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Food web interactions in Lake Chelan: Impacts of predation on salmonids Erik Schoen & Dave Beauchamp Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research.

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Presentation on theme: "Food web interactions in Lake Chelan: Impacts of predation on salmonids Erik Schoen & Dave Beauchamp Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 Food web interactions in Lake Chelan: Impacts of predation on salmonids Erik Schoen & Dave Beauchamp Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences University of Washington

2 Lake Chelan 9 th deepest lake in the world (453 m) Over 80 km long Ultraoligotrophic Important fisheries and recreation resource

3 Native Bull trout (extirpated) Burbot Westslope cutthroat trout (collapsed) Northern pikeminnow Sculpins Three-spine stickleback Suckers Introduced Lake trout Chinook salmon (collapsed) Smallmouth bass Rainbow trout (no longer stocked) Kokanee Mysis relicta shrimp Top Predators Zooplankton & Invertebrate Consumers

4 Native Burbot Westslope cutthroat trout (collapsed) Northern pikeminnow Introduced Lake trout Chinook salmon (collapsed) Smallmouth bass Kokanee Mysis relicta shrimp Top Predators Zooplankton & Invertebrate Consumers

5 Rapid kokanee collapses –Flathead Lake, MT –Priest Lake, ID –Whitefish Lake, MT Intensive lake trout suppression efforts –Yellowstone Lake, WY –Lake Pend Oreille, ID –Swan Lake, MT Spencer et al A classic management dilemma: predator-prey imbalances in Western lakes

6 Key questions What are the major predators of salmonids in Lake Chelan? Especially for kokanee and westslope cutthroat trout How does predation operate? Spatial, seasonal, and size-class patterns Is predation by the lake trout population likely to increase?

7 Basin differences: morphometry Wapato Basin Lucerne Basin

8 Deep Lucerne Basin Pelagic Littoral Profundal Basin differences: habitat “Shallow” Wapato Basin

9 Lake trout density 7-fold greater in shallow Wapato Basin Northern pikeminnow density similar in both basins Burbot density 60% greater in deep Lucerne Basin Smallmouth bass captured in Wapato Basin only Basin differences: piscivore distribution

10 Quantifying Predation Impacts Photo: M. Mazur Combine Bioenergetics Modeling & Directed Field Sampling

11 Modeling Process: Simulation day 0 Modeling Process: Simulation day 0 → day t Thermal Experience thru time Diet proportions by Wt thru time Prey Energy Density (J/g) Growth: W 0 →W t Predator Energy Density (J/g) Bioenergetics Model C = M + W + G Consumption Estimate for 1 fish from 1 age class or growth cohort How much food must be Consumed to satisfy observed Growth? or How much Growth given Consumption? Daily time step

12 Modeling Process Thermal Experience Temporal Diet Composition Prey Energy Density Consumer Growth Predator Energy Density Bioenergetics Model Consumption Estimate Consumer Size Structure & Abundance Population Consumption Biomass of Exploitable prey Consumption as % of Prey Biomass or Production

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15 Gut contents -Diet Muscle tissue: -Stable isotopes -Contaminants -Genetics Scales & Otoliths: -Age & Back-calculate size-at-age

16 Lake trout growth and mortality Lake trout aged with opercles (Sharp & Bernard 1988) Break-and-burn technique with otoliths did not yield usable age data Growth curves differed between basins (L ∞ greater in Lucerne Basin) Mortality estimated from catch curves (Z = 0.34; annual S=71%)

17 Lake trout diet Mysis and cyprinids were major prey in Wapato Basin In Lucerne Basin, kokanee was major prey of large lake trout Lake trout and Chinook salmon were minor prey Mysids Cyprinids Kokanee

18 Lake trout prey consumption: Size patterns Smallest size class consumed most total prey Largest size class consumed most salmonid prey Largest size class: 9+ yr old, 2+ kg TL > 24”

19 Lake trout prey consumption: seasonal patterns Overall, more prey consumed during stratified July-Dec period Predation on kokanee shifted seasonally between basins Most lake trout cannibalism during summer x7

20 Annual prey consumption per 1000 lake trout LucerneWapato Biomass consumed (kg) Total prey2,5273,277 Fish1,5491,011 Salmonids Number of prey consumed Kokanee4,7641,198 Chinook1380 Lake trout01,057 6 kokanee per lake trout per year

21 Key lake trout results Lake trout density ~ 7x greater in Wapato Basin Lake trout eat 4x more kokanee per capita in Lucerne Basin Lake trout > 550 mm fork length are key predators, especially in Wapato Basin Management actions may be slow to affect lake trout predation: key size class is > 9 years old No cutthroat trout found in lake trout diets (n = 219 non-empty stomachs)

22 Stable isotope analysis pelagic littoral trophic level ZooplanktonCrayfish Northern pikeminnowKokanee Lake trout

23 Stable isotope analysis pelagic littoral trophic level

24 Chinook salmon diet Few stomach samples Quantified diet by stable isotope mixing model (n = 6 Chinook, mm FL) Diet dominated by Mysis Kokanee made up ~5% of diet Consistent with diet data from salmon derbies in 1990s

25 Northern pikeminnow diet Smaller pikeminnow ate mostly invertebrates Only largest pikeminnow ate kokanee and unidentified salmonids, and only in Wapato Basin

26 Burbot diet Large burbot in Wapato Basin ate mostly fish, including unidentified salmonids Burbot in Lucerne Basin ate mostly invertebrates Small sample sizes

27 Smallmouth bass diet Cyprinids, suckers, and crayfish comprised most of diets Sample size small, mostly from summer Bass captured in Wapato Basin only Summer Seasonal segregation from salmonids Currently no juvenile cutthroat trout present In Wapato Basin to attract predation

28 Key results: other piscivores Large northern pikeminnow and burbot consumed kokanee and unidentified salmonids, but only in Wapato Basin Good news for kokanee, which spend most of year in Lucerne Basin No cutthroat trout identified in diet of any species (n = 1296 total stomachs, 896 non-empty)

29 Implications for managers Photo: Anton Jones

30 Acknowledgements Funding: USGS, Chelan County PUD No. 1, UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Lake Chelan Sportsmen’s Association Nathanael Overman, Anna Buettner, Chris Sergeant, Martin Grassley, Brittany Long, Cara Menard, Cathy Ekblad, Mike Shepard, Erin Lowery Anton and Sandy Jones, Frank and Patricia Clark, and Joe Heinlen Phil Archibald, Mallory Lenz, Robert Sheehan, and US Forest Service Art Viola, Matt Polacek and WDFW Reed Glesne, Vicki Gempko, and NPS Jeff Osborn, Steve Hays and Chelan PUD Lake Chelan Fish Hatchery

31 Questions?

32 Lake Chelan kokanee thrive after lake trout and Mysis become established Sources: WDFW stocking records, Chelan PUD 2005, Brown 1984, DES 2000

33 Increased Mysis aggregation at shallower sites Deep Lucerne Basin Depth (m) Shallow Wapato Basin Depth (m)

34 Bioenergetics Model Growth Consumption = + Metabolism + Waste


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