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Lake Winnipeg Fish Community Response to Change: Integrating Individual Responses and Local Threats with Ecosystem-wide Movement and Spatial Association

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has acoustically tagged 450 Walleye fish in the Lake Winnipeg Basin and are using an array of receivers to track ecosystem-scale movements. Via the Partnership Fund, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing $438,765 to support researchers at the University of Manitoba who bring expertise and resources in metabolic stress, genomics, population modelling and spatial analysis to enhance the outcomes of the fish telemetry research, and the combined project represents a major advance to Canadian fisheries science.

As part of this multi-disciplinary project, biologists are also examining linkages between an individual Walleye's metabolic indicators and the likelihood of inter-watershed travel, while genomics experts are studying how different genes react to exposure to environmental stressors to find links with longer-term ecological parameters such as survival and migratory behavior of tagged Walleye. Population modellers are studying Lake Winnipeg's commercial gillnet fishery to define the potential vulnerability of the fishery to species that are not the target of the fishery (i.e., bycatch). New evaluation tools will help understand how fish communities respond to environmental changes including temperature, toxins, pathogens and community structure.

Project Number: CA2017.3
Year(s): 2017, 2018, 2019
Partner: University of Manitoba
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Jason Treberg, Dr. Kenneth Jeffries, Dr. Darren Gillis, University of Manitoba
Eco-region: Central Canada

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