Development of a Population Viability Model to Optimize Sea Lamprey Control Strategies in Lake Champlain


February 1, 2006 to January 31, 2008


Objectives of this research were to: 

  • Develop a stage-based population viability model for sea lamprey;
  • Conduct microelemental analyses of lamprey statoliths to identify streams with major contributions to the parasitic population in Lake Champlain, as inputs to the model; and
  • Examine optimal combinations of control methods for individual streams in the Champlain basin using the stage-based population model.

Simulations indicate that control of the larval stage is essential to suppressing the parasitic-phase population, and although with supplemental effort to reduce the vital rates at the spawning and early life stages, the parasitic-phase population can be further suppressed. Sensitivity simulations indicate that the life history model is highly sensitive to the method in which parasitic-phase sea lamprey select tributaries for spawning, egg deposition rate, and the abundance of parasitic-phase sea lamprey from unknown, uncontrolled sources. 



Ellen Marsden
Professor, University of Vermont
ellen.marsden [at]

Stuart Ludsin
Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Patrick Sullivan
Cornell University

Brian Fryer
University of Windsor