Theme overview

The re-establishment of native deepwater fishes research theme is intended to coordinate research related to lake trout Salvelinus namaycush, ciscoes Coregonus spp., and sculpin Cottus spp. and Myoxocephalus spp. re-establishment in the Great Lakes. Impediments to re-establishment are still largely unknown, fundamental questions exist with respect to the biological, ecological, and genetic diversity of extant cisco populations, and relatively little is known about the ecological role of sculpins in deep-water food webs.

Lakes with diverse, intact native fish communities are models for understanding altered ecosystems. These model systems can provide an understanding of historical or restored conditions (e.g., habitat use, morphology, behavior, and dynamics) and a context within which to interpret contemporary patterns and processes. For example, Lake Superior contains an intact assemblage of ciscoes (subgenus, Leucichthys) and their predators. Studies of either remnant or small isolated residual populations, while important, should compare results to those of larger functioning ecosystems to provide the appropriate ecological context for interpreting these observations. We encourage cross-basin proposals that collect and analyze comparable metrics, behaviors, and other ecological observations from both Lake Superior (or other northern Great Lakes) and newly studied small populations remaining in the lower lakes.

Theme paper

Zimmerman, M. S. and C. C. Krueger. 2009. An ecosystem perspective on re-establishing native deepwater fishes in the Laurentian Great Lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 29:1352-1371.

Theme leaders

Andrew Muir
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
2100 Commonwealth Blvd.,
Suite 100
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Phone: (734) 669-3016
Charles Bronte
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Green Bay National Fish and Wildlife COnservation Office
2661 Scott Tower Drive
New Franken, WI 54229
Phone: (920) 866-1761

Relevant resources

A complete list of completion reports and scientific papers resulting from this theme can be found in the Commission's publication database.

First Sculpin Workshop Report - The first Reintroduction of Native Fishes Research Theme sculpin workshop was held 6-7 June 2017 at the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center, Ann Arbor, MI. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss historical and current research relevant to sculpin biology, ecology, and re-establishment efforts in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.

Fourth reintroduction of Native Fishes Workshop Report - The fourth reintroduction of native fishes workshop was held 12-14 December 2012 at Weber's Inn, Ann Arbor, MI. The purpose of the workshop was to provide a forum to discuss research relevant to lake trout, cisco, and sculpin biology and re-establishment in the Great Lakes in support of the research theme.