Chu, C., Holbrook, B., Sandstrom, S. and M.S. Poesch. (In Press) Cold water fish sampling in small standing waters. In Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes (2nd edition), Merrcado, S. and K. Pope (eds.), American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MY.

Citation: Chu, C., Holbrook, B., Sandstrom, S. and M.S. Poesch. (In Press) Cold water fish sampling in small standing waters. In Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes (2nd edition), Merrcado, S. and K. Pope (eds.), American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MY.

 

M. S. Poesch. (In Press) Assessing the Potential Risks of Tailing Ponds Failures to Aquatic Ecosystems in Canada. In Perspectives in Canadian Fisheries, Cooke, S. , Hasler, C., Mandrak, N.E.M. and J. Imhof (eds.). American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, USA

Citation: Poesch, M. S.. (In Press) Assessing the Potential Risks of Tailing Ponds Failures to Aquatic Ecosystems in Canada. In Perspectives in Canadian Fisheries, Cooke, S. , Hasler, C., Mandrak, N.E.M. and J. Imhof (eds.). American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, USA

Abstract

Canada is a country rich in natural resources. Given the importance of both resource extraction to Canada’s economy and freshwater fishes, I synthesize available information to assess Canada’s ability to monitor the impacts of tailings ponds to freshwater fishes. Using widely available data, I found that current monitoring activities can only assess large effects to freshwater fishes. These results suggest that environmental monitoring may fall victim to the ‘shifting baseline syndrome’, where contemporary changes to freshwater ecosystems are compared to relatively
recent time periods after which impacts may have already occurred. I then use the example of recent tailing pond failures in western Canada, among the worst in North American history, to describe the inherent risk of tailings pond structures. Unlike oil tanker spills, the rates of tailing spills have significantly increased in the past few decades, the majority from faulty infrastructure. With over one billion cubic meters of tailings held in containment systems covering 110 km 2 in the oil sands region, I use the Obed and Mount Polley as a cautionary tale of the risk of failing pond infrastructure. Finally, I provide a contemporary perspective on how to improve the monitoring of Canada’s tailings ponds. I highlight the need for consistency in regulatory and monitoring approaches, the need for an engaged citizenry, and the use of fisheries
professionals, as means of improving environmental monitoring activities.

Donaldson, M., Eliason, E., Jeffries, K., Poesch, M.S., Drake, D.A.R., Braun, D., Hasler, C., Nguyen, V., Raby, G., Lennox, R., Swanson, H., Favaro, B., Bower, S. and S.J. Cooke. (In Press) Early career perspectives on the future of freshwater fisheries science, management and policy in Canada. In Perspectives in Canadian Fisheries, Cooke, S. (ed.). American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Citation: Donaldson, M., Eliason, E., Jeffries, K., Poesch, M.S., Drake, D.A.R., Braun, D., Hasler, C., Nguyen, V., Raby, G., Lennox, R., Swanson, H., Favaro, B., Bower, S. and S.J. Cooke. (In Press) Early career perspectives on the future of freshwater fisheries science, management and policy in Canada. In Perspectives in Canadian Fisheries, Cooke, S. (ed.). American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Chu, C., de Kerckhove, D. T., Guzzo, M. and M. S. Poesch. (In Press) Climate change and its impacts on freshwater fish and fisheries in Canada. In Perspectives in Canadian Fisheries, Cooke, S. , Hasler, C., Mandrak, N.E.M. and J. Imhof (eds.). American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Citation: Chu, C., de Kerckhove, D. T., Guzzo, M. and M. S. Poesch. (In Press) Climate change and its impacts on freshwater fish and fisheries in Canada. In Perspectives in Canadian Fisheries, Cooke, S. , Hasler, C., Mandrak, N.E.M. and J. Imhof (eds.). American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Abstract

Climate change is impacting freshwater fishes, and their habitats around the world. In Canada, there are 213 fish species that use freshwater habitat throughout all or some of their life cycle. These ecosystems and fishes are critically important to Canadians. Climate-related changes in habitats are impacting the ecological and biological processes of fishes including their distributions, demography, phenology, evolution, and assemblage dynamics, as well as the availability of fisheries resources in different lakes and rivers of Canada. The available evidence suggests that the direction of these effects (positive, neutral or negative) are dependent upon the interplay among the magnitude of change(s), and the traits and ecology of the species that are experiencing those change(s). Many avenues of research are still needed; ranging from understanding the genetic adaptive potential of individual species, understanding thermal bottlenecks for species and adaptation measures, and understanding how climate change interacts with other stresses to affect the status of fishes and fisheries. The most direct way to combat climate change is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through broad-scale institutional and societal change. However, complementary adaptation actions that include legislation, policies, management, regulation, research, restoration, translocation, and stewardship are starting to be implemented in different jurisdictions across Canada. The collective uptake of these actions will ensure the sustainability of freshwater ecosystems, fishes, and fisheries for the future.

Fischer, S.M.*, Ramaza, P., Simmons, S., Poesch, M.S. and M.A. Lewis. (2022) Boosting propagule transport models with individual-specific data from mobile apps. Journal of Applied Ecology.

Citation: Fischer, S.M., Ramaza, P., Simmons, S., Poesch, M.S. and M.A. Lewis. (2022) Boosting propagule transport models with individual-specific data from mobile apps. Journal of Applied Ecology

Abstract

Management of invasive species and pathogens requires information about the traffic of potential vectors. Such information is often taken from vector traffic models fitted to survey data. Here, user-specific data collected via mobile apps offer new opportunities to obtain more accurate estimates and to analyze how vectors’ individual preferences affect propagule flows. However, data voluntarily reported via apps may lack some trip records, adding a significant layer of uncertainty. We show how the benefits of app-based data can be exploited despite this drawback.
Based on data collected via an angler app, we built a stochastic model for angler traffic in the Canadian province Alberta. There, anglers facilitate the spread of whirling disease, a parasite-induced fish disease. The model is temporally and spatially explicit and accounts for individual preferences and repeating behaviour of anglers, helping to address the problem of missing trip records. We obtained estimates of angler traffic between all subbasins in Alberta. The model’s accuracy exceeds that of direct empirical estimates even when fewer data were used to fit the model. The results indicate that anglers’ local preferences and their tendency to revisit previous destinations reduce the number of long inter-waterbody trips potentially dispersing whirling disease. According to our model, anglers revisit their previous destination in 64% of their trips, making these trips irrelevant for the spread of whirling disease. Furthermore, 54% of fishing trips end in individual-specific spatially contained areas with mean radius of 54.7km. Finally, although the fraction of trips that anglers report was unknown, we were able to estimate the total yearly number of fishing trips in Alberta, matching an independent empirical estimate.

*Lab members: Samuel Fischer. Check out opportunities in the lab!

Van Mierlo V. A.*, Green S. J., Emmerton C. A., Nasr M., Buendia C., Wyatt F. and M. S. Poesch. (2022). Occupancy of invasive Northern Crayfish (Faxonius virilis) in northern systems is driven primarily by tributary water temperature. Freshwater Science 41(4).

Citation: Van Mierlo V.A., Green S.J., Emmerton C.A., Nasr M., Buendia C., Wyatt F. and M.S. Poesch. (2022). Occupancy of invasive Northern Crayfish (Faxonius virilis) in northern systems is driven primarily by tributary water temperature. Freshwater Science 41(4).

Invasive species are the 2nd-greatest threat to global freshwater biodiversity. Crayfish are especially robust invaders due to their omnivorous nature and ability to compete both directly (resource procurement) and indirectly (habitat occupation and modification) with native species. The Northern Crayfish (Faxonius virilis Hagen, 1870) was introduced to the North Saskatchewan River basin (Alberta, western Canada) and has persisted there since the early 1990s. Faxonius virilis’ impacts on native fish assemblages in the North Saskatchewan River have yet to be assessed, even though the watershed is ecologically, economically, and culturally valuable and home to multiple sensitive and at-risk fish species. We aimed to identify the instream environmental characteristics associated with F. virilis occupancy in the North Saskatchewan River basin and to determine which currently unoccupied tributaries are most vulnerable to F. virilis invasion. We used occupancy modeling to meet these objectives. We deployed 24-h baited crayfish traps and measured water temperature, turbidity, flow velocity, and physical complexity at 37 sites along the Alberta portion of the North Saskatchewan River basin. We detected F. virilis at 13/37 sites with no occurrences detected in the upper basin. Occupancy model selection and averaging revealed that water temperature alone was associated with occupancy of F. virilis in the North Saskatchewan River basin. Streams with mean summer water temperatures >∼19.7 C  were ≥50% more likely to be occupied by F. virilis than cooler streams and are at highest risk of invasion. Further, we found that streams with mean summer water temperatures <∼15.7 C had a <25% chance of becoming occupied by F. virilis than warmer streams. Coldwater streams may thus have some natural protection against F. virilis invasion. The results from this study provide practical guidelines for watershed management of invasive F. virilis populations in western Canadian river basins. Managing F. virilis is particularly important and time sensitive because F. virilis’ range will likely expand when water temperatures in the basin rise because of climate change

*Lab members: Victoria Van Mierlo. Check out opportunities in the lab!