The effects of shoreline habitat and land development on larval fish assemblages in Lake Huron bays, Les Cheneaux, Michigan

TitleThe effects of shoreline habitat and land development on larval fish assemblages in Lake Huron bays, Les Cheneaux, Michigan
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsEagan NM
Academic DepartmentSchool of Natural Resources and Environment
DegreeMaster of Science
Number of Pages42 pp.
UniversityUniversity of Michigan
CityAnn Arbor, MI
KeywordsWATER
Abstract

Concern over fisheries in historically pristine northern Lake Huron has increased with shoreline development due to growing resident and tourist populations. The objective of this study was to survey the larval fish assemblages of Les Cheneaux bays, assess differences in assemblages among bays and shoreline habitat types, and to determine whether shoreline development has impacted inshore larval fish assemblages. I sampled larval fish in permanent marsh, seasonal marsh and beach habitat from ice-off until early August in three Les Cheneaux bays: Cedarville, Mackinac and Mismer, ranging from somewaht impacted to almost undisturbed. Larvae of Coregonidae, Percidae, Gadidae, Centrarchidae and Cyprinidae families were found in all bays. Four taxa, Coregonidae, Perca flavescens, Lepomis spp and Cyprinidae, were sufficiently abundant for comparisons among habitats. Habitat utilization of permanent marsh or seasonal marsh and beach varied among groups of larvae. Cyprinids were significantly more abundant (p<0.05) in Mismer Bay permanent marsh than in Cedarville Bay permanent marsh, Mackinac Bay permanent marsh, and all seasonal marsh or beach habitats. Lepomis spp were significantly more abundant (p<0.05) in Mackinac Bay and Mismer Bay permanent marshes than in all seasonal and beach habitats. Overall, abundance trends indicate that the Cedarville Bay larval fish community may be slightly impacted by the present level of shoreline development, although the health of the larval fish community in all the bays and habitats is high.