Presentation Title

Seasonal and Spawning Movements of Walleye (Sander vitreus) in a Fragmented Lake

Abstract

Walleye (Sander vitreus) are an important species due to their ecological and societal values and roles as a top predator and a popular sport fish in freshwater ecosystems. In Lake Champlain, historic data and recent assessments indicate that walleye population numbers have been declining for over 60 years, potentially due to habitat fragmentation by causeways, recreational and commercial fishing pressure, and egg and larval predation by invasive species. The decline of wild walleye in Lake Champlain is ongoing and poorly understood, so more research about spawning movements, among other ecological knowledge, can help contribute to management of the population to inform and guide decisions. Over 253,000 detections of walleye have been recorded in Lake Champlain with the use of acoustic transmitters and receivers, which will 1) help contribute to understanding of walleye movement ecology in relation to home range, site fidelity, and inter-seasonal movement, and 2) address the knowledge gaps surrounding walleye movement to and from spawning sites and inform management regarding problematic causeways. Preliminary results suggest that walleye have a limited home range based on their original tagging location, the majority of individuals are loyal to spawning sites, walleye exhibit far fewer transitions between receivers in the winter and spawning seasons compared to summer, and some causeways retard seasonal and spawning movement.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

J. Ellen Marsden

Secondary Mentor NetID

bmosher1

Secondary Mentor Name

Brittany Mosher

Graduate Student Mentors

Matthew Futia

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Program/Major

Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

Primary Research Category

Vermont Studies

Second College (optional)

Honors College

Secondary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Seasonal and Spawning Movements of Walleye (Sander vitreus) in a Fragmented Lake

Walleye (Sander vitreus) are an important species due to their ecological and societal values and roles as a top predator and a popular sport fish in freshwater ecosystems. In Lake Champlain, historic data and recent assessments indicate that walleye population numbers have been declining for over 60 years, potentially due to habitat fragmentation by causeways, recreational and commercial fishing pressure, and egg and larval predation by invasive species. The decline of wild walleye in Lake Champlain is ongoing and poorly understood, so more research about spawning movements, among other ecological knowledge, can help contribute to management of the population to inform and guide decisions. Over 253,000 detections of walleye have been recorded in Lake Champlain with the use of acoustic transmitters and receivers, which will 1) help contribute to understanding of walleye movement ecology in relation to home range, site fidelity, and inter-seasonal movement, and 2) address the knowledge gaps surrounding walleye movement to and from spawning sites and inform management regarding problematic causeways. Preliminary results suggest that walleye have a limited home range based on their original tagging location, the majority of individuals are loyal to spawning sites, walleye exhibit far fewer transitions between receivers in the winter and spawning seasons compared to summer, and some causeways retard seasonal and spawning movement.