Fish & Wildlife of Michigan's lakes
From Renae Siler
(00:00) Native bivalve mollusks in Duck Lake, Muskegon County. Tom Tisue, Muskegon Community College
If you’ve spent some time on or in your favorite lake, you’re likely aware of its community of bivalve mollusks (aka “clams” or mussels). Besides being beloved of wading youngsters, this community represents an important but under-appreciated part of the many lakes’ fauna, one that is unfortunately under threat from changing conditions. Mussels play an important role in aquatic food webs by filtering large volumes of water; by providing food for fish, muskrats, and raccoons; and by creating habitats for other organisms in the form of shell debris. Duck Lake is a 260-acre drainage lake in Muskegon County, Michigan, which debouches directly into Lake Michigan. To better understand the abundance and diversity of Duck Lake’s mussels, volunteers conducted a preliminary survey of them in Summer 2019. The goals of this work were to determine the number of native species in the lake and to make a preliminary estimate of their abundance. In this presentation, we share our experience as largely self-taught volunteers in conducting the survey. We address the skills needed, the survey design, problems faced along the way, and the principal results. Major findings to date include four species of large native mussels, which occur along with invasive zebra mussels and tiny native fingernail or pea clams. The investigative team did not find any invasive species besides zebra mussels, such as the Asian corbiculids that are common in nearby watersheds. None of the large native species appears to be particularly abundant, although all can be found at many places. Anecdotal evidence suggests continued survey work may reveal the presence of additional species.
(27:40) Discovering dragonflies. Emily Heald, North Lakeland Discovery Center
Evolving over 300 million years ago, dragonflies can fly backwards, intercept prey mid-air, see 360 degrees around them, and they live most of their lives underwater! Join us on an exploration of the life history of these wonderful winged creatures as we dive and swoop into their interesting body parts, habitat requirements, and importance in our environment.
(58:04) Great Lakes fisheries heritage and the Coregonus group of fish. Stewart McFerran, Freshwater Reporter
The cisco (Coregonus artidi) are haloarctic. Each niche has its own kind of Coregonus in different regions of the North. There are thirty species with many names. A staple of the Great Lakes fisheries, this native group includes the whitefish (Coregonus cupliaformies) which has been a staple of the Great Lakes commercial fishery and is becoming an important sports fish. The Coregonus was at one time the most valuable group of fishes in the Great Lakes. Objectives: (1) learn about the Coregonus group of fishes; (2) discover the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail; (3) understand why promoting native fish species is important; and (4) find out how you can help promote cisco and the Coregonids. Learn about “Darwin’s Finches of the Great Lakes” in this session. They are a fish that was geologically separated and evolved into different species as the glaciers receded. New rules about who may catch what fish are being established this year. But the decline of the coregonine has continued for twenty years. Sports fish available to catch by hook and line have also declined in those years. The resource “pie” has grown smaller. Native fish species are sure to play a role in the future of the Great Lakes Fishery. A Sea Grant initiative, the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail is a way to interact with the fishing past of the Great Lakes and look to the future.