Theme overview

Investigations that explore the influence of physical processes on fish recruitment have become commonplace in marine ecosystems, likely because they have improved the ability of agencies to both understand and predict recruitment. Because (1) the Laurentian Great Lakes share many of the same physical attributes of marine systems, (2) the ecologically and economically important fishes (e.g., percids, clupeids, coregonines) of the Great Lakes have life-history attributes similar to pelagic and coastal marine fishes, and (3) recruitment variation in several Great Lakes fisheries has been shown to be regulated by physical processes, this research theme has strongly encouraged the use of physical-biological coupling approaches in Great Lakes fisheries applications (see theme paper by Ludsin et al. 2014). For these same reasons, this theme has also encouraged more interaction between marine and freshwater recruitment scientists, with the hope that knowledge transfer between these groups would benefit fisheries management in both types of ecosystems.

The research being encouraged by this theme supports several Council of Lake Committee (CLC) Research Priorities, including: 1) What are the stock/spawner-recruitment relationships in desired fish populations?; 2)What are the limiting factors and causes leading to reduced or lost recruitment of desired fish species and what are the solutions to remedy this lost recruitment?; 3) What are the spatial and temporal dynamics of invasive species in Lake Erie and what are their impacts on desired fisheries productivity and yields?; and 4) How can we best monitor, manage, and maintain optimum mesotrophic conditions in the west, central and nearshore east basins of Lake Erie? This latter question relates specifically to an Ecosystem Conditions Objective of the CLC.

Theme paper

Ludsin, S. A., K. M. DeVanna, and R. E. H. Smith. 2014. Physical-biological coupling and challenge of understanding fish recruitment in freshwater lakes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 71:775-794. (pdf)

Theme leaders

Kenneth Frank
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
P.O. Box 1006
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4A2
Phone: (902) 426-3498
Stuart Ludsin
The Ohio State University
Aquatic Ecology Laboratory
226 Research Center
1314 Kinnear Road
Phone: (614) 292-1613

Relevant resources

A complete list of completion reports and scientific papers resulting from this theme can be found in the Commission's publication database.