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

Justin Lesser, Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Vermont, presented this webinar on his Lake Champlain Sea Grant-funded research to better understand the food web of Lake Champlain, which has been subjected to a host of changes by 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 (alewife) 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 areas which still need further study, such as the connection between the food webs of different habitats and their contribution to biomass production in the cold-water portion of the lake.

Part of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Research Seminar Series, this webinar took place on March 30, 2022. This Lake Champlain Sea Grant-funded project, A Food Web Modeling Approach to Evaluate and Predict Impacts of Lake Champlain Fish Population Changes, was completed in January 2022.