Lake Erie Parasitic Sea Lamprey
Project Title
Testing assumptions required to estimate lake-wide parasitic sea lamprey abundance
Project Code
Project Duration
October 2015 - December 2018
Project Description
Sea lamprey population control and assessment could be improved by increased understanding of ecology and population dynamics between parasitic and spawning phases. For example, understanding factors that influence timing of entry into spawning streams could guide development of interception trapping. Further, accurate estimates of lake-wide parasitic sea lamprey abundance could an objective evaluation of control-program effectiveness. Previous attempts to estimate the number of parasitic sea lampreys in a lake resulted in estimates that were biased (inaccurate) because key assumptions were violated. We consider each assumption as a research question to be evaluated prior to implementing lake-wide mark-recapture (e.g., using coded-wire tagged sea lampreys). If assumptions are supported, mark-recapture methods may provide estimates of lake-wide adult sea lamprey abundance. Acoustic telemetry will be used at two life stages (parasitic juvenile and adult) to address the determine if: (1) timing of stream entry is related to stream water level, stream water temperature, lake water temperature, or photoperiod; (2) survival to stream entry is related to release location; (3) spawning stream selection is related to release location; and (4) acoustic tagging affects survival. Acoustic receivers (Vemco VR2W; 69 and 180 kHz) in 15 Lake Erie tributaries, incl. Detroit R., will provide time and direction of tributary entry and exit. Lampreys (n=140 per life stage per year) will be implanted with coded wire and acoustic tags and released at 7 locations in L. Erie in early winter (parasitic juveniles) and early spring (adults) 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18.
Management Benefits
Participating Organizations