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FEASIBILITY OF ACOUSTIC TELEMETRY TO DESCRIBE THE SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION OF ADULT SEA LAMPREYS IN THE HURON-ERIE CORRIDOR
Christopher M. Holbrook1, Aaron K. Jubar2, Jessica M. Barber3, Darryl W. Hondorp4
1United States Geological Survey, Hammond Bay Biological Station, 11188 Ray Rd., Millersburg, MI USA 49759
2United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Ludington Biological Station, 229 S. Jebavy Drive, Ludington, MI USA 49431
3United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Marquette Biological Station, 3090 Wright St., Marquette, MI USA 49855
4United States Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, 1451 Green Rd. Ann Arbor, MI USA 48105
An emerging hypothesis to explain increased Sea Lamprey abundance in Lake Erie is that Sea Lamprey recruitment and survival have increased in the Lake Huron-to-Lake Erie Corridor (HEC). Potential for widespread Sea Lamprey infestation and recruitment in the HEC poses an enormous challenge to Sea Lamprey control and assessment in Lake Erie due to lack of barriers to facilitate trapping, low larval densities over large potential treatment area, and large river discharge. Alternative (non-lampricide) control strategies, especially those that target the adult stage, may be important to the future of Sea Lamprey control in Lake Erie, but basic information about adult Sea Lamprey abundance or spatial distribution are lacking. As a first step toward understanding population size, spatial distribution, and habitat preferences of adult Sea Lampreys in the HEC, we used acoustic telemetry to estimate the proportion of tagged Sea Lampreys that ceased migration in each major region of the HEC. All tagged Sea Lampreys (N=27) moved upstream through the Detroit River, 59 % (16 of 27) were last detected (presumed spawning) in the St. Clair River, and 41 % (11 of 27) were last detected in Lake St. Clair, where they presumably died. No tagged Sea Lampreys entered lakes Erie or Huron or seem to have spawned in tributaries. Results from this study represent the first insights into Sea Lamprey migration behavior and distribution in the HEC and a starting point to learn more about Sea Lamprey migration in the HEC and other large river systems with acoustic telemetry.