Predation Risk and Prey Fish Vertical Migration in Lake Superior: Insights from an Individual Based Model of Siscowet (Salvelinus namaycush)

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 1:50 PM
303B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Thomas R. Hrabik , Department of Biology, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Duluth, MN
Brian M. Roth , Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Tyler Ahrenstorff , Fisheries Research, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Brainerd, MN
Drivers of movement patterns in prey fishes are often multifactorial in nature, but difficult to discern in large lake ecosystems.  Our objectives were to examine interactions between predatory siscowet lake trout and two prey, kiyi and deepwater sculpin, under different modeling scenarios to address ramifications of prey distribution strategies on foraging by siscowet.  We built an individual based model (IBM) of free moving siscowet to examine changes in predation rate on prey species given four scenarios of prey distribution.  The scenarios included: 1) the nominal scenario where kiyi perform diel vertical movements (DVM) as observed in western Lake Superior across seasons; 2) a random distribution scenario where siscowet move randomly; 3) a no DVM scenario where kiyi maintain position near the bottom 24hrs a day; and 4) a no DVM scenario where kiyi maintain position near 35-m 24hrs a day.  In the nominal scenario, there was a high level of agreement between simulated distribution, growth and diet of siscowets relative to observations in western Lake Superior. In scenarios 3 and 4, when kiyi maintained their distribution at 35-m or near the bottom, predation rates by siscowet were approximately 14 times and 2 times higher, respectively, compared to the normal strategy