Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Natural Resources

First Advisor

J. Ellen Marsden

Abstract

Since their discovery in Yellowstone Lake in 1994, Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) have been the object of an intensive gillnet suppression program due to their predation on native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri). Managers are also interested in targeting early life stages to augment suppression. A benthic sled was used to sample for Lake Trout eggs at 24 locations, hypothesized to be spawning sites, that encompassed a range of depths, slopes, and substrate composition to determine the location and characteristics of spawning sites in Yellowstone Lake. Lake Trout eggs were collected at seven sites, five of which had not been previously confirmed as spawning sites. Habitat characterization at these sites indicate Lake Trout spawning in Yellowstone Lake is limited to areas with rocky substrate, but is not constrained to areas with interstitial spaces or contour breaks as is seen within the species' native range. Lake Trout fry were captured around Carrington Island, an additional spawning site in Yellowstone Lake, in 2014 and 2015. These fry were significantly larger at each developmental stage, consumed more food beginning at earlier stages, and were captured much later into the summer than fry captured at a spawning site in Lake Champlain. The lack of potential egg and fry predators in Yellowstone Lake could be driving these differences in spawning site selection and fry behavior. This information will allow managers to identify additional spawning locations for suppression and evaluate the impact their efforts might have on the Lake Trout population in Yellowstone Lake.

Language

en

Number of Pages

141 p.

Available for download on Wednesday, December 20, 2017

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