As one of the most highly prized game fish in the upper Midwest, muskellunge (also known as muskies) and northern pike help support a $20 billion sport fishing industry. Facing declines in natural reproduction, a team of scientists, including a Michigan State University inland fisheries researcher, has developed a list of research and management needs to help keep the fish -- and the industry -- thriving.
'Muskies and northern pike are the largest predatory fishes in this region, making them high-profile fisheries,' explained Joe Nohner, doctoral student in fisheries at the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. 'By supporting strong pike and muskellunge populations, we can provide better fishing opportunities and a strong recreational fishing industry.'
Working with scientists from across the region, Nohner helped prioritize research and management needs for muskie and northern pike, including:
According to Nohner, most of the past research and management programs have focused on adult fish and protection from overfishing. While managers and anglers focus on adult fish populations, some fisheries have been undercut by declining natural reproduction. Fish populations have been kept up through stocking, so in many areas the fishery isn't self-sustaining.
'We believe we need a more holistic approach to managing these fishes,' Nohner said. 'We want to include genetics, habitat needs at all life stages, and include the effects of humans in the equation. It's somewhat daunting, but new technologies will help us meet the challenge.'
Nohner has started tackling part of the challenge himself, creating a computer mapping technique to predict the location of muskie spawning habitats.
By studying 28 lakes in northern Wisconsin, he and his colleague found that muskies preferred spawning in bays with moderately sloping lake bottoms and that the fish also preferred not to spawn along shorelines with houses or other development.
'Lakes with more development are less likely to be muskie spawning habitats,' Nohner said. 'Fisheries managers, county commissioners and lakeshore property owners may have to consider where development is located and how that will affect the fish.
'We found that muskie spawning site selection may be more complex than previously thought,' he continued. 'There is not just one particular characteristic that makes the fish gravitate to an area for spawning. There seem to be several factors that affect the location, which is why we need a modelling program to help identify those critical habitats.'
The paper 'Muskellunge and northern pike ecology and management: important issues and research needs' is published in the June issue of Fisheries. Besides Nohner, other authors are Derek Crane, John Farrell and Kevin Kapuscinski, of the State University of New York-Syracuse; Loren Miller, of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; James Diana, of the University of Michigan; and John Casselman, of Queen's University.
The paper 'Muskellunge spawning site selection in northern Wisconsin and a GIS-based predictive model' is published in the February issue of the North American journal of Fisheries Management. Nohner and Diana are the authors. The research was funded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin, the University of Michigan and the Alvan Macauley Fellowship.
The Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability integrates ecology with socioeconomics, demography and other disciplines to conduct cutting-edge research on ecological sustainability on local, national and global scales.
Sue Nichols | EurekAlert!
Cereals use chemical defenses in a multifunctional manner against different herbivores
06.12.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
Can rice filter water from ag fields?
05.12.2018 | American Society of Agronomy
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy