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

New York Project

Great Lakes Cisco spawning habitat assessment

August 2016 - December 2019


Participating Agencies

  • GLRI

Great Lakes Cisco, Coregonus artedi, once dominated Great Lakes forage fish communities, yet overharvest, invasive species, and habitat loss led to the widespread collapse of these native fish by the mid 1900s. As Great Lakes ecosystems continue to change, restoration of these native forage species is a top priority for increasing the resilience of fishery resources across the basin. In this collaboration across NY State, Cornell, USGS, USFWS, and Canadian partners, we are assessing Cisco, spawning habitat preferences in the Great Lakes to assist in prioritizing coregonid population restoration efforts. Our project results have shown that Cisco utilize a wide range in nearshore habitats across their Great Lakes range, but within lakes, we observe only a subset of life histories. This indicates biodiversity across the species range is still high, but raises research priorities to understand whether within-lake life history diversity has been lost.