Habitat use and small-scale residence patterns of sympatric sunfish species in a large temperate river
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) sunfish function as a trophic link between invertebrates and piscivores in temperate freshwater food webs, but little is known about their movement in large-scale riverine ecosystems. To address this, pumpkinseed and bluegill were implanted with acoustic transmitters and monitored for 5 months (June to November 2015) within a 0.39 km2 acoustic array in the Detroit River. Residence index analysis revealed site fidelity of sunfish to the side of the river they were tagged and a lack of movement across a shipping channel. Bluegill were more active at night and pumpkinseed more active during daylight hours, possibly partitioning resources on a temporal basis, unlike in smaller lakes where the species partition the littoral and pelagic habitats. Pumpkinseed presence was positively correlated with water temperature and level, whereas bluegill presence was not related to any environmental parameters examined. This study demonstrates that anthropogenic alterations (e.g., channelization) influence the movement and distribution of fishes and that fish behaviour in a large river ecosystem can differ from smaller temperate lakes.
Klinard, Natalie V.; Fisk, Aaron T.; Kessel, Steven T.; Halfyard, Edmund A.; and Colborne, Scott F.. (2018). Habitat use and small-scale residence patterns of sympatric sunfish species in a large temperate river. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 75 (7), 1059-1069.