A Food Web Modeling Approach to Evaluate and Predict Impacts of Lake Champlain Fish Population Changes
February 1, 2019 to January 31, 2021
Fishery exploitation, land use, and invasive species are major forces that affect the structure of aquatic systems. Lake Champlain aquatic communities were substantially modified over the past 200 years by commercial fishing, deforestation, and the addition of 51 exotic plants and animals.
Researchers will develop whole-lake food web models for Lake Champlain to serve as a fisheries management tool to help establish sustainable fish harvest limits while preserving ecosystem stability and services. Using both the PCLake model and the PCLake+ model for deep lakes, researchers will examine the links between organisms and the impacts of exotic species invasions in Lake Champlain.
The models will serve as a tool for managers to better understand how past management actions and exotic species have impacted fish populations, and to predict future changes to fish populations that will continue to be affected by management actions, environmental changes, and exotic species. In addition to scientific publications and meeting presentations, researchers will regularly communicate with angling groups, managers, and other lake users through Twitter and public talks to Trout Unlimited chapters and to the Lake Champlain Fishing Forum.