A Flume Study of Great Lakes Larval Fish Olfactory Orientation

Monday, August 18, 2014
Exhibit Hall 400AB (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Timothy Malinich , Forest and Natural Resources, Purdue, West Lafayette, IN
Kevin Pangle , Biology and Institute of Great Lakes Research, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI
Larval fish dispersal through wind driven currents has been a growing focus within Great Lakes research; however, the influence of behavior on such dispersal has not been tested. Larval fishes may orientate to different environmental cues and use swimming behaviors to navigate or retain their position within important habitats. Using a flume experiment, we examined the sensitivity of larval Great Lakes fishes to increasing ratios of nearshore or offshore waters with a well water source. Water and a natural assemblage of nearshore fish larvae used in the experiment were collected from northern Lake Michigan off of Beaver Island. Results of our study suggest that larval fish are capable of responding to environmental cues from two different water sources, indicating a potential to orient toward an environment based on olfactory cues. Larvae showed heightened attractions to increases in nearshore water compared to offshore or well water sources. Larval water choice was also more distinct when the ratio between water types was high. This preliminary study into orientation of Great Lakes larval fishes demonstrates the capacity of these fish to orientate to olfactory cues and indicates the need to consider active movement in future studies of larval dispersal in the Great Lakes.