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UT scientist to discuss importance of rivers for Lake Erie fish Oct. 19

As concerns about algal blooms, fish deaths and invasive Asian carp spawning are under the microscope in Lake Erie tributaries, an aquatic ecologist at The University of Toledo is highlighting the value of healthy rivers for fish in the Great Lakes.

Dr. Christine Mayer, professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences, is specifically targeting the Maumee, Sandusky and Detroit rivers in her lecture titled “Swimming Upstream: The Importance of Western Lake Erie’s Rivers to Fish Populations.”

Mayer

The free, public event will take place Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. at the UT Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon.

“The rivers and river mouths are a small area compared to the whole lake, but they hold some key habitats for fish, such as the type of environment required for reproduction,” Mayer said. “Some fish species, such as walleye, spawn both in the lake and in the rivers, but having river stocks helps increase the diversity of our ‘fish stock portfolio,’ just like your financial portfolio.”

While the river habitats are important to native fish, Mayer said there also is potential for newly invasive species, such as grass carp, to use rivers for spawning.

“Rivers are highly affected by human alteration of habitat and inputs from the land,” Mayer said. “It is important to try to envision what kinds of conservation or restoration are best suited for the three big rivers entering western Lake Erie to contribute the most benefit to Lake Erie fisheries. Each river has unique issues.”

Mayer’s talk is part of the UT Lake Erie Center’s Public Lecture Series.