Fighting Island Multi-Species Assessment
Project Title
Fighting Island Multi-Species Assessment
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Project Duration
June 2015 - December 2018
Project Description
Understanding the movements, habitat-use, and foraging patterns of fishes provides information necessary to not only establish ecological information about community structure, but also guide management and restoration efforts. The Detroit River, the lower component of the Huron-Erie Corridor, has undergone major alterations related to commercial shipping, the development of the shorelines for industry and residences, and industrial pollution but is also a site of major conservation efforts aimed at restoring and maintaining healthy fish and wildlife populations in the area. In this project we are interested in how fish species within the Detroit River utilize the available habitat and the overall food web structure within the river. We chose to focus on a 750 m stretch of the Detroit River along Fighting Island, an area of restoration efforts after years as a dumping ground for industrial waste products, and an area has an abundant fish population made up of species that seasonally migrate through the area, use it as a nursery habitat, or reside in the river for much of the year. We are particularly interested in the species likely to reside in the Detroit River for extended time periods. Using an acoustic array of paired 69 kHz and 180 kHz receivers we are monitoring the movement patterns of prey fish (pumpkinseed, bluegill, and yellow perch) and two piscivorous predators (bowfin and largemouth bass). In addition to monitoring the movements of these fish, we are collecting local information on a number of environmental variables (temperature, water depth, flow rates, etc.) and food web structure using stable isotope analysis of diet across a variety of species. Additionally, the GLATOS network provides the opportunity to observe if fish move out of our focal area, e.g. seasonal migrations during the fall and spring, by providing coverage into both Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. It is our goal to understand how multiple species interact with each other and the available habitat along Fighting Island, providing insights into community structure within the Detroit River and this area of restoration efforts.
Management Benefits
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