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Life at the top. Lake ecotype influences the foraging pattern, metabolic costs and life history of an apex fish predator

Using acoustic telemetry data and acceleration sensors, the authors compared the metabolic costs of lake trout between four populations in lakes with varying types of prey. They determined that lake trout feeding behaviour was characterized by clearly delineated periods of active hunting and rest. Populations with prey that were smaller or more difficult to catch had fewer resting periods and expended more energy during active periods.

Assessing the Potential Cumulative Impacts of Land Use and Climate Change on Freshwater Fish in Northern Ontario

The subarctic boreal landscape of northern Ontario is of global importance thanks to the ecological intactness of terrestrial and freshwater systems spanning an area larger than California. This region also contains some of the largest undammed rivers remaining in the world, thousands of lakes and the largest wetland complex in North America. The region’s diverse freshwater ecosystems support at least 50 species of freshwater fish, making this home to the largest area of high fish biodiversity with low human impacts within Canada. Healthy aquatic systems in Northern Ontario are important to First Nations and these systems also offer important ecological and social services to other Ontarians including climate regulation and recreational fishing. This region is also rich in natural resource potential including minerals and extensive hydroelectric potential. This study addresses a gap in current piecemeal planning efforts and considers the cumulative impacts of new land use and climate change on four freshwater fish species: walleye, lake sturgeon, lake whitefish, and brook trout across an area of 440,000 square kilometres. We apply land use and climate change scenarios within the ALCES Online toolkit to examine the impacts of these scenarios on expert-derived models for fish sustainability.

Freshwater fish in Ontario's boreal - Status, Conservation and Potential Impacts of Development

This WCS Canada report presents information on the fish species of Northern Ontario’s boreal region with a particular focus on those of high economic or cultural importance. The effects of various types of resource development activities on freshwater environments and fish are reviewed and recommendations are made for policy and research to enhance freshwater fish conservation and management in the region.

Climate Change and Freshwater Fish in Ontario's Far North

This report was produced as a result of a workshop including 33 participants from provincial government ministries, First Nations communities, research organizations, and academic institutions, held by WCS Canada in partnership with The Kresge Foundation. The participants sought to synthesize information about the potential impacts of climate change on freshwater fish in northern Ontario, with a focus on identifying more vulnerable fish species, generating research and monitoring recommendations, and exploring land use and adaptation options.

Life history differences parallel environmental differences among North American lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) populations

Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) exhibit substantial life history variation range-wide and at a local scale. This study addresses two hypotheses that have been proposed to account for this: (i) over the zoogeographic range, climatic conditions are associated with life history differences; and (ii) within smaller geographic regions, physical lake attributes are associated with life history differences.

Quantifying historical, contemporary, and anthropogenic influences on the genetic structure and diversity of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) populations in northern Ontario

Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) are a species of conservation concern across their range, with impoundments and exploitation acting as significant impediments to their recovery. Northern Ontario contains some of the few remaining intact systems with healthy lake sturgeon populations because of low exploitation and undammed, unregulated watersheds. Although preliminary research suggests that northern Ontario lake sturgeon are genetically distinct from depleted sturgeon populations in the Great Lakes basin, this region represents a large gap in our understanding of genetic diversity of lake sturgeon.

Intraspecific variation in thermal tolerance and acclimation capacity in brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) - physiological implications for climate change

Cold-water fishes are becoming increasingly vulnerable due to thermal stress and habitat loss from increasing water temperatures. Although the long-term persistence of cold-adapted species will depend on their ability to cope with and adapt to changing thermal conditions, very little is known about the scope and variation of thermal tolerance within and among species’ populations and evolutionary lineages. This study examines the upper thermal tolerance and capacity for acclimation in three captive populations of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) from different ancestral thermal environments. It further analyses how populations of brook trout will cope with the changing climate.

Genetic and environmental influences on life history traits in lake trout

The lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) exhibits substantial variation in life history traits, such as growth, maturation schedule, and reproductive investment, that are critical in shaping population dynamics. This study assesses the environmental and genetic influences on lake trout life history traits and how these results could be used in making management decisions.

Early Life History Variation among Hatchery- and Wild-Origin Lake Trout Reared in a Hatchery Environment

Hatcheries play a key role in augmenting populations for conservation, harvest, or both, although rapid domestication and adaptation to hatchery conditions may lead to fish that are maladapted to natural environments. Three processes may lead to domestication: (1) negative selection against fish adapted to wild environments, (2) positive selection for fish that thrive in artificial conditions, or (3) relaxation of selection pressures. This study contrasts early life history traits and survival among wild- and hatchery-origin lake trout Salvelinus namaycush reared in a common hatchery environment to address the hypotheses of processes leading to domestication.

Intraspecific Differences in Thermal Biology among Inland Lake Trout Populations

The ability of coldwater species and populations to respond to the predicted temperature increases associated with climate change will largely depend on existing adaptive potential within and among populations. Southern inland populations of Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush are broadly characterized by two ecotypes (small and large bodied) which differ in their trophic ecology, life history traits, and body size. This study investigates population-specific differences in thermal performance (growth, temperature tolerance, and temperature preference) and whether the differences were consistent between ecotypes. It further explores the role of acclimation temperature on growth and thermal performance in two representative ecotypic populations.
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