Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Alaska
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Alaska Project


Broad Whitefish (Coregonus nasus) Ecology, Habitat Use and Potential Impacts of Climate Change in Arctic Alaska

January 2015 - December 2020


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • Fairbanks Alaska BLM
Broad Whitefish (<i>Coregonus nasus</i>) were caught and implanted with a radio transmitter to help determine spawning habitat in the Colville River.

Subsistence fisheries provide an important food resource for communities on Alaska’s Arctic Coastal Plain. Despite the importance of the Colville River’s summer run of Broad Whitefish (Coregonus nasus) to Native communities and the potential habitat impacts associated with climate change and petroleum development, the basic ecology of this migratory species remains poorly understood. The objectives of this ongoing study are to identify key habitats and seasonal migration patterns, understand the prevalence and role of anadromy, and conceptualize how ongoing climate change will likely influence Broad Whitefish growth, phenology, and their habitats. Methods include studying adult migratory fish in summer riverine habitats, analyzing stable isotopes in body tissues to estimate the contribution of marine food resources, assessing strontium isotopes in otoliths to determine life history type, and using radio telemetry to determine seasonal movements among freshwater habitats. Findings from this research will provide insight into potential effects from climate and landscape change to better conserve this important subsistence resource on the Arctic Coastal Plain.

Presentations Presentation Date
Leppi, J, M Wipfli, A Liljedahl, D Rinella, M Whitman. Potential Implications of Climate Change for Broad Whitefish (Coregonus nasus) in Arctic Alaska. Western Division of the American Fisheries Society, Anchorage, Alaska, May 2018. 2018-05-24
Leppi, JC, DJ Rinella, MS Wipfli, MS Whitman. 2019. Diverse foraging niches and habitat use by Broad Whitefish (Coregonus nasus) in Arctic Alaska. American Fisheries Society, Alaska Chapter. 2019-03-21
Leppi, JC, DJ Rinella, MS Wipfli, MS Whitman. 2019. Diverse foraging niches and habitat use by Broad Whitefish (Coregonus nasus) in Arctic Alaska. American Fisheries Society, Alaska Chapter. 2019-09-30