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Development of descriptive indices for the spawning and nursery habitat for Great Lakes cisco and their application to areas targeted for restoration

Matt Paufve, Suresh Sethi, Lars Rudstam (Cornell), Brian Lantry, Brian Weidel (USGS), (Funded by USGS)

Cisco (Coregonus artedi) are a native fish species of conservation concern in the Great Lakes, and are the subject of ongoing management in Lake Ontario. Characteristics of suitable spawning habitat for cisco are not well described and are needed for prioritizing areas targeted for restoration activities. To inform restoration efforts in Lake Ontario and our general understanding of cisco spawning ecology we studied spawning sites of established populations in Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Ontario. We used this information to (1) define quality habitat for cisco spawning and (2) make inferences about cisco spawning habitat selection and spawning strategies in the Great Lakes. We also compared egg sizes of lake whitefish and cisco and found that egg size could be used to identify the two species.  Matt Paufve completed his MSc in 2019.