Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Controlling Invasive Fish: Waterfalls Control Spread Of Lake Trout In Glacier National Park

Date:
April 28, 2008
Source:
Montana State University
Summary:
Natural barriers like waterfalls play an important role in preventing lake trout from spreading through Glacier National Park, so maintaining those barriers should be a priority, researchers said after conducting a four-year study in the park. Park workers might have to remove ice, logs or debris to keep the water from rising behind those barriers. If they don't, lake trout will have an easier time swimming up the rivers and invading new lakes.

Sean Townsend paddles across Kintla Lake in Glacier National Park.
Credit: Photo by Michael Meeuwig

Natural barriers like waterfalls play an important role in preventing lake trout from spreading through Glacier National Park, so maintaining those barriers should be a priority, Montana State University researchers said after conducting a four-year study in the park.

Park workers might have to remove ice, logs or debris to keep the water from rising behind those barriers, said graduate student Michael Meeuwig and his adviser Christopher Guy. If they don't, lake trout will have an easier time swimming up the rivers and invading new lakes.

Monitoring and maintaining natural barriers are easier than trying to get rid of lake trout after they've entered a lake, Guy said. He pointed to the expense and effort spent at Yellowstone National Park where lake trout prey on native cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake. In Glacier National Park, lake trout compete with native bull trout.

Guy, assistant unit leader for the Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at MSU, heads the Glacier research project with Wade Fredenberg of the Creston Fish and Wildlife Center near Kalispell. The U.S. Geological Survey funds the research.

Non-native lake trout were introduced into Flathead Lake about 100 years ago and are believed to be the source of the lake trout that are threatening Glacier's native bull trout population. Meeuwig's and Fredenberg's work have found that lake trout have since invaded eight lakes on the west side of the park: Bowman Lake, Harrison Lake, Kintla Lake, Lake McDonald, Logging Lake, Lower Quartz Lake, Quartz Lake and Rogers Lake.

"Quartz Lake was one of the last big lakes on the west side of the park that had intact native species assemblages," Meeuwig said. "That was a little bit of a surprise to find lake trout there."

Guy said park visitors can be awed by the park's scenery without realizing the unfolding drama within its lakes.

"What's going on in those lakes is a train wreck," Guy said. "A non-native species is replacing a native species."

Meeuwig said he doesn't have all the answers about potential competition between lake trout and native bull trout, but both are top-level predators and grow to similar sizes. Bull trout are getting "pinched" by downstream threats like lake trout and upstream threats such as reduced runoff from glaciers.

To study Glacier's fish, Meeuwig spent the summers of 2004 through 2006 in the park. He camped in the back country and floated across mountain lakes in innertubes and kayaks. Together with one or two technicians per year, he hiked to 17 lakes on the west side of the park. In addition to the previously-mentioned lakes, they counted fish and collected samples in Akokala Lake, Arrow Lake, Cerulean Lake, Lake Isabel, Lincoln Lake, Middle Quartz Lake, Trout Lake, Upper Kintla Lake and Upper Lake Isabel.

To get to those lakes, Meeuwig and his team stumbled through streams, bushwhacked their way through the back country, carried loads of equipment, and endured snow and cold. Some of the lakes were so remote that they had never been sampled before and had no trails to them.

"It's a tremendous amount of work," Guy said. "The reason we didn't have a data set like this before is because of all that hard work.

The Glacier study had two purposes, Guy said. One was to develop management recommendations for the park, which Guy and Meeuwig presented to park managers in January. Besides maintaining natural barriers, they suggested establishing a sampling program that would allow scientists to document changes in the bull trout populations.

The second goal of the Glacier study was to advance the scientific knowledge regarding the interaction between the park's landscape and bull trout population genetics. This will be covered in Meeuwig's doctoral dissertation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Montana State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Montana State University. "Controlling Invasive Fish: Waterfalls Control Spread Of Lake Trout In Glacier National Park." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080424133349.htm>.
Montana State University. (2008, April 28). Controlling Invasive Fish: Waterfalls Control Spread Of Lake Trout In Glacier National Park. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080424133349.htm
Montana State University. "Controlling Invasive Fish: Waterfalls Control Spread Of Lake Trout In Glacier National Park." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080424133349.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — Russian cosmonauts say they've found evidence of sea plankton on the International Space Station's windows. NASA is a little more skeptical. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins