US Long-Term Ecological Research Network

Eradication via destratification: whole-lake mixing to selectively remove rainbow smelt, a cold-water invasive species.

Rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) are an invasive species associated with several negative changes to lake ecosystems in northern Wisconsin. We combined empirically based bioenergetics models with empirically based hydrodynamic models to assess lake destratification as a potential rainbow smelt eradication method. The dataset reported here is the otolith data from 20 age 1plus individuals.
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Rainbow smelt were sampled from Crystal Lake to obtain age and growth estimates. Samples were taken using vertical gillnets and beach seines during late July and early August of 2009. Annual growth was estimated using sectioned sagittal otoliths from 25 individuals spanning the observed length range (31–164 mm). Otoliths were mounted in epoxy and a transverse section was removed using a low-speed saw. Annual growth estimates were measured along a radius from the origin to the edge oriented perpendicular to annual growth rings. Age-specific length was estimated using the biological intercept method of back-calculation. The biological intercept was calculated by applying the average rainbow smelt otolith radius at time of hatch, to our observed linear relationship of natural-log-transformed total otolith radius and total fish length. Of the 25 individuals aged using otoliths, 5 were YOYs. As a result, annual growth was only back-calculated using the 20 older individuals. Weight at age was determined from back-calculated lengths using a weight–length relationship derived from 100 individuals captured during late July and early August of 2009.
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