Date of Award

3-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biology

Program

Biology

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Brandon Gerig

Abstract

Wild rice (Zizania palustris) is an important cultural, spiritual, and dietary resource to Lake Superior Ojibwe. Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) are an introduced species that negatively impact aquatic vegetation through changes in water quality, uprooting of plants, and consumption of seed. Acoustic telemetry was used to document Common Carp movements in Waishkey Bay in the upper St. Marys River, MI where wild rice habitat is present. Exclosures were established to measure the influence of carp presence on wild rice seeding success. Common Carp were observed to spend much of their time in Waishkey Bay but also demonstrated long-distance movements at a scale which has not been previously documented. Site fidelity to the bay was strong with most carp returning to the bay during fall. The time spent in Waishkey Bay by Common Carp strongly overlapped with wild rice habitat, especially during early summer when wild rice was the most susceptible to disturbance. However, strong overlap in wild rice habitat by Common Carp did not result in observable impacts on wild rice seeding success. Wild rice grew at all sites, whether protected or unprotected from Common Carp, a result potentially related to current low carp densities in Waishkey Bay. These results show promise for the success of wild rice restoration efforts in Waishkey Bay but should target areas where Common Carp spawning aggregations do not occur. These activities should be combined with monitoring of the Common Carp population to detect rises in carp density that could affect wild rice.

Access Type

Open Access

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