Reconstructing fish movements between coastal wetlands and nearshore habitats of the Great Lakes

Donald G Uzarski, Joel C Hoffman, Lee Szabo Schoen, James John Student, Michael E. Sierszen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The use of resources from multiple habitats has been shown to be important to the production of aquatic consumers. To quantify the support of Great Lakes coastal wetland (WL) and nearshore (NS) habitats to yellow perch, we used otolith microchemistry to trace movements between the habitats. WL and NS water and fish samples were collected from lakes Huron and Michigan for water and otolith trace element analysis. Recently deposited otolith-edge Sr : Ca and Ba : Ca from otoliths were strongly correlated with the chemistry of the water in which fish were caught. In general, Sr : Ca and Ba : Ca in otoliths were significantly greater for individuals collected from WL areas. Because of these observed chemical differences between WL and NS habitats, quadratic discriminant function analysis (QDFA) was used to classify individuals with high accuracy to the habitat from which they were collected. We then combined the predictive abilities of QDFA with the otolith chemistry transect data that represents an individuals' entire life, to classify habitat use through each fish's life. Our results suggest larval use of WL habitats as well as three life histories for adult yellow perch. These strategies include (1) fish utilizing WL once annually (2) WL residents (3) WL residence as juveniles followed by movement to nearshore as adults. This application represents a novel use of transect otolith microchemistry to reconstruct fish movements between freshwater environments across entire life spans at fine scales. These results suggest that regular movements of fish may facilitate the production of coastal fishes in the Great Lakes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1800--1813
Number of pages14
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Reconstructing fish movements between coastal wetlands and nearshore habitats of the Great Lakes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this