Research Seminar Series: Modeling the Impacts of Forage Fish Invasion and Native Piscivore Establishment on the Food Web of Lake Champlain

Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Online - Registration required

Speaker: Justin Lesser, Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Vermont

View a recording of Justin Lesser's seminar.


Register for the online Zoom event:

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in any of these programs, please contact Lake Champlain Sea Grant / Julianna White at 802-777-7017 or seagrant [at] no later than three weeks before your chosen date so we can assist you.

The food web of Lake Champlain has been subjected to a host of changes via species invasion, extirpation, reestablishment, and anthropogenic manipulation. Using an Ecopath with Ecosim biomass model of the food web of the cold-water (deep) portion of the Lake, Dr. Lessor assesses the biomass dynamics of the system before and after the invasion of an additional pool of prey to the system and assesses the impacts of wild lake trout re-establishment in potential future stocking scenarios. This model highlights the impact anticipated invasions may have on the food web of the lake, provides guidance on a potential stocking plan for lake trout as wild populations begin to establish, and sheds important light on area which still need further study, such as the connection between the food webs of disparate habitats and their contribution to biomass production in the cold-water portion of the lake.

Dr. Justin S. Lesser, Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Vermont, completed his PhD in the summer of 2021 with Dr. Jimmy Nelson at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was a student on the Plum Island Ecosystems Long-Term Ecological Research Site. Previously, Dr. Lesser used stable isotope analysis and field studies to understand how landscape features influence the ability of mobile consumers to connect disparate saltmarsh food webs and developed novel isotope analysis techniques to quantify multidimensional trophic niches of consumers. For his postdoctoral research at UVM, he is developing a food web model of Lake Champlain to better understand the impact different ecological events have had on the lake’s food web as well as predict what we might expect to see in the future.

Participants should expect approximately 30 minutes of presentation, which will be recorded, followed by a facilitated, 30-minute Q&A period.

This seminar is part of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Seminar Series.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.