Walleye Early Life History in Lake Erie

Short- and Long-Term Effects of Changing Food Quality on Early Life Stages of Walleye in the Western Basin of Lake Erie

Zoe Almeida – PhD Student

​Environmental conditions in early life may have long-lasting effects on survival, growth, or reproduction. With that in mind, recent changes observed in the western basin of Lake Erie plankton community may be affecting important fish species during their larval stages in unforeseen ways.

This project aims to examine the extent to which changes in larval walleye food quality affect the Lake Erie walleye population. To answer our questions, we will:

  1. Quantify larval walleye food quality in the western basin of Lake Erie soon after hatching,
  2. Evaluate larval and juvenile physiological and behavioral responses when food quality is poor during the larval stage, and
  3. Explore if and how individual responses to food quality affect the overall Lake Erie population.

Understanding the effect of food quality on this important life stage will help inform walleye recruitment estimates and management.