Great Lakes Smallmouth Bass Connectivity
Project Title
Defining Connectivity of Smallmouth Bass Populations in Green Bay and Lake Erie Using Genomics and Telemetry
Project Code
Project Duration
March 2023 - December 2026
Project Description
During May-June 2023 we collected 30 smallmouth bass from each of four tributaries (Oconto, Peshtigo, Menominee, and Cedar rivers) and three small bays (Egg Harbor, Sister Bay, and Sawyer Harbor) that are known spawning sites within the Green Bay ecosystem (N = 210 fish) and two tributaries to Lake Erie (Conneaut Creek and the Grand River; N = 60 fish). Sites within each habitat type (tributary or small bay) are within 60 km of one another. Bass were implanted with InnovaSea® V13 acoustic tags (˜ 3-yr battery life) and fins were clipped for genetic analyses. More than 100 acoustic receivers will be used to determine if bass return to the same spawning sites in 2024 and 2025 and if bass spawning in tributaries remain in (river-resident) or exit (river-run) rivers after spawning. DNA from all tagged fish will be genotyped using restriction-site-associated DNA (RAD) sequencing. Data from 20,000-50,000 genetic markers (SNPs) will be analyzed to estimate migration among spawning groups and habitat types and establish if genetic patterns are consistent between Green Bay and Lake Erie. In May-June 2024, we will collect 30 bass each from Egg Harbor and Sister Bay in Green Bay and move them to Sawyer Harbor (simulating displacement occurring in competitive fishing events) where they will be implanted with acoustic tags and released. Lines of receivers deployed between bays will help in describing behavior of displaced bass. Return rates of displaced bass will be used as priors in spatially-explicit genetic models to predict the effects of displacement on stock structure.
Participating Organizations