: April R. Londo Minnesota State University, Mankato Shannon J. Fisher Minnesota State University, Mankato

ABSTRACT: Of all non-native species to become invasive, zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha, from the Ponto-Caspian region of southern Russia, are considered to be one of the most damaging. Zebra mussels are successful invaders because the species attaches to substrates with byssal threads, can adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions, and have a free-swimming veliger that is easily transported. Although invasive mollusks pose considerable economic and ecological threats to inland waters, our understanding of them in Minnesota lakes remains limited. Therefore, an improved understanding of the factors that influence zebra mussel density, habitat preference, and distribution is an important component of developing management plans for the invasive mussel. The objective of this study was to assess potential associations zebra mussels may have with organic substrates as habitat in a Minnesota chain-of-lakes system. The study lakes were in west-central Minnesota and were all colonized prior to 2009. In the summer of 2014, mussel, vegetation, and substrate surveys were completed via SCUBA. Zebra mussels were enumerated and measured to determine density and size structure. Vegetation was keyed to species and dried to determined density (biomass/unit area). There was a significant difference in zebra mussel attachment to algaes (i.e., filamentous and Chara spp.) than macrophytes (P=0.001). Additionally, juvenile zebra mussels were found more on organic substrates than adults (P

Monday January 25, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
Emerald B

3:40pm EST

Sturgeon Partners: A Grand Fish and a Grand Museum
AUTHORS: Dr. Stephanie Ogren*,Grand Rapids Public Museum

ABSTRACT: The city of Grand Rapids is evolving and embracing the Grand River that flows through the city center. The Grand Rapids Public Museum with over 250,000 visitors annually, is well suited to inform the public on local and regional watershed research and restoration specifically related to threatened species within the Grand River Watershed. The Museum aims to inspire curiosity and equip the public with information necessary to make informed decisions related to watershed conservation and restoration. Scientists rarely focus on outreach and engagement of the public at large; rather we may give scientific presentations at specialized meetings, publish in technical journals or possibly use blogs. The Grand Rapids Public Museum has developed an interactive and inventive prototype exhibit that focuses on regional issues while demonstrating local socio-ecological connections and current research on lake sturgeon. By providing this learning opportunity the public museum is positioned to expand the perspectives and level of engagement of community members who previously had little exposure or reason to engage. The lake sturgeon exhibit provides an accessible forum that inspires questions and curiosity while informing museum visitors about local watershed issues and research. Along with the interactive display the museum has developed a tour and educational programs that immerse participants within the local connections for this threatened species. This programming translates scientific research into fun and exciting information which allows visitors to establish a connection to their watershed and in turn apply a more knowledgeable and vested perspective when considering decisions regarding the watershed.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
Emerald A

3:40pm EST

Development and Evaluation of a Habitat Suitability Model For White-Tailed Deer In An Agricultural Landscape
AUTHORS: Eric Anstedt*, Minnesota State University; John D. Krenz, Minnesota State University; Shannon J. Fisher, Minnesota State University; Marrett Grund, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Accuracy and efficiency in estimating animal density is important for wildlife managers as they set harvest levels and manage populations. A habitat suitability index model was created for white-tailed deer in southwest Minnesota (an intensive agricultural landscape) to identify roadways (for spotlight surveys) that have varying qualities of deer habitat near the road. We conducted surveys during evenings in March and April 2015 to detect an effect of HSI score on survey efficiency (deer observed per unit effort). Preliminary results suggest a positive correlation between these two variables. Field data will be collected again in 2016. This study seeks to prescribe a way to stratify the landscape in intensively farmed areas to improve the efficiency of collecting data for density estimation.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
Vandenberg A

3:40pm EST

National Mourning Dove Hunter Attitudes and Opinions on Lead (Pb) Poisoning
AUTHORS: Christopher T. Rota, University of Missouri; John H. Schulz*, University of Missouri; Ronald A. Reitz, Missouri Department of Conservation; Joshua J. Millspaugh, University of Missouri; Kenneth D. Richkus, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; William F. Harvey IV, Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Shaun L. Oldenburger, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Michael J. Rabe, Arizona Game and Fish Department

ABSTRACT: Ingested lead (Pb) pellets are lethal to mourning doves Zenaida macroura, and decisions regarding the future use of Pb shotshells will require input from multiple stakeholders. To help inform these decisions, we assessed awareness of dove hunters about the impacts of Pb poisoning on mourning doves and dove hunting, and their attitudes toward possible regulatory actions. We developed a 74 item questionnaire to determine attitudes and characteristics of migratory bird hunters in 39 of 40 states with mourning dove hunting seasons, and mailed the questionnaire to approximately 32,000 dove hunters. We developed questions to address hunter awareness of the impacts of Pb shot on mourning doves and hunter attitudes about possible policy actions. Approximately 58% of hunters agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that any exposure to Pb makes practically no population effect to mourning dove populations due to the birds’ short lifespan, and only 9% of all hunters agreed with requiring the use of non–Pb shot for dove hunting. Agreement with the need for a regulation was not associated with the cost of non–Pb shot or the amount of money spent annually on shot shells. Managers and policy makers wanting to communicate effectively with hunters need to consider that many dove hunters view the nontoxic-shot waterfowl regulation as unnecessary, say they would likely reduce the number of dove hunting trips if non–Pb shot was required, use ≥10 boxes of ammunition per season, harvest >10 doves per season, believe the cost of shells is less of a problem, believe non–Pb shot is more likely to cripple doves, and believe it will be hard to find alternatives to Pb shot in local stores. Despite economic and scientific evidence, hunters continue to hold beliefs contrary to existing information. State agencies, however, are well positioned to play a pivotal role in addressing the issue.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
Governors

3:40pm EST

Comparison of Bioinformatics Tools For Detection and Identification of Fish Pathogens In Metagenomic Samples
AUTHORS: Kensey Thurner*, Purdue University

ABSTRACT: The use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) to investigate metagenomic samples is becoming more common due to decreased costs. In response, numerous bioinformatics tools have appeared to deal with the large amount of data being produced. One emerging application of NGS with metagenomic samples (e.g. fish spleen) is the detection and identification of pathogens. NGS has several advantages over traditional assay methods including the ability to detect novel pathogens, no requirement for lethal sampling methods. In this study, we sought to identify the best available bioinformatics tools and pipelines for the detection and identification of pathogenic organisms in metagenomic samples acquired from fish tissue. We analyzed raw read output from Illumina MiSeq produced by whole shotgun sequencing of spleen and plasma samples collected from 24 wild-caught fish to compare emerging bioinformatics tools designed specifically for metagenomics, microbial or viral read data with more traditional, broadly-applicable tools (e.g. ABySS and BLAST). We attempted to characterize variation in total detections, number of false positives, detection by pathogen type (i.e. virus, bacteria, etc.), spleen (high percentage of host DNA) vs plasma (low percentage of host DNA), time required and accessibility.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
Atrium

3:40pm EST

Responding To Hemlock Wooly Adelgid In Michigan
AUTHORS: John Bedford, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

ABSTRACT: Hemlock are important to fish and wildlife habitat in the Great Lakes region, providing cover to birds and mammals and regulating stream temperatures. More than 100 million mature hemlocks grow in Michigan. The hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA) is decimating hemlock in the eastern U.S.; however there is a large spatial gap between eastern U.S. hemlock and Midwest hemlock. HWA has been found in Michigan in several places since 2006 and some of those sites have been eradicated. Work to eradicate HWA at the remaining sites continues. Preliminary work at two sites where HWA was detected in 2015 in western Michigan indicates the infestations have been present for a number of years. For the first time, hemlock decline has been documented in Michigan from HWA. Eradication of HWA from Michigan will take multiple years and considerable resources will be needed.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
Ambassador E

3:40pm EST

Measuring The Relationship Between Sportfishing Trip Expenditures and Anglers’ Species Preferences
AUTHORS: James M. Long, Oklahoma State University; Richard T. Melstrom*, Oklahoma State University

ABSTRACT: This paper presents research on the relationship between fishing trip expenditures and anglers’ species preferences from a survey of Oklahoma resident anglers conducted in 2014. Understanding patterns in fishing trip expenditures is important because a significant share of state wildlife agency revenue comes from taxes on purchases of fishing equipment. Presently, there is little research that addresses the question of how spending levels vary within groups of sportspersons, including anglers. Regression analysis was used to identify a relationship between trip spending and several preference variables, and includes controls for other characteristics of fishing trips, such as location, party size and duration. We received 780 surveys for response rate of 26% but only 506 were useable due to missing data or non-fishing responses. Average trip expenditures regardless of species preferences were approximately $140, but anglers who preferred to fish for trout and black bass tended to spend more than those who preferred to fish for catfish and panfish. These results were even more pronounced when location was considered, with those fishing at lakes spending more than those who last fished at a river or ponds. The results underscore the differences in spending among anglers with different preferred species and fishing locations. Those anglers pursuing black bass in lakes not only spent more on average, but are numerous; increasing their overall spending impact at the state level.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
Gerald Ford

3:40pm EST

Effective and Census Population Size in Eastern Massasaugas
AUTHORS: Danielle Bradke*, Grand Valley State University; Jeffrey Bartman, Grand Valley State University; Nathan Kudla, Grand Valley State University; Eric Hileman, Northern Illinois University; Jennifer Moore, Grand Valley State University

ABSTRACT: Small, isolated populations risk rapid losses of genetic diversity via inbreeding and genetic drift, rendering them vulnerable to environmental stochasticity. Effective population size constrains the amount of genetic diversity in a population and it is closely linked to a population’s census size. Thus, census and effective population sizes are important parameters to monitor in species of conservation concern. Eastern massasaugas have experienced extensive habitat loss and declines throughout their range, but information about population size is lacking for most populations. We used mark-recapture and microsatellite data to estimate census and effective population size at two sites in southwest Michigan. Results from this study may be useful to resource managers in an adaptive management framework. Furthermore, understanding the relationship between these two parameters may allow managers and researchers to assess the long-term viability of eastern massasauga populations.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
Imperial

3:40pm EST

Morphology of Native Cyprinid Embryos Overlaps That of Asian Carp
AUTHORS: James H. Larson, U.S. Geological Survey; S. Grace McCalla, U.S. Geological Survey; Amy E. George, U.S. Geological Survey; Duane C. Chapman, U.S. Geological Survey; Christopher Rees, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Brent C. Knights, U.S. Geological Survey; Jon M. Vallazza, U.S. Geological Survey; Jon Amberg, U.S. Geological Survey; Maren Tuttle-Lau, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Emy Monroe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Asian carp of the genera Hypophthalmichthys, Ctenopharyngodon, and Mylopharyngodon are invading the Upper Mississippi River and represent high risk to normal functioning of invaded ecosystems. Determining reproductive status and requirements of Asian carp populations at invasion fronts is necessary to inform integrated pest management. To address this need in the Upper Mississippi River, we used ichthyoplankton nets to sample fish embryos from main channel sites at and above what was presumed the reproductive front. Embryos were preserved in formalin to conserve morphological characteristics used to identify Asian carp. Surprisingly, embryos collected >300 km upstream of previous reports of reproduction were positively identified as Asian carp. The unexpected results prompted a posteriori attempts to verify the identity of 41 of these embryos using non-standard genetic methods (including “minibarcode” primers) on the cytochrome c oxidase 1 (COI) gene. These non-standard methods were necessary to compensate for extended formalin preservation that is known to degrade DNA. Likely due to formalin preservation, sequences were adequately recovered from only 17 of these embryos. For all 17 embryos, identity based on genetics contradicted those based on morphometrics and suggested that these embryos were non-carp cyprinids generally of the genus Notropis. In previously published reports, the primary morphological characteristic that distinguishes Asian carp embryos from non-carp cyprinids is diameter of the water-hardened egg. The size of the eggs genetically identified as non-carp cyprinids overlapped with the reported size range of Asian carp eggs. These findings suggest that managers and researchers sampling Asian carp eggs might need to preserve samples, with appropriate methods, for genetic confirmation of species identification.

Monday January 25, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
Pantlind

4:00pm EST

The Responses of Freshwater Unionid Mussels To Elevated CO2 In The Context of Fish Barriers
AUTHORS: Kelly Hannan*, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Jennifer Jeffrey, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Adam Wright, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Caleb Hasler, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Cory Suski, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: The movement and spread of invasive fish species is a topic of recent concern. In the Midwestern US, Asian carp are an invader of particular concern due to the recent expansion of their populations. Gas barriers aimed at deterring fish movement, such as CO2, are gaining in popularity as areas of elevated CO2 have been shown to be effective at deterring fish movement. However, little research has investigated potential consequences of these barriers on non-target species, such as mussels. Freshwater mussels are one of the most imperiled animals worldwide, and have some of their highest diversity in North America, and zones of high CO2 have potential to impact these organisms. The goal of the current study was to quantify the impacts of short-term, chronic, and fluctuating exposures to elevated CO2, and subsequent recovery, on freshwater mussels. Hemolymph ions such as, Ca2+, Cl-, Mg2+, and Na+ were measured along with hemolymph glucose, body condition indices, and metabolic rate. Results from these studies indicate that freshwater mussels experienced physiological disturbances related to acid base disturbance following CO2 exposure, but body condition is unaffected even after chronic exposure, and there is evidence of recovery following removal of the CO2 challenge. Results are further discussed in the context of how CO2 barriers may impact non-target organisms.

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Emerald B

4:00pm EST

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Nme (Lake Sturgeon) In The Classroom: Adapting Fisheries Management Educational Outreach To The High School Level In The Context of Standards-Based Learning Goals
AUTHORS: Douglas Larson, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; Kevin Donner*, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; Jannan Cotto, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; Alison Simon, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; Dorothy Perry, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; Theresa Chingwa, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

ABSTRACT: Integrating educational outreach programs into the classroom is often influenced by Federal, State, and District education standards. While the goal of most programs is to present clear, concise information in the context of objective-based learning, this project emphasized experiential -based learning through an Indigenous, Land-Based Pedagogy. During the 2014-2015 school year, we developed and implemented Nme (lake sturgeon) in the Classroom, a unit of study created for a high school classroom. As part of this program, students were presented with the curriculum we developed and a fall-fingerling lake sturgeon to raise in their classroom. All lessons within this curriculum were aligned with Common Core and Next-generation Science Standards. Emphasis was placed on critical thinking activities, field methodology and native species management, all through an Indigenous perspective. At the end of the program, the students and faculty were asked to evaluate how the Sturgeon in the Classroom program compared to previous learning experiences. Additionally, students were asked if this program altered their understanding of native fisheries management; if they were more likely to seek a post-secondary fisheries management degree program; and if the program altered their understanding of the local Tribal Community and their reciprocal relationship with Nme (lake sturgeon).

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Emerald A

4:00pm EST

Dispersal of Yearling Male White-Tailed Deer In Wisconsin
AUTHORS: Brittany Peterson*, UW-Madison; Dan Storm, WI Dept of Natural Resources; Tim Van Deelen, UW-Madison

ABSTRACT: Dispersal facilitates and influences many ecological processes, such as disease spread, range expansion, population dynamics, and gene flow. For intensively managed wildlife populations, like Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, understanding dispersal behavior is important for effective management. Our research occurred during 2011-2014 on 2 study areas representing the northern (forested) and eastcentral (farmland) regions of Wisconsin. We selected these areas because of contrasting ecological contexts: highly fragmented private land with milder winters versus heavily forested public land with more severe winters. Our goal was to better understand factors that influence variation in dispersal behavior and how they relate to deer management. We evaluated weekly locations from radio-collared yearling males to assess dispersal. Preliminary dispersal rates for the farmland study area (n=176) consistently fell around 55%; however, dispersal rates in the northern site (n=137) revealed high annual variation (28-60%). Influence of individual quality, landscape context, and winter severity on dispersal probability, distance, and direction is underway. We will also quantify the statistical distribution of dispersal distance and direction. Better information regarding the factors shaping variation in dispersal rates, distances, and direction would improve metapopulation maintenance and enable biologists and property managers to make informed decisions about management goals.

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Vandenberg A

4:00pm EST

Sharing and Receiving Wild Harvested Venison In Michigan: Implications For Relevancy of Hunters and Hunting
AUTHORS: Amber D. Goguen, Michigan State University; Shawn J. Riley*, Michigan State University; Brent A. Rudolph, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; John F. Organ, USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units

ABSTRACT: An often-overlooked aspect of hunting-based wildlife management systems is wild harvested meat produced, and provisional and cultural ecosystem services generated by the sharing and consumption of this valuable natural resource. We assessed the extent of venison provided by hunters and received by Michiganders; identified pathways of venison movement; and, characterized factors associated with venison consumption in Michigan. We assessed characteristics of hunters as providers of venison from a mail-back questionnaire to a stratified random sample (n=19,981) of 2013 Michigan deer license holders. We assessed venison consumption statewide through voluntary closed-ended telephone interviews with a random sample (n=997) of Michigan residents. We estimate 26-33 million pounds of wild harvested venison were procured during the 2013 Michigan deer hunting season. In the absence of established markets, > 85% of hunter-respondents who harvested a deer in 2013 shared venison. Hunters who reported sharing provided venison to an average of 5.6 people, mostly to people with whom they shared a close personal connection. Hunter characteristics were not predictive of sharing behaviors; the only variable correlated with sharing was whether they harvested a deer. Approximately 72% of Michigan resident-respondents reported eating venison at least once in their lifetime, and nearly 50% reported consuming venison at least once in the past 12 months. Level of hunting experience, level of urbanization of residence, and race were predictors of venison consumption. Sharing by hunters magnifies the potential number of people coupled to natural systems through the consumption of wild harvested meat. Nonetheless, the closed nature of hunters’ sharing networks creates potential limits to the number and types of beneficiaries within this system. We discuss implications for wild harvested meat as a coupler between humans and nature, and as a mechanism to maintain relevancy of hunting.

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Governors

4:00pm EST

Can We Save Our Beech and Oak? Impacts, Vectors and Control Strategies For Two Harmful Tree Diseases
AUTHORS: Bob Heyd*, Roger Mech, Ryan Wheeler

ABSTRACT: Beech and oak are two types of highly valuable trees in the Upper Midwest. These trees provide mast for wildlife, support the economy of local communities, and contribute to overall forest diversity. Beech bark disease and oak wilt can result in up to 100% mortality of their target species. Understanding the biology of these diseases and vectors of spread can help managers prevent and plan for future conditions. Identification of new infestations partnered with key control strategies will be presented as ways for managers to help reduce the impacts of these invasive species on woodland habitats.

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Ambassador E

4:00pm EST

4:00pm EST

Response of Massasaugas Sistrurus Catenatus to Habitat Alteration From Timber Harvest and Fire Near Their Northern Range Limit
AUTHORS: Michael J. Ravesi*, Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne; Evin T. Carter, University of Tennessee Knoxville; Sasha J. Tetzlaff, Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne; Brett A. DeGregorio, US Army ERDC-CERL; and Bruce A. Kingsbury, Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne

ABSTRACT: Landscape modifications are often implemented to improve habitat quality for a variety of imperiled species. However, relatively little is known regarding how rare snakes, including eastern massasaugas Sistrurus catenatus, respond to such manipulations. Between 2002 and 2014 we used radio telemetry to monitor short-term (1-2 years) and >5 years response to experimental clear-cutting in northern Michigan for this species. More recently, a fire in 2010 occurred within habitat historically used by massasaugas during activity periods and for overwintering. Both habitat alterations removed vegetative structure, potentially altering the quality of basking habitat. Use of clear cut habitat by telemetered snakes was lower than would be expected by chance during the first two years. However, use increased over time and included multiple successful parturition events. Additionally, massasaugas continued to use recently burned habitat for overwintering and parturition. Our findings suggest that massasaugas are resilient to landscape changes and may benefit from habitat alterations.

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Imperial

4:00pm EST

Alternative Methods To Process Ichthyoplankton Tows For The Genetic Identification Of Asian Carp Eggs and Larvae
AUTHORS: S. Grace McCalla, U.S. Geological Survey; Brent C. Knights, U.S. Geological Survey; Bridget Ladell; Jenna Malinauskas, , U.S. Geological Survey; James Larson, , U.S. Geological Survey; Jon Amberg, U.S. Geological Survey; Maren Tuttle-Lau, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Emy Monroe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Reproductive activity of Asian carp Hypophthalmichthys spp. in the Upper Mississippi River and Laurentian Great Lakes is routinely monitored by sampling ichthyoplankton. Fish eggs and larvae collected in ichthyoplankton tows have been traditionally identified visually, which requires extensive sorting of samples to remove unnecessary material and identify target species. The lack of distinguishing morphological characteristics often obscures accurate identification of egg and larval samples. This time consuming and sometimes inaccurate technique (i.e., ichthyoplankton processing) might reduce the effectiveness of control measures because of delays in obtaining accurate information used to set priorities and initiate actions. A method to rapidly isolate and accurately identify a targeted species in ichthyoplankton tows could thus increase the effectiveness of control measures. Molecular techniques exist that can easily differentiate species without destroying morphological integrity, but methods to use with fish eggs and larvae collected in ichthyoplankton tows have not been fully developed. To address this need, we developed a non-destructive, molecular analysis to taxonomically identify Asian carp and other invasive fishes in icthyoplankton samples. These methods show promise in significantly reducing the time and accuracy of processing ichthyoplankton.

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
Pantlind

4:30pm EST

Student/Professional Mixer

Come and join us for light hors d’oeuvres and conversation! This event will provide a unique opportunity for students to meet, ask questions, and network with many fish and wildlife leaders from around the region. Professionals will be grouped by interest and employment type in a small room setting where students will meet professionals first in a round-robin type rotation, followed by an open forum for follow up questions or further networking. 

NOTE: DeVos Place Convention Center is attached to the host hotel by skywalk.  


Monday January 25, 2016 4:30pm - 5:45pm EST
DeVos Place Convention Center - Ballroom A

6:00pm EST

Evening Social/Reception at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Sponsored by:  Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries & Wildlife Divisions; and The Hal & Jean Glassen Memorial Foundation.

Emcee: Bill O’Neil, Deputy Director, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Highlights of the event include the honorable Rosalyn Bliss, Mayor of Grand Rapids; Austen Brauker, Traditional Drum*;  historic 1928 Spillman Carousel; fun discovery games, and exciting prize drawings. Entries for the prize drawings can be earned by attending the Museum event, participating in the evening’s games, and by participating in the earlier Student/Professional Mixer. The Van Dort Print Shop will be printing souvenir conference bookmarks on the antique press. Food and beverages will be served throughout the evening.

Museum Special Sturgeon Exhibit: Grand River, Grand Fish explores how the Great Lakes region’s largest and oldest fish, the Lake Sturgeon, once found in great abundance, is now a threatened species in our watersheds. The exhibit takes visitors through the connections to Native Americans, fishing history in the region and current science.

* Austen Brauker is a member of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. He is an artist, painting murals, and creates many different traditional native crafts and various other forms of visual art.  Austen is a long time musician and has performed regularly since he started playing music over thirty years ago. Austen plays many different styles of music on acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, banjo, bass guitar, lap steel and slide blues. He plays the Native American flute and sings with a traditional Odawa drum group in Manistee, Michigan. He recently scored the soundtrack for an educational sturgeon documentary that was filmed locally, spotlighting the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians sturgeon rearing program.

The Museum is approximately 3-minutes walking distance from the hotel. If preferred or needed, shuttle service will be provided to and from the Museum, making continuous loops for the duration of the Reception. Shuttle departs from Lyon Street entrance of the Amway Grand Hotel.

www.grpm.org


Monday January 25, 2016 6:00pm - 10:00pm EST
OFFSITE: Grands Rapids Museum
 
Tuesday, January 26
 

7:00am EST

Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society; North Central Division of the American Fisheries Society; University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment; and 

Central Michigan University


Tuesday January 26, 2016 7:00am - 8:00am EST
Center Concourse

7:00am EST

Conference Registration Open
Tuesday January 26, 2016 7:00am - 6:00pm EST
Center Concourse

7:00am EST

Speaker Ready Room
Tuesday January 26, 2016 7:00am - 6:00pm EST
Robinson

8:00am EST

Plenary Session II

8:00 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Doug Reeves, Co-Chair Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division


8:05 a.m.
Strategic Visions for Conservation

William Demmer, President, Boone and Crockett Club

Bill Demmer is a hunter, angler and businessman from Lansing, Michigan. He is also President of America's first conservation organization, the Boone and Crockett Club.

8:55 a.m.
Competing Values in Great Lakes Resource Management
Dr. Frank Lupi, Michigan State University

Professor Frank Lupi is a Natural Resource and Environmental Economist with appointments in the Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics and the Fisheries and Wildlife Departments at Michigan State University. He is a member of the Partnership for Ecosystem Research and Management, a collaborative effort between scientists at Michigan State University and Great Lakes resource management agencies. Lupi is an ecosystem valuation expert whose applied research addresses the economics of ecosystem services, fisheries, wildlife, and water. Current projects address resource management issues in the Great Lakes including the valuation of recreational fisheries; public demand and values for water quality; economic benefits of reducing non-point pollution from agriculture in Great Lakes watersheds; economic benefits of public lands for hunting; benefits of wildlife habitat restoration; and payment for environmental service policies to incentivize provision of ecosystem services.



Tuesday January 26, 2016 8:00am - 9:45am EST
Ambassador E & W

9:45am EST

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
Tuesday January 26, 2016 9:45am - 10:00am EST
Center Concourse

10:00am EST

Biological Evaluation of The Milwaukee Harbor 'Green' Breakwall
AUTHORS: Eric Geisthardt*, UW-Milwaukee; John Janssen, UW-Milwaukee; Burton Suedel, US Army Corps of Engineering

ABSTRACT: The Milwaukee Harbor “Green” Breakwall (MHGBW) is an artificial reef constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as a pilot program to create new rocky habitat in the Milwaukee harbor while repairing the aging breakwall. The MHGBW provides habitat and a rich forage source for a number of fish species and serves as a nursery habitat for juvenile fishes. The summer forage base on the breakwall is dominated by Hemimysis anomala which behave uniquely on the MHGBW. During the day Hemimysis forms swarms that saturate large rock caves formed by the armor stone along the breakwall, but we think many are hidden out of view in smaller cavities under smaller stones. At night we found numerous Hemimysis emerging from the interstitial spaces in the reef and swarming over the surface of the MHGBW. Preliminary diet analysis indicate that Hemimysis anomala are a primary forage for alewife and rockbass on the MHGBW, and an important constituent in the diets of YOY largemouth bass, juvenile rainbow trout, and brown trout.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Gerald Ford

10:00am EST

Demographics and Harvest of Three Commercially Exploited Species of Catfish in the Wabash River, IL
AUTHORS: Zachary A Mitchell*, Eastern Illinois University; Cassi J. Moody-Carpenter, Eastern Illinois University; Les D. Frankland, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Eric K. Bollinger, Eastern Illinois University; Robert E. Colombo

ABSTRACT: Catfish (Ictaluridae) are both commercially and recreationally important in North America. Catfish account for the majority of harvest by weight within many Midwestern states including Illinois and Indiana. The Wabash River supports a substantial commercial and recreational fishery for three species of catfish: channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus, flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris, and blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus. It is imperative to understand the dynamics of these riverine fish under various levels of fishing exploitation in order to maintain sustainable levels of harvest of these species. This study characterizes the population demographics of three exploited species of catfish, discusses the temporal harvest trends, and the effects of commercial harvest within the Wabash River. Catfish were collected throughout the lower 322-km of the Wabash River from 2010 through 2015. A multiple-gear approach was used to sample for catfish in order to accurately describe the demographics of the populations. A total of 3,728 catfish were collected comprising of 1,678 channel catfish, 1,798 flathead catfish, and 252 blue catfish. Overall, electrofishing caught more fish at a smaller size (n = 2846; mean ±SE; 381.7 ± 4.5) whereas hoop nets (n = 806; 502.4 ±3.3) and trot lines (n= 76; 577.6 ±5.1) caught fewer and larger fish (P< 0.001). Lengths (mean±SE) for blue catfish (538.4 ±4.2) were significantly larger (P< 0.001) when compared to flathead catfish (381.7 ±4.5) and channel catfish (370.3 ±4.2). Additionally, length frequency distributions differed across the three different species and gear types (P< 0.05). Condition as measured by relative weight varied between species and gear types (P< 0.05). Of the 746 catfish aged (ages 0-13), blue catfish (6.1±0.54) and channel catfish (5.8±0.12) were significantly older (P< 0.01) than flathead catfish (3.2±0.08). This study will provide updated base-line catfish population information and provide insight for future regulation implementation for the Wabash River.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Atrium

10:00am EST

Trust Me, You Don’t Want To Use Bait: Examining Linkages Between Gaining Hunter Compliance And Building Trust In Agencies
AUTHORS: Brent A. Rudolph*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Shawn J. Riley, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: North American wildlife is treated as a public trust resource (PTR), managed for the benefit of all people by government. Many historically overexploited wildlife species were restored via application of restrictive hunting regulations and enforced compliance, but recovery goals were shared by hunters and managers. Present-day societal needs include reducing abundant game populations and zoonotic diseases. Hunters often oppose steps to reach these objectives, creating tension between managing PTRs and gaining trust of hunters upon whose participation and support wildlife management depends. Trust can be an important commodity for governments to elicit compliance rather than depending solely on enforcement. Influencing opinions of procedural justice (perceptions of appropriate exercise of power) may provide a practical means for gaining trust. Our objectives were to: 1) assess compliance with a baiting ban adopted to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in Michigan white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, 2) assess trust in the state wildlife agency, and 3) determine how enforcement, personal gains, norms, and factors contributing to trust affected compliance. We determined the minimum baiting violation rate was 25% in the bTB area, and 30% of respondents indicated they trusted the agency to establish appropriate deer hunting rules. Logit modeling of hunter survey data (n= 3,222; 51% response rate) identified diverse influences (enforcement, personal gains, social norms, and procedural justice) on compliance. Trust was influenced by procedural justice, hunter agreement with agency goals, and judgements of performance. We provide a framework for measuring factors that may influence stakeholder trust and ultimately hunter compliance and effectiveness of regulations. We conclude trust is not easily built, but may work in concert with applying traditional enforcement. This approach requires close coordination between trustees (elected and appointed officials who hold authority for enacting regulations) and trust managers (agency personnel who provide technical expertise to trustees and bear responsibility for enforcement).

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Governors

10:00am EST

10:00am EST

(NEW) The Stone Soup Model: Climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation in Midwest forests

AUTHORS: Handler, S., L. Brandt, P. Butler, M. Janowiak, C. Swanston, and P.D. Shannon

ABSTRACT: The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science has built a successful approach that helps land managers pursue climate change adaptation (www.forestadaptation.org). The guiding principle is that we can get a lot more done by working together. NIACS coordinated a series of ecosystem vulnerability assessments for forest ecosystems across the Midwest, which were co-created with diverse groups of managers and researchers. A flexible but rigorous Adaptation Workbook helps translate general climate change expectations to specific risks and opportunities at the scale of management decisions. A “menu” of adaptation strategies and approaches helps users generate concrete adaptation actions. More than 120 real-world case studies across the Midwest and Northeast US illustrate how land managers have used the Adaptation Workbook. These examples cover a wide range of scales, ecosystem types, and ownerships, and show how land managers can prepare for climate change while still meeting land management and conservation goals.


Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Vandenberg A

10:00am EST

Invasive Mussel Collaborative: Connecting People, Science and Management
AUTHORS: Erika Jensen*, Great Lakes Commission; Sarah Cook, Great Lakes Commission

ABSTRACT: Scientists have been searching since the early 1990s for effective methods to control invasive zebra Dreissena polymorpha and quagga mussels D. rostriformis bugensis as a way to help mitigate their negative impacts. Recent advances in biocontrol technology represent an exciting potential technique to manage invasive mussels. These advances are also leading to new questions and opportunities for managers and scientists. In light of this new opportunity, diverse management goals must be identified and understood and knowledge gaps addressed in order to move forward with a joint and strategic approach to managing invasive mussels. This presentation will focus on a new Invasive Mussel Collaborative that is providing a framework for communication and coordination to share information and lessons learned, guide supporting research, and inform management actions. This collaborative approach is helping to identify the needs and objectives of resource managers, prioritize the supporting science, recommend communication strategies, and ultimately align science and management goals into a common agenda.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Ambassador E

10:00am EST

Effects of Variability In Stream Physical and Biotic Factors on The Reproductive Success of Lake Sturgeon Acipenser Fulvescens
AUTHORS: Kim Scribner*, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Department of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University; Kari Dammerman, Department of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University; Yen Duong, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; John Bauman, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Karen Beatty, Department of Zoology, Michigan State University, Edward Baker, Marquette Fisheries Research Station, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Natural recruitment of lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens is highly variable across years and very few larvae survive past the first year of life. To successfully restore lake sturgeon in the Great Lakes, fishery managers would benefit from information that identifies abiotic and biotic factors limiting egg and larval survival, predict where suitable habitat (and associated fish and invertebrate communities) exists, what restoration and protection actions are needed, and where actions should be targeted. We use a 15 year data set (2001-2015) from a well-studied population or lake sturgeon in the Black River, MI to characterize inter-annual variation in levels of recruitment to the larval stage. Genetic determination of parentage was used to quantify reproductive success of adults from different segments of the population that spawn at different times and locations, and associated with different physical (flow and temperature) and biotic (adult numbers and sex ratios) conditions. Levels of recruitment to the dispersing larval stage have varied 40 fold over the period of observation. During the early portion of the time series, the effective number of spawning adults remained relative constant across years suggesting in years of comparatively lower or higher recruitment, rates of mortality at the egg and larval stage were fairly equitable among spawning adults. In more recent years, variation in stream flow and temperatures has become greater, leading to greater temporal autocorrelation in adult reproductive success. Variation in female reproductive success in recent years is attributed to temperature, discharge, group size, and operational sex ratio which are increasingly variable in riverine systems.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Emerald B

10:00am EST

Mississippi Basin / Gulf Hypoxia Initiative: Seven Lccs Meet Large-Scale Agricultural Conservation Challenges From Grassland Birds and Pallid Sturgeon To Gulf Coast Shrimp
AUTHORS: Michael Schwartz, The Conservation Fund; Gwen White*, Glen Salmon, Eastern Tallgrass Prairie & Big Rivers LCC; Robert Clevenstine, US Fish & Wildlife Service; Greg Wathen, Gulf Coast Plains & Ozarks LCC; Bill Bartush, Gulf Coast Prairie LCC; Nicole Athearn, Great Plains LCC; Richard Nelson, Plains & Prairie Potholes LCC; John Rogner, Upper Midwest & Great Lakes LCC; Jean Brennan, Appalachian LCC

ABSTRACT: According to water quality model assessments, Midwestern states within the upper Mississippi River watershed currently contribute the greatest nutrient load to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. The conservation community needs optimization tools that prioritize the design and configuration of actions that appeal to upstream agricultural communities under a range of climate extremes. The Mississippi River Basin/Gulf Hypoxia Initiative, spearheaded by seven Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, is undertaking a strategic and transparent process to create an integrated framework that supports planning, design, configuration and delivery of water quality enhancement and wildlife conservation practices within targeted locations across the watershed. Work Teams of researchers and managers across the LCCs have identified and described the design/policy considerations for 14 highly effective conservation practices that protect and enhance wildlife habitat while complementing ongoing efforts that reduce nutrient loads to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone and benefit agricultural production through ecosystem services (“what to do”). The Conservation Fund is developing datasets and decision support tools to be utilized as part of the Conservation Blueprint 1.0 to map, evaluate, and select the most strategic and cost effective places to implement these actions (“where to do it”). Future scenario planning for landscape change could provide climate forecast and adaptation strategies over a range of time scales in response to ecological or economic drivers. The Initiative plans to use this framework to address collaborative needs that will enhance organizational capacity, avoid duplication of effort, streamline prioritization, and align the work of agencies and organizations across multiple scales. This effort is intended to be complementary to related on-going efforts, like the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force, Mississippi River Basin Initiative, and state nutrient reduction initiatives, but with an added emphasis on the ecological and social values of wildlife habitat.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Ambassador W

10:00am EST

Introduction To 'Legends and Legacies: Michigan's Fishery Research and Management'
AUTHORS: Ed Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Robin DeBruyne, USGS Great Lakes Science Center

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Pearl

10:00am EST

Development of Sampling Protocols For Freshwater Mussel Density Estimates In The Meramec River Basin, Missouri
AUTHORS: Matthew C. Schrum, Missouri Fish and Wildlife Cooperative; Amanda E. Rosenberger, Missouri Fish and Wildlife Cooperative; Steve McMurray, Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT: Freshwater mussels are among the most threatened aquatic fauna in North America. Given the need for continued monitoring of threatened populations, an evaluation of the effectiveness of metrics from visually-based sampling methods is an essential step in assessing populations of these mollusks. We surveyed 14 sites in the Meramec River Basin in East Central Missouri. At each site, we employed three visual methods for estimating abundance; timed visual searches, systematic strip transects, and stratified randomly placed visual 0.25 m² quadrats. We excavated substrate at each 0.25 m² quadrat to determine baseline abundances for each species. We compare the results of abundance estimates of each of the visual methods with the density estimates based on excavated quadrat samples. Sampling efficiencies of visual-based quadrats were calculated and used to determine if visual techniques provide reasonable approximation of overall mussel abundances and investigated factors that influenced their effectiveness. These results will be used to produce sampling protocols for freshwater mussels for the state of Missouri.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Vandenberg B

10:00am EST

Multi-Scale Responses of Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes to Prescribed Fire
AUTHORS: Matt Cross, Bowling Green State University; Charles Mehne, Animal Clinic; Jack McGowan-Stinski, OSU; Doug Pearsall, TNC; Jim Gillingham, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: The eastern massasauga rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus is a threatened species that occurs in habitats frequently targeted by prescribed burns. There have been reports of massasauga mortality as a result of prescribed fires, but little is known regarding the indirect effects of fire on this species. The objective of this study was to monitor massasaugas during a prescribed fire to assess direct and indirect effects. We initially implanted radio transmitters in 13 massasaugas inhabiting an area targeted for periodic prescribed fires and tracked them following a prescribed fire to determine burn related-mortality and behavioral influences. Data loggers, temperature sensitive paint, and measuring posts were used to record detailed fire data. Of the five snakes on the burn unit at the time, two died as a result of the fire. No differences were observed in daily movements and home range sizes between burn categories (in the burn, same site not in the burn and at a nearby unburned site). Snakes on and off the burn unit at the same site exhibited the same habitat preference for wetland habitats, whereas snakes at the control site preferred herbaceous areas. Slight differences were observed in microhabitat selection related to litter depth, surface light intensity, distance to water, and surface temperature. The snakes did not appear to alter their seasonal activities as a result of the prescribed fire. The results of this study suggest ways to minimize impacts from prescribed fires on massasauga populations.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Imperial

10:00am EST

Development of a Rapid Mobile Test For Detection of Edna From Bigheaded Carp
AUTHORS: Leah Cronan*, Lucigen Corporation; Chris Merkes, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Chris Rees, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Jon Amberg, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Thomas Schoenfeld, Lucigen Corporation

ABSTRACT: Early detection is critical to preventing the spread of invasive species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) provides a means of identifying invasive species when direct visual detection is not feasible. However, current methods for detecting eDNA are confined to central labs. Sample transport and reporting time and availability of specialized personnel can delay results and limit the utility of molecular detection in preventing spread. To provide a field-compatible tool for detecting eDNA, Lucigen has partnered with UMESC to develop a portable, easy-to-use, one hour test for bighead and silver carp eDNA. The test is based on isothermal amplification of mitochondrial DNA markers unique to these two species and detects as little as 100 DNA copies with specificity against co-occurring species. eDNA samples are collected by filtration using a battery powered peristaltic pump. Further sample preparation is incorporated into the amplification step and no additional DNA extraction steps are required before introducing the sample to the test mix. It has been formatted for easy use in field conditions lacking access to electrical power or specialized equipment. The test provides actionable results to users with very limited training or experience performing and interpreting molecular tests. The test is formatted for stable storage at room temperature, eliminating the need for cold chain storage and handling and uses available battery-powered instruments that provide simple positive/negative answers in the field to the minimally trained user and log data for detailed analysis at a later date by experts. Performance data from lab studies will be provided.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST
Pantlind

10:00am EST

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: State of The Science of Fish Age and Growth
AUTHORS: Michael J. Hansen*, USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station; Nancy A. Nate, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Fishery research and management rely on reliable age and growth information to estimate growth and survival, and to evaluate how populations respond to management actions. This keynote address introduces key subjects related to the science of fish age and growth, including: preparation of calcified structures; interpretation of prepared structures; techniques to deal with bias in age estimation (quality control, accuracy, and precision); development of age and growth programs; age estimation of novel species; tools to analyze and interpret age data; and use of age data to develop growth models and inform management of fish populations. We first address why age and growth information is important for fishery management, and how biased age and growth estimates lead to misdiagnosis of fish stock health and resulting management prescriptions. We then review basic principles of age and growth estimation. Next, we illustrate how size-selective sampling, a common feature of fishery assessment programs, induces bias in age and growth estimates. Next, we review how sub-sampling strategies can be implemented to maximize usefulness of age and growth estimates, while simultaneously minimizing sub-sampling bias. Last, we review how to address accuracy and precision of age-estimation programs as a quality assurance system for any age estimation program. We conclude with a review of major issues that continue to challenge accurate and precise estimation of fish age and growth.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:40am EST
Emerald A

10:20am EST

A Pre-Restoration Spawning Assessment of Saginaw Bay Reef Habitat
AUTHORS: Nick Kalejs*, Purdue University; Tomas Höök, Purdue University; Mitchell Zischke, Purdue University; Jay Beugly, Purdue University; Edward Roseman, Great Lakes Science Center, United States Geological Survey; Robert Hunter, Great Lakes Science Center, United States Geological Survey; David Fielder, Alpena Fisheries Research Station, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Saginaw Bay is a shallow, nutrient rich embayment in Lake Huron that supports species-rich and abundant fish communities. Historically, Saginaw Bay had a complex network of rocky reefs that were used as preferred spawning and nursery habitats for a variety of fish species, including walleye Sander vitreus and lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis. These rocky reefs likely provided a number of benefits to spawners including protection from egg predation. Decades of land-use related sedimentation caused many of these reefs to be lost or severely diminished in size. In recent years, with seemingly decreased sedimentation, there has been increased momentum towards reef restoration in Saginaw Bay and reestablishment of the bay’s traditional spawning habitat diversity. The purpose of this study was to analyze current spawning regimes of two key Great Lakes fish species (walleye and lake whitefish) to ascertain whether reef restoration would provide suitable spawning habitat likely to be used by these species. To accomplish this, we evaluated four sites with different levels of reef degradation. We evaluated environmental conditions, abundances of actively spawning fish, egg deposition, and egg predation. Halfway through the two-year study, we have documented actively spawning walleye and lake whitefish and egg deposition at multiple sites, suggesting that some individuals would be able to take advantage of future improved reef spawning habitat. However, spawner and egg densities were very low and various fishes were documented to prey on both walleye and whitefish eggs. We suggest that reef restoration may provide better protection from these egg predators and attract additional fish to spawn.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Gerald Ford

10:20am EST

Channel Catfish Relative Weight (Wr) Within and Between River Basins in Western South Dakota
AUTHORS: Erin Peterson*, South Dakota State University Department of Natural Resource Management; Stephen Jones, South Dakota State University Department of Natural Resource Management; Nels H. Troelstrup, Jr., South Dakota State University Department of Natural Resource Management; Katie N. Bertrand, South Dakota State University Department of Natural Resource Management; Brian Graeb, South Dakota State University Department of Natural Resource Management

ABSTRACT: The channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus is the most widespread sportfish in western South Dakota. Catfish condition is therefore important to managers and anglers. Channel catfish were collected from 11 sites on three western South Dakota rivers during the summer of 2015 as part of a large-scale diet study. Sites represented lower, middle, and upper reaches of each river. Overall condition (relative weight, Wr) was recorded from each fish over 280 mm total length (TL) collected in the Grande, Moreau, and White River basins. Mean condition was compared between basins and longitudinally within basins. We observed a significant interaction effect of basin and position using a two-way ANOVA (p=0.0005). Orthogonal contrasts revealed no significant differences in mean Wr between the three basins. There were also no significant longitudinal differences within the Grande River. However, within the Moreau River the mean Wr of the middle sites (mean Wr = 94.8) was higher than that of the lower and upper sites (mean Wr = 81.1 and 82.0, respectively). The lower site on the White River had a mean Wr of 71.8, which was significantly lower than the mean Wr of the middle and upper sites (mean Wr = 93.7 and 89.4, respectively). Based on these results, longitudinal position of sites has a greater effect on catfish condition than basin, though the effect is different in each basin. Additional sites will be sampled on these three rivers in 2016, as well as sites on the Cheyenne and Bad Rivers in the same region. The invertebrate community is also being quantified at each site where catfish were collected, and that community data will be compared to the invertebrate gut contents of the catfish to determine if the invertebrate prey base is related to catfish condition. These patterns can also be compared within and between basins.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Atrium

10:20am EST

Mortality Rates of Squirrels on Hunted and Non-Hunted Sites in Southeast Minnesota
AUTHORS: Ryan Tebo*, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Marrett Grund, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Although squirrels are commonly hunted throughout the United States, the effects of varying harvest rates on squirrel population densities and long-term yields are not well documented. The primary objective of our study is to compare mortality rates of squirrels from a wildlife management area where hunting is permitted and at a nearby park where hunting is prohibited. We captured gray and fox squirrels using live traps at Whitewater Wildlife Management Area and at Whitewater State Park during July-September 2015. At the onset of the 2015 squirrel hunting season, there were 43 radiocollared squirrels at the wildlife management area and 40 radiocollared squirrels at the park. The survival status will be determined weekly and survival data will be compared between sites using a nest survival model in Program Mark. We intend to capture another 100 squirrels in 2016 and monitor radiocollared squirrels through May 2017. We will present capture techniques and data that depict mortality patterns from the beginning of the hunting season through December 2015. We anticipate the results from this study will help us define an appropriate harvest strategy for squirrels in southeast Minnesota.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Governors

10:20am EST

Potential Impacts of Changing Winter Conditions During The 21st Century on The Migratory Behavior of Dabbling Ducks In Eastern North America
AUTHORS: Michael Notaro*, Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Michael Schummer, State University of New York at Oswego; Lena Vanden Elsen, University of Western Ontario, Long Point Waterfowl; John Coluccy, Ducks Unlimited

ABSTRACT: Potential changes in the migratory behavior of seven species of dabbling ducks across eastern North America are explored for the mid- and late 21st century. For each species, observational data is used to develop empirical relationships between changes in duck abundance and cumulative winter severity, consisting of measures of mean temperature, duration of below-freezing temperatures, mean snow depth, and duration of present snowpack. These relationships reflect the impact of winter temperatures on the ducks’ energy expenditure and the impact of the presence of snowpack and lake ice on food availability. Future projections of winter severity are developed by dynamically downscaling a set of six global climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase Five using a high-resolution regional climate model, interactively coupled to a lake model to represent the Laurentian Great Lakes. This approach leads to credible climate projections for the Great Lakes Basin by simulating the impact of changing lake temperatures, ice cover, and evaporation on lake-effect snow. The debiased climate model output is used to derive projections of winter severity for the mid- and late 21st century and resulting affects on duck population and timing of migration. The expected dramatic changes in duck migratory behavior will greatly impact the hunting and tourism industries and natural resources in the Great Lakes.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Vandenberg A

10:20am EST

Current State of Michigan Crayfishes
AUTHORS: Kelley Smith*, Michigan State University; Daniel Hayes, Michigan State University; Seth Herbst, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Michael Jones, Michigan State University; Nicholas Popoff, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Brian Roth, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Crayfish are critical components of freshwater ecosystems. In many locations, crayfish comprise more biomass than all other benthic invertebrates combined. However, crayfish are often understudied, and we often lack basic information regarding species composition and distributions. This is particularly true in Michigan. The last comprehensive survey for Michigan crayfish took place in 1975. Since this time, many non-native species, including the rusty crayfish Orconectes rusticus, have been introduced into the Great Lakes region that could alter crayfish communities across the state. Further, documenting crayfish species composition and distributions in Michigan is becoming increasingly critical due to the imminent invasion of the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has implemented legislation to help discourage the introduction of invasive crayfishes, but the lack of recent surveys prevents the determination of whether any non-native crayfish, other than rusty crayfish, are already established in the state. We designed and implemented a stratified random survey of streams in Michigan’s lower peninsula to assess the presence and distribution of native and non-native crayfish species, as well as document any expansion of the range of the rusty crayfish. Our results indicated that the distribution of most crayfish species appears stable, while others have expanded their range, including the native digger crayfish Fallicambarus fodiens, white-river crayfish Procambarus acutus, and the invasive rusty crayfish. Although no red swamp crayfish were discovered in Michigan, our survey will aid in the development of risk assessment models to evaluate possible introduction sites.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Ambassador E

10:20am EST

Enhancing The Success of Streamside Culture For Lake Sturgeon
AUTHORS: John Bauman*, Michigan State University Fisheries and Wildlife Department; Dr. Edward Baker, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division; Dr. Kim Scribner, Michigan State University Fisheries and Wildlife Department and Zoology Department; Dr. Terry Marsh, Michigan State University Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Department

ABSTRACT: Streamside hatchery facilities, which expose cultured eggs and young fish to beneficial cues believed to be associated with imprinting, are a preferred culture technique for lake sturgeon rehabilitation in the Great Lakes region. There are currently seven streamside facilities raising and stocking lake sturgeon in the Great Lakes. These facilities are managed by five different agencies and have been in operation for nearly a decade. However, production from streamside facilities has been inconsistent producing variable and below-target results which has prompted managers to identify temporal sources of mortality and reevaluate current rearing techniques. Significant mortality (>70%) is documented to occur during early life periods, namely the free-embryo and larval periods. In spring 2013, we utilized multiple full-sibling families reared in 3.0 L aquaria to quantify the effect of density and feeding intervals on the growth and survivorship of newly-hatched lake sturgeon in a streamside facility. Based on results from this study, recommendations we provide to Great Lakes streamside facility managers will standardize current rearing and feeding procedures, improve growth and survival, and help streamside facility operators meet stocking targets.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Emerald B

10:20am EST

Beliefs, Attitudes, and Behaviors Toward Conservation and Gulf Hypoxia Among Illinois Agriculture Producers
AUTHORS: Craig A. Miller*, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois Jerry J. Vaske, Colorado State University Laura Schweizer, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois

ABSTRACT: Nutrient loads from agricultural operations throughout the Midwest drain from the Mississippi River to contribute to Gulf Hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The Eastern Tallgrass Prairie/Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative funded a study to examine agricultural producers’ perceptions of and attitudes toward this issue and conservation practices to remedy it. We conducted a mail survey of 3,000 agriculture producers proportionately stratified by enrollment in the U.S.D.A. Conservation Reserve Program and received a 36% response. The eight page questionnaire focused on motives for participating in conservation programs, attitudes toward conservation, and conservation practices (behaviors). Special emphasis was given to attitudes and behaviors related to nutrient reduction to reduce Gulf Hypoxia. In terms of responsible conservation behavior, a majority (89.7%) of respondents agreed to the statement “It is my responsibility to decrease fertilizer runoff into streams” and 71% agreed to the statement that “It is my responsibility to protect water quality in the Gulf of Mexico.” Most respondents (84%) felt farmers were doing their part to protect water quality, 90% believed their personal farming practices improved local water quality, 71% agreed their practices improved water quality in the Gulf of Mexico. A majority respondents (78%) agreed that conservation tillage on their farms would increase water quality, 86% believed that if more farmers practiced conservation tillage water quality would improve, and 90% agreed they had a responsibility to improve water quality through their farm management. Such expressed beliefs did not correspond to behaviors. A minority (39.5%) of farmers in our study participated in the Conservation Reserve Program, and of those 5% did not plan to renew their contracts. Minorities implemented stream buffers (21%), filter strips (31%), and contour grass strips (10%). This presentation will explore relationships between these and other stated beliefs and attitudes toward conservation and behaviors.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Ambassador W

10:20am EST

Cross-Border Great Lakes Fishery Management: An Evolution of Cooperation
AUTHORS: Marc Gaden*, Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Robert Lambe, Great Lakes Fishery Commission

ABSTRACT: In 2015, the Great Lakes fishery management community celebrated a monumental anniversary: fifty years of lake committees. Lake committees are multijurisdictional bodies, comprising senior fishery managers from each of the provincial, state, and US tribal authorities on the Great Lakes. The lake committees, which first met in 1965, serve as permanent, strategic mechanisms through which the fishery managers cooperate. The binational Great Lakes Fishery Commission maintains the lake committee process. Nothing compels managers from one agency to cooperate with managers from other agencies. Prior to the formation of lake committees, the myriad management agencies made little effort to cooperate and, in fact, often instituted fishery policies that worked at cross purposes. With the formation of lake committees, fishery managers, for the first time, had a place to share information and understand each other’s actions. In 1981, after the “environmental decade” that was the 1970s, the lake committees became more strategic with the adoption of A Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries, a non-binding agreement. The Joint Strategic Plan called upon lake committee members to identify their shared objectives, develop plans to achieve those objectives, and pledge to implement those objectives back in their home jurisdiction. This presentation will present a history of Great Lakes fishery management; describe the management chaos that existed prior to the formation of lake committees; discuss the factors leading to the permanent process for collaboration; and reflect on the significance of the highly collaborative, much distinguished, Great Lakes fishery management regime.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Pearl

10:20am EST

Turning Data Acquired Into Information Desired Using Freshwater Mussel Projects In Illinois
AUTHORS: Alison P. Stodola, INHS; Douglass, Sarah A., INHS; Tiemann, J.S., INHS; Stodola, Kirk W., INHS

ABSTRACT: Freshwater mussels are among the most imperiled organisms in the world, and many agencies are tasked with protecting the remaining populations. Managers are often required to make informed decisions based on metrics like population size, recruitment, or density, yet robust estimates of these values are difficult to attain, especially for large areas. We recently provided the Illinois Department of Natural Resources with a status update for 67 species for the Wildlife Action Plan and were faced with the common scenario of turning field data into meaningful information. We discuss the challenges associated with this update and ways we have attempted to counter these challenges, using several projects we have initiated in Illinois as demonstration. Specifically, we discuss the value of mark-recapture designs and other statistical modeling techniques that can be used to acknowledge and incorporate uncertainty into the population metrics managers use to make decisions.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Vandenberg B

10:20am EST

Minimizing Eastern Massasauga Management-Based Mortality with a Predictive Egress Phenology Model
AUTHORS: Eric T. Hileman, Northern Illinois University; Richard B. King*, Northern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: The eastern massasauga Sistrurus catenatus is endemic to the Great Lakes region and is considered threatened or endangered range-wide except for Michigan, where it is a species of special concern. In 2015, it was proposed for listing as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Current eastern massasaugas land management practices require periodic burning or mowing to maintain habitat suitability and halt succession. Unfortunately, these practices are known to cause snake mortality when conducted during the active season. To address this, we deployed on‐site weather stations at seven eastern massasauga study sites in IA, IL, OH (2 sites), and MI (3 sites). Weather stations logged hourly air (at 1.5 M) and soil temperature (at depths of 10, 30, 60, and 100 cm). We identified dates of spring emergence using a combination of intensive visual searches, radio telemetry, and camera traps. These data were used to validate a predictive egress phenology model and clarify geographic patterns of variation in the timing of eastern massasauga emergence. This model has the potential to predict when prescribed fire or ground-disturbing management activities are least likely to cause direct snake mortality.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Imperial

10:20am EST

Detecting Aquatic Invasive Species Among Transported Fish Using A LAMP Assay and a Portable Instrument
AUTHORS: Christopher M. Merkes, U.S. Geological Survey; Craig A. Jackson, U.S. Geological Survey; and Jon J. Amberg, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Aquatic invasive species can cause significant environmental and economic damage to ecosystems. Preventing their spread is imperative to successful integrated pest management efforts. Harvesting and transporting baitfish is one potential pathway invasive fishes can spread. Because shipments of baitfish are often transported great distances from where they were collected, there is a risk of transporting non-indigenous aquatic species into new areas. Baitfish are typically small minnow species of the family Cyprinidae and are transported by the thousands. It is virtually impossible to visually detect and completely remove similarly sized individuals of unwanted species from the hauling tanks. Environmental DNA detection techniques can be used to screen for the presence of unwanted species in the transport tanks. The most current eDNA methods require specialized laboratories and equipment and lack the efficiency to be feasible for this application. In partnership with private industry, we have developed a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay that can be used with a portable instrument to irrefutably detect environmental DNA of bigheaded carps (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix and H. nobilis) in water. The process has been simplified so that individuals without previous experience in genetics or molecular laboratory techniques can perform the test with minimal training and have accurate results within an hour. This rapid eDNA-based detection technology will provide resource managers and fish haulers near real-time data that will greatly reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species through the transport of baitfish.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Pantlind

10:40am EST

Use of Low-Cost Sonar To Assess Reef Habitat In Saginaw Bay and The St. Clair – Detroit River System, Michigan
AUTHORS: Todd Wills*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Michael Thomas, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; David Fielder, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Ryan Carrow, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Fisheries managers believe that the recovery of native fish species throughout the Great Lakes and their connecting channels is often limited by the loss of spawning habitat resulting from anthropogenic disturbances such as sedimentation, channelization, gravel mining, and shoreline development. Recently, substantial resources have been invested in an effort to enhance reproduction and increase resilience of native fish populations by creating habitat that mimics the natural reefs once present throughout the basin. The novel nature of this habitat enhancement work in large rivers and embayments, combined with the dynamic nature of such systems, makes pre- and post-construction assessment of reef sites a necessity to guide fisheries management efforts and determine project success. However, the large spatial scale and physical characteristics inherent to many of these waters precludes the use of traditional habitat assessment techniques and makes such follow-up monitoring a challenge. We present an assessment method to quantify status and trends in substrate conditions before and after reef construction using a combination of low-cost sonar, habitat mapping software, and a Geographic Information System. Our technique for rapidly generating side-scan sonar imagery and documenting bathymetry and bottom hardness has shown potential for short- and long-term assessment of reef sites in Michigan’s St. Clair River and Saginaw Bay and has been used for post-construction monitoring of reefs in the Detroit River. The utility of this technique holds promise for similar reef construction projects in nearshore waters across the Great Lakes.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Gerald Ford

10:40am EST

Genetic Population Structure and Genetic Diversity of Adult Channel Ictalurus Punctatus and Blue I. Furcatus Catfish in Two Large Midwestern Rivers
AUTHORS: V. Alex Sotola*, Eastern Illinois University; Aaron Schrey, Armstrong State University; Eric Bollinger, Eastern Illinois University; Les Frankland, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Gregory W. Whitledge, Southern Illinois University; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: For sportfishes in large rivers, little information is currently available regarding their genetic population structure which can be vital to continuing the sustainable exploitation of these fisheries. In Illinois, channel and blue catfish are two of the most important commercial and recreational fisheries in large rivers; therefore, understanding and assessing their genetic population structure and diversity should be of utmost importance for managers. We screened ten microsatellite loci to assess the genetic population structure and diversity of channel catfish from four sites on the Wabash River and four sites on the Ohio River. We also screened blue catfish from two sites on the Wabash River and four sites on the Ohio River. We characterized the genetic population structure and diversity for both species. Of note, there is a lock and dam between two of the Ohio River sites. Significant differentiation (p = 0.008) was found between the northern and southern sites on the Wabash Rivers for channel catfish. We will use the pattern of genetic differentiation and diversity to infer population structure with a specific focus on assessing the difference between a free flowing system and an impounded system on gene flow. Additionally, we will compare estimates of genetic diversity among sites and rivers. The presence of genetic differentiation may provide vital information for managing these commercially and recreationally exploited species.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Atrium

10:40am EST

(CANCELLED) Conservation In Context: Does The Public Support Killing In The Name of Conservation?
AUTHORS: Michelle L. Lute* and Shahzeen Z. Attari

NOTE: THIS TALK HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Governors

10:40am EST

Precision and Bias of Largemouth Bass Ages Estimated From Scales and Otoliths
AUTHORS: Stephen M. Tyszko*, Ohio Division of Wildlife; Jeremy J. Pritt, Ohio Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Accurate age and growth information is essential to effective fisheries management, yet biases and precision of methods used to estimate Largemouth Bass age are not fully understood. Although counting annuli on sectioned sagittal otoliths has been validated as an accurate method of age estimation for largemouth bass, scales continue to be used without a full understanding of the bias involved and how it can impact management. We collected 1,911 largemouth bass from 17 reservoirs across Ohio during spring in 2013 and 2014 to compare precision of age estimates from scales and otoliths among three readers, and evaluate age-specific bias of age estimates derived from scales. Mean average coefficient of variation (ACV) was 7.9 for otolith age estimates and 53.4 for scale age estimates. It was apparent that age estimates from a few inexperienced personnel contributed considerably to this variation. When only considering age estimates made by experienced personnel (973 largemouth bass), ACV was 1.5 for otolith age estimates and 53.1 for scale age estimates. We analyzed data from experienced readers with an age-bias plot and fitted a non-linear mixed model to test for an aging structure effect on von Bertalanffy model parameter estimates. Age estimates derived from scales were biased high for ages ≤ 4 and were biased low for ages ≥ 7, and aging structure had a significant effect on von Bertalanffy model parameter estimates where K was overestimated an L¥ was underestimated. Scales provide imprecise and biased age and growth information for largemouth bass which reduces the overall power to compare populations. We recommend using otoliths to estimates largemouth bass age and stress the importance of properly trained personnel.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Emerald A

10:40am EST

Prioritizing Brook Trout Restoration In The Wisconsin Lake Superior Basin
AUTHORS: Jason Ross*, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ashland FWCO; and Henry Quinlan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ashland FWCO

ABSTRACT: Restoration of fish populations can be often opportunistic and overlook the long-term impacts of climate change. Brook trout, a native species throughout the eastern United States, is sensitive to the small increases in atmospheric temperature due to climate change. Through efforts by the Wisconsin Lake Superior Landscape Restoration Partnership (Wisconsin LSLRP) brook trout team, we developed criteria to rank and prioritize brook trout restoration efforts in HUC 12 subwatersheds located in the Lake Superior basin of Wisconsin. Our criteria included climate change projections of future stream temperature status, current brook trout management priorities by the State, two Tribes, Lake Superior fish management agencies, and NGO’s, and a recently completed evaluation of brook trout population status and distribution. Future stream temperatures accounted for ~25% of the possible points used in ranking while management priorities accounted for ~50% and the current status and distribution of brook trout made up ~25%. We ranked 100 subwatersheds and selected the top 20 as priority brook trout conservation and restoration areas. Federal agencies including the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service and the DOI U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are allocating funds to this effort. Next steps include identification of specific project areas which will occur through outreach to local landowners. Focusing restoration in priority areas with considerations of future changes in climate is integral to the sustainability of brook trout and other cold water fish species.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Vandenberg A

10:40am EST

Comparison of The Effects of Dreissenid Mussels on Native Virile Crayfish and Invasive Rusty Crayfish In Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: Mael Glon*, Central Michigan University; Larson, E. R, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Reisinger, L. S. , Pangle, K. L. - Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: The Lake Michigan ecosystem has been dramatically altered by invasive species in the last several decades. Amongst these invaders, dreissenid mussels Dreissena polymorpha and D. rostriformis bugensis have been particularly large drivers of change, and research has suggested that these mussels may be facilitating the establishment of subsequent invasive species (i.e., invasional meltdown). The virile crayfish Orconectes virilis is native to the Great Lakes and has recently faced increased competition from and has widely been displaced by the invasive rusty crayfish Orconectes rusticus native to the Ohio River Drainage and introduced by bait bucket releases. Using a 30-day mesocosm experiment, we tested the hypothesis that rusty crayfish benefit more than virile crayfish from the presence of dreissenid mussels, and assessed if this effect is mediated by crayfish density. We also made behavioral observations to determine how mussel absence/presence and crayfish density affect habitat usage. We found that both species of crayfish grew more in the presence of mussels, and that growth of both species was higher at low densities. Overall, however, rusty crayfish grew and therefore benefited more from the presence of dreissenid mussels than virile crayfish. We also found that both species of crayfish were more active in the presence of mussels, with rusty crayfish being more active than virile crayfish in all cases. These results suggest that invasive mussels are disproportionately benefiting invasive rusty crayfish over native virile crayfish in Lake Michigan, which may be evidence of an invasional meltdown. Our study brings attention to the synergistic effects that benthic invasive species are having on Lake Michigan and will inform future studies on biological invasions and management efforts.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Ambassador E

10:40am EST

Estimation of Cohort-Specific First Year Survival and Evaluation of Lake Sturgeon Stocking In Black Lake, Michigan
AUTHORS: Edward A Baker*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Kim T. Scribner, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Stocking is increasingly being employed to rehabilitate and restore lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens populations around the Great Lakes and elsewhere. However, there is little information available to guide stocking decisions such as the appropriate number or age/size of fish to stock, post-stocking survival, etc. As part of ongoing evaluations of a long-term lake sturgeon restoration stocking program in Black Lake, Michigan, we conducted a gillnet survey in 2013 and employed a multiple-mark multiple-recapture population abundance estimator. We collected demographic data and determined fish age based on the presence and location of coded wire tags and pectoral fin-ray cross sections. We determined year-class specific abundance, overall survival from the year of stocking to 2013 for six cohorts, and year-class specific survival from age-0 to age-1 of stocked fish based on the known number stocked and compositional age estimates of the survey catch. Survival from year of stocking to 2013 ranged from 0.03-0.53 across the cohorts sampled. Assuming constant survival for age-1 and older fish, post-stocking survival from age-0 to age-1 ranged from 0.05-0.84 and increased with increasing size of fish at stocking. Based on stocked fish abundance and survival estimates, annual stocking targets for the Black Lake population were established to meet long-term management goals for adult abundance.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Emerald B

10:40am EST

Bridging The Conservation Lands – Working Lands Divide with a Cost-Effective Strategy to Enhance Ecosystem Services
AUTHORS: J. Gordon Arbuckle, Iowa State University; Pauline Drobney, US Fish and Wildlife, Mary A. Harris, Iowa State University; Matthew J. Helmers, Iowa State University; Randall K. Kolka, US Forest Service; Matt Liebman, Iowa State University; Matthew E. O'Neal, Iowa State University; Lisa A. Schulte, Iowa State University; John C. Tyndall*, Iowa State University

ABSTRACT: With much of the U.S. Midwest in agricultural production and under private ownership, any viable conservation practice must fit within the context of currently profitable production systems. We study the ability of strategically integrated “prairie strips”—contour buffer and filter strips composed of diverse, native, perennial plants—to achieve this. We hypothesized that the conversion of small amounts of row-cropped watersheds to native prairie can provide environmental quality and conservation benefits that are disproportionately greater than expected based on the land area converted. We have been testing this hypothesis since 2007 within a replicated watershed experiment at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in central Iowa, USA. Thus far, we have found that prairie strips comprising 10-20% of no-till corn-bean agricultural catchments reduce sediment transport by 95%, total phosphorus and nitrogen transport by 90%, and surface water flow by 60% compared to catchments entirely in no-till corn-bean agriculture. These results are consistent across a range of weather conditions, including high-rainfall and drought years. Prairie strips also provide habitat for native plants, insect pollinators and natural enemies, and birds, including some species of greatest conservation need. Depending upon total area covered by strips relative to the whole field, the annualized costs of using prairie strips can be as little as $59 to $87 per treated ha/yr. Under a 15-year Conservation Reserve Program contract, total annual cost to farmers would be reduced by over 85%, and affordable compared to other common conservation practices, such as terraces and wetlands. We also share insights from implementing prairie strips on privately owned farms. In sum, prairie strips offer a way to efficiently meet multiple conservation goals through easy and flexible incorporation into existing farming systems; hence, an effective means of bridging the conservation lands - working lands divide. (Learn more about the project: https://www.nrem.iastate.edu/research/STRIPs/)

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Ambassador W

10:40am EST

Fish and Aquatic Conservation By The USFWS-Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office In Michigan Waters
AUTHORS: Scott Koproski

ABSTRACT: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) – Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (Alpena FWCO) was established in 1992 by the Great Lake Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act. The role of the Alpena FWCO is to deliver the Service’s Fish and Aquatic Conservation program in Lake Huron, the western basin of Lake Erie, and the connecting channels of the St. Marys River and the St. Clair River-Detroit River corridor. Since inception, the Alpena FWCO has been working closely with our state, federal, tribal, and non-governmental partners to conserve aquatic species, protect, restore, and enhance aquatic habitats, and implement an early detection and monitoring program for aquatic invasive species in Michigan waters of Lakes Huron and Erie.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Pearl

10:40am EST

Predicting Habitat Suitability For Michigan’s Imperiled Mussels
AUTHORS: Wesley M. Daniel*, Michigan State University; Arthur Cooper , Michigan State University; Pete Badra, Michigan State University Extension; Dana M. Infante, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: In Michigan, 28 of 45 unionid species are considered endangered, threatened, or of special concern. To aid in management of these unionid species, distributions of ten state listed/special concern species and one federally listed endangered species (Epioblasma triquetra) were modeled using ecological parameters necessary to characterize habitat suitability within the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. Habitat suitability values were proportional to likelihood of occurrence. Mussel data were provided by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory unionid assemblage surveys and Natural Heritage Database and reflected site occurrences from 1990-2012. We utilized Maximum Entropy Modeling (MaxEnt) that employed natural and anthropogenic landscape and habitat variables including measures indicating land cover, river fragmentation by dams, streamflow variables, and water temperature. Because host fishes are also important determinants of mussel distributions, host fish distributions were also modeled with MaxEnt with the same set of landscape and habitat variables, with results integrated into mussel models. Models predicted that between 1,274 to 11,205 km of stream would be broadly suitable for occurrence of the 11 modeled uniond species. Highly suitable habitat icluded between 330 to 3,241 km of stream reaches. Natural variables were the strongest indicators of suitable habitat for all species, but E. triquetra that had strong influences from dams and agricultural land uses. The top four variables determining suitable habitat for unionids include stream discharge (QA50), host fish habitat suitability, urban land use, and upstream dam density. The evaluation of all eleven models of suitable habitats can provide information on best available habitat in the state for multiple listed species. The combination of modeled unionid distributions along with the statewide important ecological parameters can allow for more informed decisions in conservation planning and management of Michigan’s listed unionids.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Vandenberg B

10:40am EST

The Proposed Rule To List The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Sistrurus Catenatus as a Federally Threatened Species
AUTHORS: Michael Redmer

ABSTRACT: The eastern massasauga rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus (EMR) is a small North American pit viper with a broad distribution centered primarily in the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest region. Within its historic distribution in the United States, the EMR is listed as an endangered species in the nine states, special concern in one, and in Canada populations in western Ontario are considered threatened, and populations in eastern Canada are considered endangered. The EMR became a candidate for Federal listing as a federally threatened or endangered species in 1999. On September 30, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposed rule to list the EMR as a federally threatened species. I will provide background information used in developing the proposal.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Imperial

10:40am EST

Environmental DNA (Edna) and Invasive Silver Carp Hypophthalmichthys Molitrix: Detection of Spawning In The Missouri River
AUTHORS: Cari-Ann Hayer, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center; Katy Klymus, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Missouri ; Nathan Thompson, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center; Craig Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Missouri; Duane Chapman, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center; Catherine A. Richter*, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center

ABSTRACT: The Missouri and Mississippi River systems have been invaded by two species of Asian bigheaded carps, the silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix and the bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis and thus, efforts are currently focused on protecting the Great Lakes watershed from these invasive species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) technology can aid management decisions by providing early detection of presence, information on population locations and habitat use, and estimation of biomass and timing and location of spawning events. We monitored silver carp eDNA concentrations at a single location on the Missouri River throughout the spring spawning season (April – June) in 2014. We compared the time course of eDNA concentration with the river hydrograph and with numbers and stages of eggs and larvae collected in parallel with eDNA samples. We hypothesized that when spawning was triggered by a spring increase in water flow, eDNA concentrations would increase due to the release of milt. During the pre-spawning period in April and May, eDNA concentrations were on the order of 1,000 copies/L. In early June we observed a 4-fold rise in the hydrograph, and a concurrent series of spikes in eDNA concentration, up to 10-fold greater than the pre-spawning level. This study confirms that eDNA monitoring can detect spawning events and illustrates the need for repeated sampling over time to detect spawning. In situations where the target species is very uncommon, for example in a newly invaded area, the large increase in eDNA concentration during spawning represents an opportunity to detect populations that would otherwise be below detection limits.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Pantlind

10:40am EST

Wild Jobs Café
Students – Be sure to stop by the Wild Jobs Café on Monday and Tuesday anytime between 10:40 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Interact with potential employers, meet students and professionals within your area of interest, and get expert advice. Come often and stay as long as you’d like. Ongoing through the day on Monday and Tuesday, members of the Wild Jobs Cafe Subcommittee will be available for one-on-one discussions. Daily door prizes will also be awarded! Additionally, check out these specific offerings on Monday:
  • 10:40 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Job Panel
  • 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Grad School Panel
  • 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Interview Skills
  • 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Resume Writing
Professionals – Be sure to stop by and share your expertise as well as job or grad school opportunities!

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:40am - 4:00pm EST
Grandview A & B

11:00am EST

Effectiveness of Critical Lake Trout and Coregonid Reef Spawning Habitat Restoration In Northern Lake Michigan: Mitigating Environmental and Invasive Egg Predator Impacts (Part 1)
AUTHORS: Randall M. Claramunt*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Eric J. Calabro, Central Michigan University; Matthew E. Herbert, The Nature Conservancy; Tracy L. Galarowicz, Central Michigan University; W. Lindsay Chadderton, The Nature Conservancy; Andrew J. Tucker, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: High-quality nearshore spawning reefs are a rare, critical habitat in Lake Michigan. Anthropogenic impacts, including the introduction of invasive species like round goby Neogobius melanostomus and rusty crayfish Orconectes rusticus, have degraded many nearshore reef habitats, threatening three species that utilize them for spawning: lake trout Salvelinus namaycush, lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis, and cisco C. artedi. In part 1 of a two part presentation, we summarize the impacts of invasive species on native fish spawning reefs and report on failed attempts at controlling invasive species on small patches of reef spawning habitat. Invasive species control included manual trapping, electrofishing, and application of a seismic gun to eradicate invasive egg predators. Even though control efforts were not successful in reducing the abundance of round goby and rusty crayfish, there was substantial variation in the survival of native fish eggs relative to the quality of the spawning substrate. We provide a case history at a reef complex near Elk Rapids, Grand Traverse Bay, which is the only known spawning reef complex used by cisco in Lake Michigan. The Elk Rapids reef complex is also used by lake trout and lake whitefish. The Elk Rapids reef complex has a variation of habitat quality including extremely high quality habitat that produces optimal egg survival even with high densities of invasive egg predators. However, the complex also includes a poor habitat quality area which is the result of historic iron dock operation leading to very low egg survival. In part 2 of the presentation, we will summarize restoration of reef habitat quality as an indirect approach to mitigating for invasive species impacts.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Gerald Ford

11:00am EST

Movement of Large Blue and Flathead Catfish in the Ohio River
AUTHORS: Jeremy Pritt*, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife; Richard Zweifel, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife; Justin Walters, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Matt Hangsleben; Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Catfish angling has increased in popularity and large river systems offer opportunities for catching trophy-sized blue and flathead catfish. However, large rivers are often multi-jurisdictional and fragmented by dams that may be barriers to fish migration, complicating management of catfish. We used acoustic telemetry and angler reports of Carlin-tagged fish to determine the spatial extent of movement of blue and flathead catfish and quantify among-pool movements (i.e., passage through dams) in the Ohio portion of the Ohio River. Beginning in fall 2014, we implanted 40 blue catfish and 21 flathead catfish, captured in the Meldahl Pool, with acoustic transmitters and external Carlin tags. We tagged an additional 24 blue catfish and 19 flathead catfish with Carlin tags only. We used a fixed receiver array and angler reports to monitor fish movement. During fall 2014 to summer of 2015, we observed two blue catfish moving downstream past the Meldahl Dam, with one of these individuals returning to make an upstream passage through the Meldahl Dam. In addition, one flathead catfish was observed to make an upstream passage through the Greenup Dam. Blue and flathead catfish regularly made long-distance movements (>25 km) in relatively short time periods (

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Atrium

11:00am EST

Precision and Bias of Cleithra and Sagittal Otoliths Used To Estimate Ages of Northern Pike
AUTHORS: Matthew Faust, Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Jason Breeggemann, South Dakota State University; Brian Graeb, South Dakota State University; Samantha Bahr, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Cleithra are thought to accurately record age information and produce the most reliable age estimates relative to other calcified structures (e.g., scales) for long-lived species of Esocidae such as muskellunge Esox masquinongy and northern pike E. lucius. Sagittal otoliths provide the most accurate and precise age estimates for other fish species, yet sagittal otoliths have never been evaluated for age estimation of any species of Esocidae. Our objectives were to determine if: 1) sagittal otoliths provided more precise age estimates than cleithra for northern pike from two populations, and 2) sagittal otolith age estimates differed systematically from cleithrum age estimates for two populations of northern pike. Ages were estimated by three independent individuals with different experience levels from sagittal otoliths and cleithra collected from 66 northern pike (32–101 cm total length) from Devils Lake, North Dakota and 45 northern pike (27–52 cm total length) from Cable Lake, Wisconsin. Cleithrum age estimates were more precise than those from sagittal otoliths for northern pike from Devils Lake, and were similar to sagittal otolith age estimates for northern pike from Cable Lake. Sagittal otolith age estimates were similar to cleithrum age estimates for northern pike from Devils Lake, but were dissimilar for northern pike from Cable Lake. We recommend using cleithra for estimating age of northern pike given that no specialized equipment is required for processing and age estimation. However, other studies are needed to further investigate the use of sagittal otoliths to estimate age of northern pike.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Emerald A

11:00am EST

An Assessment of Potential Changes In Habitat Classes Due To Climate Change In The Northeast Climate Science Center Region
AUTHORS: Nicholas A. Sievert*, University of Missouri; Yin-Phan Tsang, University of Hawaii; Wesley M. Daniel, Michigan State University; Craig P. Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Dana Infante, Michigan State University; Joanna Whittier, University of Missouri; Kyle Herreman, Michigan State University; Jana Stewart, USGS; Tyler Wagner, U.G. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Climate change is expected to alter the temperature and flow regimes of rivers and streams and many species of freshwater fish are likely to be impacted. In order to provide managers with a more complete picture of how streams are likely to change we developed a set of stream classes based on fish species which are sensitive to temperature and flow metrics. We used indicator analysis to identify species which had either a positive or negative response to a set of temperature and flow metrics calculated from USGS gage station data. We grouped species based on whether they had a positive or negative response to each of the temperature and flow metrics and then calculated the relative abundance of each of these species groups at all of our sites with fish data. Multivariate regression trees were used to create stream classes based on climate data and these species groups. This information was used to assign stream classes to all stream segments within the 22 state Northeast Climate Science Center region under both current and predicted future climate conditions. This allowed us to identify areas where streams are expected to shift from one class to another and also to quantify the net change in stream classes across the entire region. Our results will be presented in the FISTHTAIL online mapper which will allow managers, decision makers, and the public to view and download the results. We believe this information can aid in identifying important places for protection and restoration, as well as quantifying the magnitude of these impacts on fish communities throughout the northeastern and midwestern United States.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Vandenberg A

11:00am EST

Sea Lamprey Control In The Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Lynn Kanieski*, USFWS Marquette Biological Station, Sea Lamprey Control

ABSTRACT: The sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus is a destructive invasive species in the Great Lakes that contributed to the collapse of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush and other native species in the mid-20th century and continues to affect efforts to restore and rehabilitate the fish-community. Sea lampreys attach to large bodied fish and extract blood and body fluids. It is estimated that about half of sea lamprey attacks result in the death of their prey and an estimated 18 kg (40 lbs) of fish are killed by every sea lamprey that reaches adulthood. The Sea Lamprey Control Program (SLCP) is administered by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (Commission) and implemented by two control agents: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Department) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The SLCP is a critical component of fisheries management in the Great Lakes because it facilitates the rehabilitation of important fish stocks by significantly reducing sea lamprey-induced mortality. As part of A Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries, the lake committees developed fish-community objectives for each of the Great Lakes. The fish-community objectives include goals for the SLCP that, if achieved, should establish and maintain self-sustaining stocks of lake trout and other salmonines by minimizing sea lamprey impacts on these stocks. The SLCP uses an integrated approach of lampricides, barriers, and trapping to control sea lampreys, assesses the population at various life stages to plan and evaluate control efforts, and coordinates with partners to research and develop new alternatives and tactics.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Ambassador E

11:00am EST

Diet Overlap of Shovelnose Sturgeon and Pallid Sturgeon In The Upper Missouri and Lower Yellowstone River
AUTHORS: Addie Dutton, MT Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Montana State University-Department of Ecology; Christopher Guy, USGS MT Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Montana State University-Department of Ecology; Eric Scholl, Montana State University-Department of Ecology; Nate Beckman, Montana State University-Department of Ecology; Wyatt Cros, Montana State University-Department of Ecology

ABSTRACT: A conservation propagation program was implemented in the late 1990s for the federally endangered pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus because the species was not recruiting in the Missouri River. The conservation propagation program has been successful and several studies suggest that the survival of stocked pallid sturgeon in the Upper Missouri River is relatively high. The high survival of stocked fish has prompted the question of whether too many fish have been stocked. Thus, the purpose of this study was to describe the diets of pallid sturgeon and the closely related shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus in the Upper Missouri River, between Fort Peck Dam and Lake Sakakawea, and the Lower Yellowstone River, and subsequently use these data in a resource-allocation model. We compared the diets of pallid sturgeon varying from 297 mm to 1003 mm and shovelnose sturgeon varying from 209 mm to 853 mm. Chironomidae and Baetidae numerically dominated the diets of shovelnose sturgeon (n=100), while Chironomidae and Ephemerellidae were most abundant in pallid sturgeon diets (n=104). Given these similarities, diet overlap between the species was very high (Pianka = 0.99). No shovelnose sturgeon diets contained fish; however, 32 pallid sturgeon diets contained fish, where the smallest pallid sturgeon to consume fish was 350 mm. These data suggest that pallid sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon have very similar diets and that competition could be a concern if resources are limited.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Emerald B

11:00am EST

Quantifying The Effect of Floodplain-River Connectivity: Sediment, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon Removal Via Flooding on The Maquoketa River Floodplain, Iowa
AUTHORS: W.B. Richardson*, US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; G. Nalley, USGS Iowa Water Science Center; L. Bartsch, US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; R. Kreiling, US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; J. Garrett, USGS Iowa Water Science Center; S. Bailey, US Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

ABSTRACT: Ecosystem services provided by floodplains include removal of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments, and sequestration of carbon. Effectiveness of floodplains in providing these services is dependent on the extent and location of the connection between floodplain and river. Tributary loading of sediments, nitrogen, and phosphorus to the Upper Mississippi River contributes to the development of river and coastal eutrophication as well as hypoxic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. Recent research has shown that management of river connectivity of channels to floodplains is an effective mitigation strategy to remove nutrients, sediment, and carbon from rivers. Here, we measured deposition of nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon and sediment with clay marker horizons in a recently reconnected floodplain of the Maquoketa River, IA, near the confluence with the Mississippi River. We also measured ambient denitrification and potential denitrification on the floodplain prior to and after flooding, beginning in October 2014 and in March and May 2015. There was one inundation event during this period with relatively short duration (days). Load of nitrate was also estimated during the year beginning October 1, 2014. Total annual nitrate load was 8,450 Mg NO3--N and peak transport during the inundation event was 110 Mg/d (+/- 8.0% SE). On this 93 ha floodplain, 700 Mg sediment, 12.0 Mg carbon, 1.16 Mg nitrogen, and 0.51 Mg phosphorus were deposited over the study period. River derived N deposited on the floodplain represented ~0.015 percent of the annual N load, or ~0.39% of the event transport (3 days). Denitrification removed NO3--N ranged from 250 kg d-1 (March 2015) to 668 kg d-1 (October 2014). This study highlights the nutrient and sediment removal capacity of a single, relatively small connected floodplain – higher removal rates would result from larger floods of longer duration or larger breaks in surrounding levees. Nitrate loss via floodplain denitrification, while highly variable represents a permanent loss of nitrogen from this catchment.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Ambassador W

11:00am EST

Huron-Manistee National Forests Fisheries Program - Past and Future
AUTHORS: Andrea Ania

ABSTRACT: An overview of the history and future program direction of the Huron Manistee National Forests (HMNF) Fisheries Program will be presented. The U.S. Forest Service has supported numerous initiatives to improve aquatic resources within the forest’s watersheds, including Aquatic Organism Passage, stream bank stabilization, in-stream fish habitat improvement, and monitoring. The HMNF Fisheries Program is shaped by local issues, partnerships, available funding, and new directives.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Pearl

11:00am EST

Using Ecological Niche Modelling To Predict The Presence of Unionid Refuges After 25 Years of Dreissena Invasion In The Laurentian Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Jonathan M. Bossenbroek, University of Toledo; Lyubov E. Burlakova, SUNY Buffalo State; Todd. C. Crail, University of Toledo; Alexander Y. Karatayev, SUNY Buffalo State; Robert A. Krebs, Cleveland State University; David T. Zanatta, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: Unionid mussels are one of the most imperiled faunal groups in North America. Despite the presence of dreissenid mussels for 25 years, a few populations have been found in Lakes Erie and St. Clair. Key habitat characteristics that enable unionids to persist in dreissenid-infested lakes are uncertain, and there is limited knowledge of extant unionid communities within Lake Ontario. Thus, our goal was to predict undiscovered refugia in Lake Ontario, and to conduct surveys to test those predictions. Our objectives were to: 1) Use regional scale GIS data and the locations of Lake Erie unionid populations to create an ecological niche model that predicts locations in Lake Ontario that have a high probability of having unionid communities, and 2) Test model predictions by sampling high probability locations within Lake Ontario. The niche model consisted of a suite of environmental variables developed to assess near shore habitats of fish in Lake Erie. The three variables that had the highest contribution to the final niche model were bathymetry, fetch and shoreline geomorphology, of which the category ‘Semi-Protected Wetlands’ was the most important shoreline category. The niche model predicted that 0.8% of the near-shore habitat in Lake Ontario is good habitat for unionids, which was verified by comparison to survey results at 34 locations. Surveys of Lake Ontario found 1800 unionids of 11 species, from which we found a positive relationship between model predictions and the number of species at a location (p = 0.004, adj. r2 = 0.14). Thus, the use of an ecological niche model aided discovery of unionid refugia in the Great Lakes.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Vandenberg B

11:00am EST

Manipulation of Basking Sites For Endangered Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes in New York State
AUTHORS: Brent Johnson*, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; James Gibbs, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Thomas Bell, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

ABSTRACT: Generating open-canopy basking sites via manipulation of vegetative cover has been proposed as a conservation strategy for snakes and other reptiles. We assessed how endangered eastern massasauga rattlesnakes Sistrurus catenatus responded to two types of manipulations at a wetland site in New York, USA: (1) small-scale cutting of shrub cover within known gestation areas, and (2) large-scale clearing of tree and shrub cover within an adjacent forest. We found strong evidence for increased use of treatment plots by massasaugas within known gestation areas, but we detected no increase in massasauga activity within the adjacent forest clearing. The effectiveness of vegetation cutting appeared to decline after 3 years due to vegetation re-growth. This study suggests that cutting shrubs to ≤0.25-m height can benefit this and other populations of endangered snakes facing limited basking site availability due to vegetative succession.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Imperial

11:00am EST

Fusobacteria as a Marker to Estimate the Abundance of Asian Carp and Total Fish Population In Illinois River
AUTHORS: Wen-Tso Liu*, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lin Ye, State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of The Environment, Nanjing University, Camila Carlos, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ya Zhang, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Takashi Narihiro, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Masaru Nobu, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Andrew F. Casper, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jon Amberg, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, United States Geological Survey Mark Gaikowski, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, United States Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: To develop a genetic-based method for Asian carp and total fish surveillance, this study characterized the bacterial community in the guts of 129 fish (17 fish species in total) caught from different water bodies in the U.S. using 16S rRNA gene sequence as the biomarker. By comparing with the microbiota in other animal guts, including human, beef cattle, chicken, goose, swine, and dairy cattle, it was found that the phylum Fusobacteria is almost unique to freshwater fish. Further analysis showed that the majority of the Fusobacteria (>90% for most fish) in fish guts mainly affiliated two clusters under the genera of Cetobacterium and Hados.Sed.Eubac.3, respectively. In addition, a Leptotrichia-related and a Cetobactrium-related cluster were found to be unique to bigmouth buffalo and silver carp, respectively. Based on these findings and the fact that Fusobacteria members are obligate anaerobic bacteria and cannot grow in river water, we have designed and developed a series of PCR primers for a microbial source tracking method, and are currently validating the specificity of these primers with known samples. In addition, we will apply these primers to estimate and correlate the abundance of Asian carp and total fish in water bodies with samples from different location along Illinois River.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Pantlind

11:20am EST

Effectiveness of Critical Lake Trout and Coregonid Reef Spawning Habitat Restoration In Northern Lake Michigan: Mitigating Environmental and Invasive Egg Predator Impacts (Part 2)
AUTHORS: Eric J. Calabro*, Central Michigan University; Randall M. Claramunt, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Matthew E. Herbert, The Nature Conservancy; Tracy L. Galarowicz, Central Michigan University; W. Lindsay Chadderton, The Nature Conservancy; Andrew J. Tucker, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: High-quality nearshore spawning reefs are a rare, critical habitat in Lake Michigan. Anthropogenic impacts, including the introduction of invasive species like round goby Neogobius melanostomus and rusty crayfish Orconectes rusticus, have degraded many nearshore reef habitats, threatening three species that utilize them for spawning: lake trout Salvelinus namaycush, lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis, and cisco C. artedi. The conservation and restoration of high-quality habitat is critical to the recovery and sustainability of these species, as spawning fish tend to focus on small patches of high-quality habitat. A reef complex near Elk Rapids, Grand Traverse Bay, is the only known spawning reef complex used by cisco in Lake Michigan; the reef is also used by lake trout and lake whitefish. An area of the Elk Rapids complex has poor habitat quality as a result of historic iron dock operation, and egg deposition and survival is subsequently low. Baseline rates of invasive egg predators, egg deposition, and egg survival for native reef spawners were quantified yearly on both the adjacent highly productive site, and the degraded site of the reef complex from 2008-2015. Physical characteristics were also quantified on the reference and degraded sites. In August 2015, we added 450 tons of limestone cobble to improve interstitial depth and habitat quality of the degraded site with the goals of increasing native fish egg deposition and retention, and reducing egg loss due to invasive species predation. We examined the effectiveness of the restoration through comparisons to a high-quality reference reef before and directly after restoration. We anticipate that determining the success of this restoration effort will require monitoring across multiple spawning seasons, as egg survivorship varies inter-annually as a function of storm events and predation.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Gerald Ford

11:20am EST

Assessment of Channel Catfish Habitat Use and Fine-Scale Seasonal Movement in the Wabash River Using Acoustic Telemetry
AUTHORS: Hanna G. Kruckman, Eastern Illinois University*; Les Frankland, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Scott J. Meiners, Eastern Illinois University; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus are one of the most sought after commercial and sport fish species throughout the Mississippi River Basin. Understanding seasonal habitat preference and movement behavior is essential to properly manage channel catfish in lotic systems. Since September 2014, we tagged 25 channel catfish with acoustic transmitters within a 16-km reach of the lower Wabash River. To locate fish we conducted seasonal 24-hour active tracking supplemented with site specific tracking. Habitat parameters were recorded at each fish location to assess usage. Of the 25 tagged fish, three individuals have been harvested and 13 individuals (54%) have been located at least once for a total of 340 observations. All channel catfish were found within a 2-km reach of the 16-km study site with the majority of fish locations occurring along rip rap banks, clay banks, and sand bars. Other habitats occupied included log jams, tributary mouths, backwater areas, and the main channel. Across all four seasons, distance moved per hour ranged from 0 – 396 m and the minimum area occupied ranged from 442 – 41,000 m2. The mean distance moved per hour was significantly higher during both fall and winter compared to spring. Whereas channel catfish were most active during the day in the fall, individuals were most active at night during the winter. No differences were observed between diurnal and nocturnal movements for spring and summer. Assessing seasonal movement patterns and habitat usage will help managers determine at which scale these fish should be managed to maintain a sustainable, healthy, and economically productive fishery.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Atrium

11:20am EST

Utility and Precision of Hard Structures Used To Estimate Age For Three Species of Lepisosteidae
AUTHORS: Sarah Huck*, Illinois Natural History Survey; Solomon David, John G. Shedd Aquarium/University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jeffrey Stein, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Gars (Lepisosteidae) are an ancient lineage of native fishes ranging throughout North America. Recreational angling for gars has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years, yet fisheries managers lack a fundamental understanding of population dynamics. In Illinois, managers require basic information regarding size and age structure to effectively manage a sustainable recreational fishery that is dominated by consumptive harvest via bowfishing. Age data is essential to describe population parameters, however, there are few studies describing which hard structures are best used to estimate age of gars. Therefore, we collected longnose gar (n=38), shortnose gar (n=75), and spotted gar (n=80) from multiple Illinois watersheds to assess the precision and utility of otoliths, cleithra, pectoral fin rays, and branchiostegals for age estimation. We aim to determine usefulness of hard structures for each species of gar based on ease of collection, preparation for readability, and measures of precision between readers. From our study, we can recommend ideal hard structures to estimate population dynamics of gars to aid in development of sustainable management strategies in the face of currently unregulated harvest.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Emerald A

11:20am EST

Climate Change Surpasses Land Use Change In The Contracting Range Boundary of Snowshoe Hares
AUTHORS: Sean M. Sultaire, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706; Dr. Benjamin Zuckerberg, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison;Dr. Jonathan N. Pauli, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

ABSTRACT: Habitat loss and climate change are recognized as two predominate threats to wildlife populations. Populations at the southern range boundary of a species distribution offer a unique opportunity to study the effects of both these stressors, because they are likely most sensitive to a changing climate and habitat is often patchy. Snowshoe hares Lepus americanus exist at their southern range limit in Wisconsin and detailed historical information needed to track the response of this boundary to environmental change is available from historical surveys. We performed snow-tracking surveys at 148 historical hare locations and 64 additional sites throughout central Wisconsin to determine hare presence. We detected snowshoe hares at only 29 historical sites, and 22 additional sites, and observed an average shift north of 28.5 km since 1980. We found that historical (circa 1980) snowshoe hare presence was best explained by the distribution of forest cover at that time period. Patterns of extinction between time periods were primarily driven by a reduction in snow cover duration, as opposed to the current distribution of forest cover or forest disturbance. In this respect, the distribution of snowshoe hares in Wisconsin has tracked the shifting paradigm of wildlife conservation. The historical range retraction was primarily driven by habitat, at that time when habitat loss was the most recognized threat by research biologists. More recently, however, as climate change has moved into the conservation spotlight, the range of snowshoe hares in Wisconsin has become increasingly limited by snow cover. Projections of future range show that snow cover loss will likely continue to drive this species’ range shift into the future, while future changes in forest cover will play a relatively small role.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Vandenberg A

11:20am EST

A Portable Trap With Electric Lead Removes Up To 80% Of Invasive Sea Lamprey In Free-Flowing Streams.
AUTHORS: Nicholas Johnson*, USGS, Great Lakes Science Center, Hammond Bay Biological Station; Scott Miehls, USGS, Great Lakes Science Center, Hammond Bay Biological Station

ABSTRACT: A portable sea lamprey trap fitted with a pulsed direct current lead was deployed in a free-flowing reach of Bridgeland Creek, ON, during 2014 and 2015. The portable trap removed 60% of PIT tagged adult sea lamprey that approached within 20 m of the trap during 2014 and about 80% of PIT tagged sea lampreys that approached the trap during 2015. Non-target mortality was rare and impacts to non-target migration were minimal; likely because low voltage pulsed direct current was used and the electric lead only needed to be activated 7 hours of each day. Annual cost of the trapping system, including the cost to deploy, service, and decommission, was estimated at $5,800 (U.S. dollars). Currently, adult sea lamprey trapping is limited to physical barriers that block sea lamprey migration and removal rates average 35%. The pulsed direct current trap lead used here has the potential to substantially improve sea lamprey removal rates at existing barrier-integrated traps and enable trapping on most of the sea lamprey producing tributaries that are not currently trapped (about 95% are not trapped). Similar electric leads may be useful for trapping other invasive species that have riverine spawning migrations or may be useful for guiding valued fishes to safe passage around dams. As such, the technology may substantially advance integrated control of sea lampreys, which threaten a fishery valued at 7 billion U.S. dollars annually, and may be broadly applicable to aquatic invasive species control and fishery restoration worldwide.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Ambassador E

11:20am EST

Growth Rate of Larval Pallid Sturgeon As Influenced By Historic Changes In Missouri River Water Temperatures
AUTHORS: Laura B. Heironimus, Department of Natural Resource Management, South Dakota State University; Steven R. Chipps*, USGS South Dakota Coop Unit; David D. Deslauriers, Department of Natural Resource Management, South Dakota State University; David Galat, USGS Missouri Coop Unit

ABSTRACT: Cold-water releases below large dams can have an important influence on fisheries productivity. In the upper Missouri River, the construction of large impoundments has been associated with changes in water temperature regimes, seasonal hydrographs, water turbidity, and migration corridors for fishes. Habitat alterations in the Missouri River are believed to contribute to recruitment failure in the federally endangered pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus, with research priorities focused on the larval stage of the species. Using a bioenergetics approach, we simulated growth dynamics of larval pallid sturgeon in the upper and lower Missouri River. Long-term water temperature data were obtained below Garrison Dam (GD), North Dakota during pre-dam (1932-1952) and post-dam (1960-2001) periods; data for similar time periods were obtained from the lower Missouri River (LMR) near Boonville, Missouri. Larval growth, starting at hatch and simulated over an average growing season, showed that end weights increased by 1% and decreased by 65% from the pre-dam to the post-dam time periods in the LMR and GD, respectively. We also found 5% and 54% fewer cumulative thermal units in the LMR and GD, respectively – compared to pre-dam conditions. Our findings show that the cold water from deep-release storage reservoirs (i.e. Garrison Dam) can reduce growth of larval pallid sturgeon; however, further downstream in the LMR (~1880 km), negative impacts from temperature are no longer detected. With six major dams along the main stem upper Missouri River, thermal impacts may be an important factor affecting growth and recruitment in pallid sturgeon.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Emerald B

11:20am EST

Plowprint: Tracking Cumulative Loss of Grassland To Cropland Across The Plains and Prairie Potholes Landscape Conservation Cooperative
AUTHORS: Jeff Nelson*, Northern Great Plains Program World Wildlife Fund, Sarah Olimb, Northern Great Plains Program World Wildlife Fund, Anne Gage, Northern Great Plains Program World Wildlife Fund

ABSTRACT: The grasslands of North America are being converted to cropland to provide food and fuel to a growing global population. Tracking this loss over time has been the focus of a variety of studies, with most authors directing their attention to where loss is occurring over a specific time period, and attempting to most accurately define which parcels of land are switching land covers. We took a different approach in the Plains and Prairie Potholes region and beyond. Our methodology, which lead to a product that we call the “plowprint”, uses the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Cropland Data Layer to track cumulative loss of grassland to cropland over the period from 2008 to present. Our methodology uses a rule that allows pixels to be added to the plowprint, but never deleted. Thus, once a pixel has been converted to cropland, that pixel is then considered part of the crop base within the study area. Our analyses suggest that 2.9 million acres of intact habitat are being lost annually within the Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC landscape. This loss is not occurring at equal rates across the ecoregion, with some counties experiencing higher than average rates of loss, while others see relatively low rates of loss. Remaining intact habitat, then, is defined as being habitat that has not been plowed since 2008, but could be in non-native cover or potentially plowed before this time period. This study represents a useful addition to the literature that tracks grassland loss to row crops during specific time periods by helping to define the “best of what’s left” for prioritization by various agencies and groups working throughout the Great Plains.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Ambassador W

11:20am EST

Great Lakes Science Center: A History of Adaptation To A Fluid World
AUTHORS: Jeff Schaeffer, Great Lakes Science Center, Ann Arbor, MI; Mark Vinson, Great Lakes Science Center, Ashland Biological Station, WI; Michael Hansen, Great Lakes Science Center, Hammond Bay Biological Station, MI

ABSTRACT: During its more than 75 year history, the Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) has generated almost 2000 scientific publications. We analyzed publication data to determine what factors drove topical and numerical trends. We learned that the primary driver was rapid or sudden ecosystem change that, in turn, caused center-wide shifts in focus that altered publication trends for up to a decade. Although historically GLSC responded rapidly to ecosystem change, responses differed strategically by pursuing either rapid innovation (sea lamprey control), or establishment of long-term ecological monitoring (predator-prey relationships). However, the strongest trend was a shift from narrowly focused descriptive fisheries investigations to a more ecosystem based approach that now considers processes in the context of ecological mechanisms, habitats, and landscapes.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Pearl

11:20am EST

Longitudinal Patterns of Freshwater Mussel Assemblage Structure in Rivers of Central Michigan, U.S.A
AUTHORS: Amanda J. Chambers, Daelyn A. Woolnough – Department of Biology, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: A primary focus in the study of lotic ecosystems involves understanding the relationship between changes in the physical environment and corresponding changes in biota along a longitudinal gradient. Previous studies examining patterns in the downstream succession of riverine organisms, primarily fish, have noted two commonly occurring patterns: either the restriction of species to discrete zones (i.e., biotic zonation or species turnover) or the gradual addition of species with increasing distance from the headwaters (i.e., continual addition or nestedness). These patterns can be influenced by both natural variation in the landscape and by anthropogenic disturbances. Like other riverine organisms, freshwater mussels (Family: Unionidae) exhibit longitudinal patterns in distribution and abundance; however, the patterns and processes by which downstream succession occurs, and the environmental variables that structure mussel assemblages are poorly understood. This study examined patterns in the longitudinal distribution and abundance of freshwater mussel assemblages in the Pine and Chippewa rivers, Michigan. A stratified random design based on differences in surficial geology was used to sample mussels at 54 sites (28 in the Chippewa River, 26 in the Pine River). Timed-searches were used to semi-quantitatively assess differences in relative abundance and diversity among sites and between rivers. Preliminary results suggest that differences in mussel assemblage structure are consistent with upstream to downstream changes in surficial geology in both rivers. Certain species were found to be restricted to specific geologies suggesting that downstream succession of mussels may proceed primarily via biotic zonation. Given that both rivers exhibited similar patterns in terms of longitudinal assemblage structure, we expect that these patterns are likely to prevail in similar glaciated regions of the upper Midwest.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Vandenberg B

11:20am EST

Variation In Life History Traits: A Range-Wide Synthesis for the Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)
AUTHORS: Eric T. Hileman*, Northern Illinois University; Richard B. King, Northern Illinois University; Eastern Massasauga Group, Northern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Intraspecific variation among life history traits influence fitness and indirectly determines reproduction and survival success. Selective pressures imposed by local conditions can result in life history trait trade-offs that are heterogeneous between populations. This may be particularly true for species with broad distributions or for those that occur in small geographic areas where fine-scale climate and environmental factors (e.g., productivity) vary sharply across the landscape. The distribution of the Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) is centered on the Great Lakes region where local conditions are strongly influenced by lake-effect and geographic coordinates. This species is considered threatened or endangered everywhere it occurs except for Michigan, where it is a species of special concern. In 2015 it was proposed for listing as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Conservation efforts for the Eastern Massasauga are hampered by information gaps in life history traits (e.g., size‒fecundity relationship) and demography (e.g., population growth). To address these gaps, we compiled life history information from peer-reviewed publications, technical reports, and >60 collaborators for 47 study sites representing 38 counties in nine states and provinces. From these data, we identified nine life history variables expected to vary geographically and influence population growth. To elucidate patterns of variation in life history, we used multimodel inference and general linear models with geographic coordinates and four different 30-year averaged annual climate normals as explanatory variables. We found strong evidence for geographic and climatic patterns in life history traits in six of the nine variables. It is unclear whether the observed patterns in Eastern Massasauga life history characteristics reflect plastic responses or heritable traits. Regardless of the underlying mechanisms, our results will inform conservation efforts by improving biological realism for models of population viability and climate change.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Imperial

11:20am EST

Overview of Aquatic Pesticide Registration With EPA
AUTHORS: Kim T. Fredricks*, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center; Terrance D. Hubert, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

ABSTRACT: Pests, defined as living organisms that occur where they are not wanted or that cause damage to crops or humans or other animals, are often controlled with pesticides. The US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs has the responsibility to register pesticides through the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Pesticides are broadly defined as substances or mixtures of substances intended to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate any pest. Amendments to FIFRA mandate that the US EPA (1) must determine that a pesticide will possess a “reasonable certainty of no harm” before it can be registered, (2) requires review of all registered products every 15 years, and (3) sets fees and timelines for required reviews. We will highlight key aspects of the registration process that potential new aquatic pesticides, such as carbon dioxide, will undergo before use as control tools.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Pantlind

11:40am EST

(CANCELLED) Larval Fish Communities Upstream and Downstream of Spawning Habitat Improvements In The St. Clair-Detroit River System
AUTHORS: Robin L. DeBruyne*, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Edward F. Roseman, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center; Robert D. Hunter, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center; Stacey Ireland, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center; Dustin Bowser, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center; and Stacy Provo, U.S.G.S. Great Lakes Science Center, Center for Ecosystems Studies Unit, Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

NOTE: This talk has been cancelled. 

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Gerald Ford

11:40am EST

Movement Patterns of Channel Catfish in the Red River of the North
AUTHORS: Stephen Siddons*, University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Mark Pegg, University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Martin Hamel, University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Geoff Klein, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, Fisheries Branch; Derek Kroeker, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, Fisheries Branch

ABSTRACT: The channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus fishery in the Red River of the North is a well-known trophy catfish destination with fish that are larger and longer lived than populations in other parts of North America. This fishery is managed by two states and one Canadian province under varying regulations. While past studies have documented basin wide and interjurisdictional movements for channel catfish in the Red River, the extent of movement that occurs between Canada and the United States is unknown. We conducted a large-scale mark-recapture project on channel catfish in the lower Red River of the North from 2012-2015 to document movement patterns of channel catfish greater than 200 mm. Movement was quantified with multistate models in Program MARK in an effort to determine overall movement patterns within the watershed, movement to and from the United States, and movement through a dam on the lower Red River in Manitoba. Collectively, channel catfish commonly passed upstream through the dam on the lower Red River, moved upstream into the United States, and larger individuals (>650 mm) were most likely to make long-distance movements. We also documented channel catfish moving into and out of Lake Winnipeg, at the terminus of the Red River. Documenting and quantifying movement rates between different sections of the Red River will help properly manage this economically valuable channel catfish population.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Atrium

11:40am EST

Age and Growth of Round Gobies In Lake Huron: Implications For Food Web Dynamics
AUTHORS: You J. Duan, Huazhong Agricultural University; Charles P. Madenjian*, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Cong X. Xie, Huazhong Agricultural University; Jame S. Diana, University of Michigan; Timothy P. O'Brien, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Ying M. Zhao, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; Ji X. He, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Steven A. Farha, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Bin Huo, Huazhong Agricultural University

ABSTRACT: Although the round goby Neogobius melanostomus has become established throughout Lake Huron, as well as other Laurentian Great Lakes, information is scarce on spatial variation in round goby growth between and within lakes. Based on a sample of 754 specimens captured in 2014, age, growth and mortality of round goby at four areas of Lake Huron were assessed via otolith analysis. Total length (TL) ranged from 44 to 111 mm for Saginaw Bay, from 45 to 115 mm for Rockport, from 50 to 123 mm for Hammond Bay, and from 51 to 118 mm for Thunder Bay. Estimated ages ranged from 2 to 5 years for Saginaw Bay, from 2 to 6 years for Rockport, and from 2 to 7 years for Hammond Bay and Thunder Bay. Sex-specific body-otolith relationships were used to reconstruct the history of total lengths at age, which were then fitted to von Bertalanffy models. For each sex, round goby growth showed significant spatial variation among the four areas within Lake Huron. Moreover, round gobies grew significantly slower in Lake Huron than in Lake Michigan. At all four areas of Lake Huron, males grew significantly faster than females and attained a larger asymptotic length than females. Annual mortality rate estimates, based on catch curve analysis, suggested that round gobies may be under predatory control throughout most of Lake Huron.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Emerald A

11:40am EST

Climate Variability Drives Population Cycling and Synchrony In Ruffed Grouse
AUTHORS: Benjamin Zuckerberg*, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Lars Y. Pomara, USDA Forest Service

ABSTRACT: Cyclic population dynamics are one of the most studied aspects of population ecology, yet the relationship between climate and population cycling in high-latitude species remains poorly understood. There is increasing concern that modern climate change will lead to the collapse of some of ecology’s classic examples of cyclic populations. Unpacking the role of climate variability in population cycling can be greatly aided by linking species demographics to climate across broad geographic regions. We identified demographic sensitivities of ruffed grouse Bonasa umbellus, a northerly bird species, to temperature and precipitation anomalies, and to landscape-scale land use intensity, using survival and nest success estimates derived from multiple studies throughout eastern North America. We then used these relationships to simulate spatially-explicit population dynamics from 1982 to 2069, and evaluated model-based predictions against long-term monitoring data. We found that climate variability has been an important driver of spatiotemporal variation in demographic rates, and that decadal population cycling emerges from these climate-demographic relationships, even when individual climate variables do not show decadal periodicity. Population cycling and spatial synchronization were stronger at more northerly latitudes, but this geographic transition occurred abruptly rather than gradually, a pattern linked to regional variation in winter weather conditions. Projected future dynamics indicated regular, decadal cycling out to mid-century, followed by irregular changes which occurred differently across a latitudinal gradient. Our findings suggest a climate-driven de-synchronization of population dynamics and the potential dampening of cyclic dynamics.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Vandenberg A

11:40am EST

Development Of An Unmanned Submersible For Benthic Larval Fish Sampling
AUTHORS: Dylan Olson, UW-Milwaukee

ABSTRACT: Rocky, benthic habitats are important components of many aquatic ecosystems. They commonly harbor diverse and abundant invertebrates that are important forage for fishes. Additionally, they are actively sought by fishes for shelter and spawning. The ongoing dreissenid-driven benthification of Great Lakes food webs has made robust benthic sampling techniques for rocky habitat fauna more important than ever. Unfortunately, many common benthic sampling techniques—such as seine and trawl nets, and ponar grabs—are ineffective in rocky habitats. We built a pair of inexpensive remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) with modifications for electroshocking and suction sampling. These ROVs were effective collecting newly-hatched round gobies in Lake Michigan. The diet of larval and early juvenile round gobies was derived from these samples. We found that they feed primarily on harpacticoid copepods and benthic cladocerans. In other preliminary work, we found that ROVs were also effective at sampling larval lake trout.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Ambassador E

11:40am EST

Lake Sturgeon Reproductive Ecology In The Upper Mississippi River
AUTHORS: John Buszkiewicz*, Southeast Missouri State University; Sara Tripp, Missouri Department of Conservation; Quinton Phelps, Missouri Department of Conservation; Dave Herzog, Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT: Lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens is a fish species which is currently protected from harvest and considered rare in the Upper Mississippi River and endangered in Missouri. Habitat fragmentation and overexploitation has led to historic population declines. Even though management efforts have been effective in assessing population increases through stocking programs, spawning success in the Upper Mississippi River has historically been undocumented. Since the presence of embryos or larvae has previously been unconfirmed in this region, the three main objectives of this project were to identify lake sturgeon spawning aggregations, confirm the presence of embryos or larvae near these aggregations, and to characterize the habitat of these spawning locations. Gillnets and trotlines were used to sample adult lake sturgeon, which were subsequently implanted with ultrasonic transmitters. In areas where spawning aggregations occurred, embryos were collected and hatched in the laboratory. Genetic testing of the progeny has confirmed the species identification and will offer further insight as to which specific brood stock contributed to this spawning event. Fine mesh trawling surveys were also conducted to assess recruitment success and habitat use of larval sturgeon species. The information presented in this study will further develop existing knowledge of lake sturgeon reproductive ecology which will ultimately enhance natural reproduction of lake sturgeon in the Upper Mississippi River.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Emerald B

11:40am EST

Human Dimensions of Habitat Loss In The Plains & Prairie Pothole Ecoregions: A Project Update
AUTHORS: Larry M. Gigliotti*, U.S. Geological Survey, S.D. Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Lily A. Sweikert, Department of Natural Resources, South Dakota State University

ABSTRACT: The Plains & Prairie Pothole Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PPP-LCC) identified habitat loss (factors influencing land use and land conversion) as a key research need in 2012. This grassland-wetland ecosystem provides essential habitat for an array of wildlife, especially waterfowl. Temperate grasslands are one of the most threatened biomes worldwide. Recent economic pressures from high corn and soybean prices undoubtedly figured heavily into the observed increase in land conversions to row crops. While many factors contribute to loss of wildlife habitat, ultimately it comes down to decisions made by private landowners. For example, what kind of land use decisions might we expect with the return or lower corn and soybean prices following the previous few years (2011-2013) of extraordinary high prices? The purpose of this study is to understand how private landowners make land use decisions. This project is working with five state wildlife agencies to conduct landowner surveys in each of the participating states (IA, MN, SD, ND, and MT). Each survey is unique and focused on conditions, programs and interests of each state participant, although each survey will include a measure of landowners’ Wildlife Value Orientation and will include the Land Relations scale developed specifically for this study. The primary objective will be to measure attitudes and intended behaviors towards participating in a variety of conservation programs and barriers to participating in various conservation programs. Because survey results will not be available in time for this presentation this presentation is designed as a progress update and will focus on the type of information that is being collected by each participating state, how that information may be used, and answer questions about this ongoing project.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Ambassador W

11:40am EST

Michigan DNR Fisheries Research Vessels: Their Role and Contributions to Five Decades of Science-Based Fisheries Management on The Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Gary Whelan*, Michigan DNR; Edward Baker, Michigan DNR; David Clapp, Michigan DNR; David Fielder, Michigan DNR; Todd Wills, Michigan DNR

ABSTRACT: For most of Michigan’s history, the Great Lakes were managed for commercial exploitation with little regard for recreation. Great Lakes fisheries management returned to the states in the 1960s from the Federal Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Management. These policy changes prompted development of an assessment program, including large state-owned research vessels on each Great Lake, and ultimately research to provide key management information on the status of fish stocks. The R/V Steelhead serves Lake Michigan out of the Charlevoix Station, the R/V Channel Cat operates in the Michigan waters of Lake Erie and the Huron-Erie corridor and occasionally in southern Lake Huron, the R/V Lake Char spans Lake Superior out of the Marquette Station, and the R/V Chinook covers Lake Huron from the Alpena Station. The R/V Chinook, the oldest operating research vessel on the Great Lakes, will be replaced with the state of the art R/V Tanner in early 2016. In combination with research biologists and stations for each lake, these vessels became the platform for research and assessment for nearly a half century. The data collected by these vessels has supported fisheries management by documenting the transition from badly impaired conditions to a rise of a recreational fishery based on stocked fish, to the resurgence of native species, and ultimately recovery to today’s state. The Michigan DNR research vessel fleet represents the State’s commitment to its public-trust role as the managers of the Great Lakes Fisheries. These versatile platforms have proven remarkably adept at data collection from all manner of gears and conditions, spanning both shallow water near-shore environs to deep off shore sampling sites, and have led to collaborations (interagency and cross-disciplinary) that have significantly improved our understanding and management of these vast inland seas.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Pearl

11:40am EST

Associations Between Stream Hydrogeomorphology and Codependent Mussel-Fish Assemblages: Evidence From an Ohio, USA River System
AUTHORS: Clarissa Lawlis*, The Ohio State University; S. Mažeika P. Sullivan, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Understanding linkages among fluvial geomorphology, habitat, and aquatic biota is critical for effective stream ecosystem conservation. However, composite effects of hydrogeomorphic adjustment and condition, which collectively represent channel stability, on freshwater mussel and stream fish assemblages remain unresolved. Associations between stream hydrogeomorphic characteristics (channel geometry, substrate composition, streamflow) and mussel and stream fish assemblages were explored at 20 study reaches characterized by riffle-pool interfaces (RPIs) in Ohio, USA. At a coarse resolution using categorical classifications of equilibrium (i.e., stable) vs. adjusting (i.e., unstable) RPIs, overall fish and darter density was greater at adjusting RPIs (p = 0.048 and p = 0.024, respectively). Conversely, fish species richness was 1.2x greater at equilibrium than adjusting RPIs (p = 0.047). Analysis of quantitative hydrogeomorphic data collected with fine-resolution surveys showed that hydrogeomorphic parameters explained from 20% (darter assemblage evenness) to 55% (density of mussels known to use darters as hosts) of the variation observed in all assemblages. Drainage area was significant in most models with variable influence: R2 = 0.10 for darter species richness to R2 = 0.41 for Simpson’s diversity index of mussels with darter hosts. Other important predictor variables included embeddedness, velocity, shear stress, roughness, channel dimensions, and sediment size. Whereas coarse-level fluvial geomorphic classifications may be meaningful for fish, they appear less so for mussels. Fine-resolution quantitative hydrogeomorphic variables provided substantially more information for both assemblages, although hydrogeomorphology-fish and hydrogeomorphology-mussel relationships were not consistent. Some of the strongest relationships related to mussels that use darters as hosts, suggesting that these species are particularly sensitive to hydrogeomorphic conditions. Collectively, these results indicate that fluvial geomorphic condition and characteristics can simultaneously influence codependent stream biota. Stream conservation and management plans that include explicit hydrogeomorphic surveys may appreciably benefit cohabitating freshwater fish and mussel assemblages.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Vandenberg B

11:40am EST

Conservation and Management of The Massasauga in Northeast Ohio
AUTHORS: Gregory Lipps*, The Ohio State University; Nicholas Smeenk, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Recent surveys in Northeast Ohio have resulted in the confirmation of previously unreported populations of the eastern massasauga. Working with a diverse group of partners, including federal, state, and local government agencies, land trusts, and NGOs, several of these properties have been protected through fee simple acquisitions or conservation easements. The partnership has also worked together to implement management actions to set back succession and control invasive species. A major challenge moving forward is determining ideal habitat conditions and management techniques that do not result in unsustainable rates of management-related mortality. During 2015, we began standardized habitat assessments to characterize the vegetation and structure of massasauga habitat in Ohio. These assessments are being compared to data on the health of snake populations, including population density, demographics, body condition, and blood values. Understanding the link between habitat quality and population viability is needed in order to determine the actual costs and benefits associated with habitat management.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Imperial

11:40am EST

Chemically-Mediated Feeding Behavior In The Bigheaded Carps
AUTHORS: Aaron Claus, University of Minnesota; Peter Sorensen*, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT: The bigheaded carps are renowned for the efficiency with which they filter-feed using remarkably specialized gill-rakers and an epibranchial organ. But how selective are they in how they find suitable particular food in turbid river waters and if how do they locate and identify it? This study addressed these questions which have implications for their control because food could be used to attract carps or perhaps get them to selectively ingest tainted baits. The possibility that filter-feeding behavior is specific and controlled by waterborne chemicals was assayed using buccal-pharyngeal pumping (BPP) activity. While Basal BPP activity in juvenile silver and bighead carps was low (5.4 and 1.8 BPP/min), after adding a whole food mix to aquaria, rates increased over 25-fold to 146.4 +/- 15 BPP/min and 118.2 +/- 28.8 BPP/min, respectively (F(1,410)=549.096, p

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Pantlind

12:00pm EST

Lunch Break - on own
Tuesday January 26, 2016 12:00pm - 1:20pm EST
N/A

1:20pm EST

Movements and Home Ranges of Smallmouth Bass In A Recently Restored Urban Stream
AUTHORS: James Lukey*, Illinois Natural History Survey; Jeffrey Stein, Illinois History Survey

ABSTRACT: River restoration effort have become frequent in our increasing urbanized environment with the restoration of aquatic diversity as a common goal. Smallmouth bass are an important sports fish and sensitive species that are impacted by urbanization. Restoration efforts and improved riverine habitats lead to changes in fish movement and behavior. This study compared the location, movement and home ranges of smallmouth bass between seasons, between fish size groups, between home pool site and to previous studies. Twenty-five fish in the West Branch of the DuPage River were implanted with acoustic transmitters. Active tracking was undertaken from spring to autumn using a hydrophone mounted on a canoe, while passive tracking occurred year-round using an acoustic array of VR2W monitoring receivers. The mean home ranges size did not differ between fish size classes or season. Residency of smallmouth bass showed that tagged fish were most active in summer and least active in winter. Long migrations of over 1000 m were seen for 47.4% of the tagged fish, most of which occurred in either spring or autumn and were in both the upstream and downstream directions. Two types of movement behaviors are present in the smallmouth bass population, sedentary and migratory types. For the migratory type, these fish were highly likely to return to a home pool after long migrations. This study showed that smallmouth bass in the West Branch of the DuPage River had much larger home ranges when compared to previous studies. This may be the result of a smaller forage base in this recently restored reach.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Gerald Ford

1:20pm EST

Effects of Tree Encroachment on Lesser Prairie-Chickens
AUTHORS: Joseph Lautenbach*, Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians-Inland Fish and Wildlife, Reid Plumb, Kansas State University, David Haukos, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Jim Pitman, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Christian Hagen, Oregon State University

ABSTRACT: Lesser prairie-chickens Tympanuchus pallidicinctus, a species of prairie grouse native to the southwest Great Plains, have experienced major population declines since the early 1900s resulting in being listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Tree encroachment into grasslands has been identified as a source of habitat loss. While tree encroachment has been implicated as a source of habitat loss, it is poorly understood how tree encroachment into grasslands impacts lesser prairie-chickens. In 2013 and 2014, satellite and VHF transmitters were attached to 62 females in a landscape where tree encroachment into grasslands was a concern. On average, females used sites twice as far from trees as would be expected at random (used: 282.5 m ± 0.96 SE, random: 128.9 m ± 0.77 SE). Using a resource selection framework, we found that lesser prairie-chickens have a high probability of avoiding areas with >4 trees/ha. In addition, lesser prairie-chickens only nested in habitats with tree densities

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Governors

1:20pm EST

Large-Scale Spatial and Temporal Variability In Lake Huron Bloater Growth and Population Structure, 1976-2014
AUTHORS: Carson G. Prichard*, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Edward F. Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Timothy P. O’Brien, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Kevin Keeler, USGS Great Lakes Science Center and Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: In Lake Huron, bloater Coregonus hoyi are the sole extant species of a diverse clade of deepwater ciscoes that supported commercial fisheries and native piscivore diets before populations collapsed in the late 1960s. Following the crashes of rainbow smelt and alewife, bloater are again the primary offshore constituent of the Lake Huron prey fish community. Despite recent recoveries in bloater abundance and biomass, the contemporary fishery catches few marketable-size bloater. Using USGS annual fall bottom trawl survey data, we assessed variability in bloater body condition, age-length relations, and size- and age-structure in the main basin of Lake Huron from 1976-2014. To examine trends in body condition, we estimated bloater body mass at selected lengths by fitting weight-length relations to a standard power function that allowed growth parameters to vary over time and among regions. We compared models whose temporal effects followed either white noise or random walk processes. Trends in bloater weight-at-length differed significantly between northern and southern Lake Huron, as well as among several selected lengths. Basin-wide, mean weight decreased significantly across the time series at larger lengths. Estimated weight of 225 mm bloaters decreased 0.39 g/year from 89.9 g in 1976 to 75.2 g in 2014. In contrast, mean weight at 150 mm showed no significant changes across the time series. Based upon von Bertalanffy growth models fitted to selected year groupings, basin-wide bloater length-at-age declined consistently and drastically across the time series. Asymptotic length decreased >50% between 1977-79 (416 mm) and 2012 (199 mm). Combined with periods of near-zero recruitment (1976-80 and 1990-2004), size structure skewed from >66% of bloater exceeding 220 mm (1994-97) to

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Emerald A

1:20pm EST

Three Tiers of Inertia: Moving The Ball on Climate Change
AUTHORS: Olivia E. LeDee, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: As natural resource managers, climate change impedes our ability to fulfill our missions. Yet, we are unable to address this threat in the same manner nor at the same pace. For some agencies, senior leaders and the public are the primary barriers to action. For other agencies, the primary barriers are information, capacity, and decision support. Despite these barriers, there are mechanisms to move the ball on climate change. To address political and information barriers, the first tier of inertia, I’ll demonstrate the benefit of close collaboration across state and federal agencies, namely the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Department of Interior Climate Science Centers. In the presence of support and information, a second level of institutional inertia may emerge– a demand for guidance. I’ll present the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ mechanism to address this barrier, an agency-wide climate adaptation and mitigation policy. Finally, in the presence of information and guidance, a third tier of inertia may emerge— decision paralysis. I’ll present one case study using scenario planning to frame a complex management landscape and develop an action plan to proactively manage vulnerable brook trout populations in northern Minnesota. Three tools, collaboration, formal direction, and decision support, are effective mechanisms to address the three tiers of institutional inertia on climate change.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Vandenberg A

1:20pm EST

Multifaceted Monitoring and Assessment Indicates Challenges In The Control of Eurasian Watermilfoil In A Lake Superior Coastal Waterway and Inland Lakes of Michigan
AUTHORS: Casey Huckins*, Michigan Technological University, Amy Marcarelli,, Michigan Technological University, Kevyn Juneau, Michigan Technological University, Rodney Chimner, Michigan Technological University, Colin Brooks, Michigan Technological University -MTRI, Pengfei Xue, Michigan Technological University, Guy Meadows, Michigan Technological University, Erika Hersch-Green, Michigan Technological University

ABSTRACT: Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum, EWM) is a prolific invasive plant throughout much of North America. Populations of EWM have recently been confirmed in coastal waterways of Lake Superior, where cold water temperatures and dynamic environmental conditions present new management challenges. Management of EWM is further challenged by its ability to hybridize with native northern watermilfoil (M. sibiricum), resulting in watermilfoil with apparently reduced sensitivity to traditional herbicide based method of control. The goal of our study is to conduct multi-faceted monitoring and assessment methods to identify the best management practices for preventing, controlling, and predicting invasions of EWM and its hybrids in the Upper Great Lakes.  Extensive monitoring of multi-year treatment programs conducted by local communities in the Keweenaw Waterway, Michigan coupled with a broad survey of milfoil sensitivity to herbicides across an array of inland Michigan Lakes forms a core of the project. Vegetation and environmental monitoring of herbicide treatments show decreased EWM biomass six weeks after herbicide treatment, followed by an increase in dominance by hybrid watermilfoil, which showed variable sensitivity to herbicides in lab studies. Changes in total biomass of non-target macrophytes were not detected after herbicide applications. A major goal is to prevent new invasions through early detection.  New, high-resolution remote sensing methods for identifying EWM are part of the monitoring methods being assessed and developed, and we are developing predictive hydrodynamic models that suggest likely dispersal paths.  We are in the early stages of examining the efficacy and implications of alternative methods of control.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Ambassador E

1:20pm EST

A Habitat Suitability Model For Possible Lake Sturgeon Acipenser Fulvescens Reintroduction In The Maumee River
AUTHORS: Jessica Sherman*, University of Toledo; Jonathan Bossenbroek, University of Toledo; Todd Crail, University of Toledo; Christine Mayer, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center; James Boase, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Justin Chiotti, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; and Christopher Vandergoot, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Habitat suitability models inform species restoration by assessing if current habitat has degraded to the point that species reintroduction would be unfeasible. Lake sturgeon are a candidate for reintroduction in the Maumee River where they were historically abundant. Over-exploitation in Lake Erie and habitat alteration in the Maumee River extirpated lake sturgeon from this waterway. Lake sturgeon spawning has not been documented in the system in the last century and they were recorded being absent as early as 1885. While restoration efforts to rebuild lake sturgeon populations are underway throughout the Great Lakes basin, habitat in the Maumee River has undergone substantial alteration since lake sturgeon last spawned there. An assessment of habitat quality and quantity will inform future reintroduction efforts. We have constructed a spatially explicit habitat suitability model for spawning adult lake sturgeon for the lower Maumee River that includes habitat layers for substrate composition and water depth. A combination of survey methods including side scan sonar, visual observation, and benthic grabs were used to assess substrate composition. Habitat characteristics were mapped as a spatially explicit layer in ArcGIS and then combined to provide an overall assessment of habitat suitability and connectivity. Habitat suitability was delineated as good or moderate-good for optimal habitats, moderate, or moderate-poor or poor for suboptimal habitats. Model results suggest that more than 50% of the Maumee River is classified as good or moderate-good for spawning adults based on these two characteristics. Future model elaboration will include water velocity, water quality characteristics, habitat size and connectivity and will also be constructed for age-0 lake sturgeon. These models will aid in the development of a restoration plan for reintroduction of lake sturgeon into the Maumee River by providing an estimate of the amount of habitat available for critical life-history stages.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Emerald B

1:20pm EST

Connecting Hydrology, Ecology, Climate, and Land Use To Inform Wetland Conservation and Policy In The Prairie Pothole Region
AUTHORS: Michael J. Anteau, U.S. Geological Survey; Mark T. Wiltermuth, U.S. Geological Survey; Lisa A. McCauley, South Dakota State University and U.S. Geological Survey; Max Post van der Burg*, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Wetlands of the Prairie Pothole Region host a diverse community of wildlife and support production of 50 to 80 percent of North American ducks. These wetlands face a myriad of threats due to interacting responses to changes in climate and land-use practices. Consolidation drainage is a practice of draining smaller and more temporary wetlands into larger ones in effort to increase tillable acreage for agriculture. This practice poses a potential threat to how wetlands respond to climate and the ecological services that they can provide. We review impacts of consolidation drainage on wetland size and water-level dynamics based on studies that examined wetland responses to climate variability and land use changes from 1937 to present. Our results suggest that consolidation drainage has caused marked increases in water levels and is essentially decoupling water-level dynamics from climate variation. Moreover, past consolidation drainage appears to progressively increase water levels through successive wetting and drying phases. In response to land use and hydrological changes, ecological communities in prairie wetlands are shifting towards those supported by permanent lakes. Based on our results, flood abatement is an ecosystem service that is under threat in the current land-use paradigm. These results call to question whether current tools used for conservation of wetlands are adequate to protect ecosystem services provided by remaining wetlands. We provide a plan for measuring water retention and runoff with respect to changing climate and land use. Lastly, we further suggest that an economic analysis to compare costs of 1) mitigating increased regional flooding, and 2) improving water storage through wetland complex restoration would allow the public and policy makers to make more informed decisions about wetland conservation.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Ambassador W

1:20pm EST

Visionary Michigan Fisheries Biologists: Carl Latta, Herb Lenon, and 60+ Years of Smallmouth Bass Research in Northern Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: David Clapp*, Michigan DNR Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station; Tracy Galarowicz, Central Michigan University Department of Biology; John Clevenger, Michigan DNR Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station; Emily Martin, Lake Superior State University School of Natural and Biological Sciences; Mark Kaemingk, Victoria University Coastal Ecology Laboratory; Kevin Wehrly, Michigan DNR Institute for Fisheries Research

ABSTRACT: Smallmouth bass are an iconic Michigan sportfish, but more iconic are two of the research biologists who contributed much to our present understanding of smallmouth bass population dynamics in Michigan waters of the Great Lakes. Dr. Carl Latta conducted his PhD research on smallmouth bass populations in the waters off Waugoshance Point in northern Lake Michigan during 1953-1955, and went on to become director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Institute for Fisheries Research and the longest-serving head of the MDNR Fisheries Division Research Section. Approximately 20 years later and 25 miles across the lake from Waugoshance Point, Dr. Herb Lenon established, in the Beaver Island Archipelago, what has become one of the best long-term data sets on smallmouth bass population dynamics in the Great Lakes. The work of both men is still considered seminal in the field, and their legacies loom large in the history of Michigan fisheries research. We review the careers of both researchers, relate their early findings to current information and studies on northern Lake Michigan smallmouth bass populations, and discuss the future of these assessments and smallmouth bass management in the Great Lakes.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Pearl

1:20pm EST

Changes In Largemouth Bass Habitat Use, Home Range Size, and Movement in Response to a Large-Scale Habitat Enhancement
AUTHORS: Chance Kirkeeng*, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Jason Breeggemann*, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Brian Graeb, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Katie Bertrand, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Troy Grovenburg, South Dakota State University, Department of Natural Resource Management; Bob Lusk, Pond Boss Magazine

ABSTRACT: Reservoir aging and the resulting loss of structural habitat can limit productivity, such as growth rates, of fishes such as largemouth bass in North America. Habitat enhancement using artificial structure could provide the necessary resources to more efficiently transfer energy to largemouth bass thereby increasing population growth rate and reducing home range size. We evaluated the effects of habitat enhancement on largemouth bass in a 60-year-old reservoir. We used radio telemetry to quantify annual and seasonal home range sizes, habitat use, and daily movement of largemouth bass before and after a large-scale artificial habitat addition (i.e., artificial habitat was added to cover approximately 10% of the shoreline area). Prior to the habitat addition, home ranges during the growing season averaged nearly 8 hectares with a maximum of 25 hectares and annual home ranges averaged 9 hectares with a maximum of 28 hectares. Additionally, daily movement rates were very high with some largemouth bass moving as far as 2.25 km in 24 hours. Our results one year post-enhancement showed that daily activity decreased, growth rates increased, and largemouth bass selected for artificial habitat over all other available habitat in the lake. Home range sizes remained similar to the pre-enhancement period. Our results indicated that largemouth bass quickly responded to habitat restoration, but that more habitat may be needed to affect seasonal home ranges. Artificial habitat can be used in aging reservoirs to enhance available habitat.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Atrium

1:20pm EST

Maxent Modeling For Missouri Ozark Unionids With Macroscale Hydro-Geomorphic Variables
AUTHORS: Garth Lindner*, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The University of Missouri; Kristen Bouska, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The University of Missouri; Kayla Key, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The University of Missouri; Amanda Rosenberger, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: The Meramec River basin, located in the northeastern Ozark region of Missouri, has one the most diverse mussel faunas in the Midwest. Basin-wide mussel surveys documented declines in species richness and diversity in this system over the past thirty years. However, the mechanisms leading to this decline are poorly understood. A better understanding of the habitat requirements of mussels will provide insight into the causes of mussel decline, and, in turn, improve conservation management actions. In this project, we use widely available landscape scale datasets to identify the basic physical habitat requirements needed to support diverse aggregations of mussels in the form of a fundamental niche model. We focus on metrics related to channel hydraulics, hydrology, and geomorphology to address channel stability and sediment fluxes. The maximum entropy modeling method (Maxent) was applied to generate a fundamental niche model based on the hydro-geomorphic input variables and known locations of diverse mussel assemblages. This method uses incomplete information (i.e., presence only data) to find the probability of distribution of maximum entropy (i.e., closest to uniform) given the constraints of known locations and environmental variables. The model identifies locations throughout the Meramec Basin that provide the fundamental characteristics allowing establishment of diverse mussel aggregations. Field validation of model predictions and identification of additional limiting factors for mussels will be conducted in the summer of 2016.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Vandenberg B

1:20pm EST

Using Demographically-Informed Species Distribution Models To Identify Management Options For Threatened Species In The Face of Climate Change
AUTHORS: Ilona Naujokaitis-Lewis, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Benjamin Zuckerberg,* University of Wisconsin-Madison

ABSTRACT: Identifying management actions aimed at ensuring long-term persistence and recovery of threatened species requires a consideration of the vulnerability of species to climate change. As part of an ongoing project, we present findings from a case study using spatially-explicit demographic modeling to assess the vulnerability of eastern massasauga rattlesnake Sistrurus catenatus to climate change in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region of the United States. Based on empirical data, we identified key demographic sensitivities to several climatic factors across biologically-relevant seasons representing the complete life-cycle. These relationships were used to parameterize a range-wide population dynamics model with spatio-temporal variation in climate over a recent historical period and under future climate change scenarios. Despite variation in range-wide persistence to uncertainties associated with choice of general circulation models, our models consistently project distinct regions of high vulnerability to future climate change. While our results point to a gradient of increasing risk of extinction with peaks in south-west populations, time to predicted extinction risk was not consistently correlated with spatial regions of vulnerability. Overall our results suggest that management actions aimed at abating climate-related threats need to be spatially and must consider the temporal scale of risk. The use of demographically-informed species distribution models enabled critical insight into the selection of management actions that are both spatially and temporally optimized for a given species.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Imperial

1:20pm EST

Micro-Particle Development And Efficacy For The Control of Bigheaded Carps
AUTHORS: Blake Sauey*, U.S. Geological Survey, Joel Putnam,, U.S. Geological Survey, Jon Amberg, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Bigheaded carps Hypophthalmichthys molitrix and H. nobilis are an invasive species that pose a major threats to the ecological, economic, and recreational use of United States waterways. They are prolific spawners, fast-growing, and efficient filter feeders that can dramatically alter aquatic ecosystems. Currently, there are only two general-use piscicides registered and available for resource managers to use to control bigheaded carp populations: antimycin-A and rotenone. However, these piscicides function by stopping oxidative phosphorylation at the election transport chain, which is a highly conserved process. As a result, all species present in the system are affected, including the economically and ecologically important species. Therefore, developing a species-specific control tool is highly desirable in order to decrease negative impacts on non-target species. A targeted-delivery tool, such as a micro-particle imbedded with a piscicide, was produced with the intention of exploiting bigheaded carp feeding habits. Using technologies developed in the aquaculture and food industries, we are evaluating the selectivity of these micro-particles as a potential toxicant delivery mechanism to bigheaded carps. We are also evaluating the inclusion of citric acid in the microparticle because we have seen a stabilizing effect on the degradation of antimycin-A under acidic conditions. Our objectives were to determine: the optimal type and formulation of micro-particle, the efficacy of the selected micro-particle in laboratory trials, the feasibility of the use of micro-particle technology in an outdoor pond setting, and the toxic effects of antimycin-A with acidic conditions.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
Pantlind

1:20pm EST

1:40pm EST

A Long-Term Evaluation of The Effects of Sediment Traps on Seven Michigan River Channels
AUTHORS: Todd Wills*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Troy Zorn, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Excessive sand bedload is recognized as a major pollutant in streams and rivers across the Midwestern United States because of both the quantity released and the miles of stream affected. The devastating effects of sediment on stream channel morphology and trout populations has been well-documented and lead to the widespread use of sediment traps to restore channel habitats in Michigan since the 1980s. However, little information exists to evaluate the effectiveness of these sediment trapping efforts in restoring desirable river substrates and channel habitats, which is especially problematic considering the diverse array of river habitats in Michigan. In order to determine the effect of sediment trapping efforts on stream channel morphology, we quantified the rate and spatial extent of change in bed elevation and substrate conditions of seven streams during an 11-year period. The data from our study streams show that excavation of sediment traps generally had only small effects on mean channel depth and substrate, with changes occurring both upstream and downstream of the trap. The lateral position of the channels examined remained constant, indicating little side cutting had occurred. Changes in channel area remain variable and appear as likely to occur at transects proximal to the sediment traps as at transects located further upstream or downstream. These results suggest that current sediment trapping practices have not achieved the desired goals of increased downcutting and exposure of coarse substrates downstream of the sediment traps studied.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Gerald Ford

1:40pm EST

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat and Movement Response to Patch-Burn Grazing
AUTHORS: Jonathan Lautenbach*, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Division of Biology, Kansas State University; Joseph Lautenbach, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; David Haukos, U.S. Geological Survey, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Division of Biology, Kansas State University

ABSTRACT: The lesser prairie-chicken is a species of prairie-grouse that has experienced a dramatic population decline during the last two decades. Multiple reasons have been cited for these recent decline including, but not limited to, habitat mismanagement and the loss of ecological drivers, including fire. Because of different habitat needs throughout their life history, the lesser prairie-chicken can be a difficult species to manage. Few studies have explored the influence of fire on lesser prairie-chicken habitat and no studies have investigated the impacts of fire on their habitat and movement response. We evaluated the effects of prescribed fire implemented in a patch-burn grazing system on lesser prairie-chicken habitat and movements. We measured habitat characteristics and female lesser prairie-chicken movements across a time since fire gradient (year-of-fire, 12-24 months post-fire, and >24 months post-fire). We found that habitat characteristics varied across the time since fire gradient. Year-of-fire patches had the greatest amount of bare ground and litter cover whereas >24 months post-fire patches had the most grass cover and the least bare ground. Additionally we found that >24 months post-fire patches had 2x taller vegetation than year-of-fire patches. During the nesting period, we recorded female lesser prairie-chickens using areas >24 months post-fire more frequently than year-of-fire and 12-24 months post-fire patches. Additionally, 93% of nests were in >24 months post-fire patches. During the brood-rearing period female lesser prairie-chickens used year-of-fire and 12-24 months post-fire patches more frequently than >24 months post-fire patches. Patch-burn grazing creates a heterogeneous landscape required lesser prairie-chickens to fulfill their life history. Additionally, lesser prairie-chickens responded to patch-burn grazing in an expected manner, using areas with greater time-since-fire for nesting and more recently burned areas for brood rearing.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Governors

1:40pm EST

Prey Fish Age Estimation To Inform Sport Fishery Management: An Application To Lake Michigan Alewife
AUTHORS: David Warner, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Randall Claramunt, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station; Timothy O'Brien, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Charles Madenjian, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Bo Bunnell, USGS Great Lakes Science Center

ABSTRACT: Alewife have been an important species in the Lake Michigan fish community since their invasion and subsequent proliferation to extremely high abundance during the 1960s. Exceedingly high biomass of alewife coupled with a predator poor ecosystem led to the introduction of Pacific salmonines, chiefly Chinook salmon, for which management is tightly linked to alewife abundance. The USGS Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) has measured alewife abundance and biomass annually through fish community assessments using bottom trawls, acoustics, and midwater trawls. Alewife age estimation is also part of annual population assessments – scales were used originally, but since 1984 sagittal otoliths have been used determine age structure of the population. Earlier studies used age composition data on alewife populations to describe growth and aid in the understanding of recruitment processes. Additionally, age composition data are now used to index predation pressure (number of age classes present), to develop age-specific estimates of alewife biomass, and to forecast future biomass from stock assessment biomass estimates. In this paper, we review the alewife aging program currently in use on Lake Michigan and provide an overview of how age data and age-specific biomass estimates of alewife are used in the management of a socially and economically important sport fishery for Chinook salmon.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Emerald A

1:40pm EST

Integrating Climate Change Into The State Wildlife Action Plans
AUTHORS: Toni Lyn Morelli, USGS/DOI Northeast Climate Science Center; Michelle Staudinger, USGS/DOI Northeast Climate Science Center; Alex Bryan, USGS/DOI Northeast Climate Science Center

ABSTRACT: The Department of Interior Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC) conducts research that responds to the needs of the regional natural resource management community to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change. Last year, the Northeastern and Midwestern State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) underwent their 10 year revisions and, for the first time, SWAP coordinators were challenged to incorporate climate change impacts. Working closely with state managers in the framework of co-production of knowledge, researchers at the NE CSC developed a synthesis to inform the science going into SWAPs across the 22 NE CSC states. This presentation will describe our process of developing an effective relationship between researchers and state managers in order to inform management at the state level in the context of state plans. We will summarize the results of the synthesis, covering regional climate patterns and projections with distinction between what is known and what is uncertain. We will also present a summary of species responses to shifting temperatures and precipitation, with a particular focus on the responses and vulnerabilities of Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN) and the habitats they depend on. Results of modeling of future bird habitat availability will be highlighted. Finally, we will provide examples and case studies of the range of climate change adaptation approaches, processes, tools, and partnerships that are available to state natural resource managers.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Vandenberg A

1:40pm EST

Phragmites Prevention and Control Coalition of Michigan’s UP
AUTHORS: Darcy Rutkowski, UP RC&D Council; Jason Schnorr, UP RC&D Council; Teri Grout, Alger Conservation District

ABSTRACT: UP Phragmites Project partners are implementing a strategic plan for the entire UP to identify and quantify Phragmites infestations on the Lake Michigan shoreline, interior wetlands and ROWs of all 15 counties, to educate landowners about the non-native Phragmites problem, to conduct treatment on known priority infestations, and to develop strategies for sustainable control and habitat restoration of previously infested sites. Comprehensive mapping of the entire UP Lake Michigan shoreline and ground-truthing of reported inland infestations have identified approximately 1,950 acres of non-native Phragmites infestations in the UP, with more than 1,800 of these acres located in just the two counties closest to the Wisconsin border (Delta and Menominee). During 2013, successful herbicide control was performed on 487 acres and efficacy of these treatments was found to be 90% or better in all post-treatment monitoring plots. Re-treatment occurred on those same acres in 2014, and more than 100 additional acres were treated for the first time for a total 550 acres of treatment. These treatments were conducted in prioritized treatment zones which covered 55 miles of contiguous Lake Michigan shoreline, and all outlying infestations where landowner permission could be obtained. In 2015, additional grant funds became available and sections of the lakeshore which were previously untreated were re-mapped. We anticipate more than 700 acres of previously untreated infestations will be treated by UP Phragmites Coalition partners in 2015. Over 3,000 landowners have been contacted and educated about the Phragmites threat, and more than 1,000 will have been directly engaged in our treatment program by the end of this season. Phragmites Coalition partners are working now to establish a framework for long-term monitoring and control, and for identifying, coordinating, and training new local stewardship groups to assume responsibility for control efforts and monitoring after this project is completed.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Ambassador E

1:40pm EST

Lessons Learned Across Twenty Years of Lake Sturgeon Assessment
AUTHORS: Michael Thomas*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Todd Wills, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Staff at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Lake St. Clair Fishery Research Station first undertook assessment of the lake sturgeon population in the St. Clair-Detroit River System (SCDRS) in 1996. Since that time, more than 2,800 individual lake sturgeon have been tagged and released using a variety of gear types. Through 2014, a total of 375 unique sturgeon have been recaptured a combined 540 times, including 113 unique fish with multiple recaptures, one individual fish with 8 recaptures and 11 individuals with at least 4 recaptures recorded. Over this 20 year time period, a few lessons have been learned: Small data sets grow and what starts out manageable in Excel becomes unmanageable. Sampling in these large connecting channels is difficult and evolution or adaptation of survey methods across time can be a challenge for both record keeping and data analysis. Sturgeon are more abundant in the SCDRS than we expected. Estimating population parameters for these long-lived, mobile fish in an open system spanning decades is challenging. Lake sturgeon are tough fish that can handle stress well and survive serious injuries. The power of interagency collaboration and partnerships for research and restoration across large systems can’t be overstated. Some needles in the haystack remain unfound. Repeat encounters with unique fish captured numerous times over many years provide insightful data. Despite much progress, there’s lots of remaining work. Population estimates based on expanding mark-recapture data and telemetry studies can be refined. Young-of-year and yearling distribution and habitat characterization remain critical unknowns. Telemetry-documented movements across management unit boundaries present a regulatory challenge for management agencies. Evaluation of habitat restoration efforts require long-term monitoring and continued interagency collaboration. These lessons have shaped the MDNR’s long-term lake sturgeon assessment program in the SCDRS and provided a solid foundation for management of this species.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
Emerald B

1:40pm EST