Sampling glacial lake littoral fish assemblages with four gears

Daniel J. Dembkowski, Melissa R. Wuellner, David W. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Littoral zone fish assemblages are important components of freshwater lakes. Monitoring of littoral fish assemblage structure is important because littoral fishes often comprise the majority of the entire fish assemblage, and fluctuations in the structure and abundance of the littoral fish assemblage can influence trophic interactions and fishery yields at the ecosystem level. Single-gear sampling designs, however, may only capture a subset of the fish assemblage, resulting in a skewed representation of fish assemblage structure. Use of multiple gears can be justified if they provide complementary fish assemblage information. Our objective was to compare glacial lake fish assemblage structure as represented by four gears and to assess whether the gears provide redundant or complementary fish assemblage information. Two northeastern South Dakota glacial lakes were sampled with a beach seine, benthic sled, drop net, and push trawl in August 2011. Results indicated that fish assemblage structure did not differ significantly among gears. However, fish assemblage descriptors (metrics of species richness, diversity, dominance, and evenness) and rates of species accumulation did differ among gears; in comparison with the drop net, the beach seine, benthic sled, and push trawl collected more individuals with qualitatively greater species richness and diversity at a faster rate. The beach seine collected the most individuals representing the greatest number of species with the least amount of sampling effort (i.e., fastest rate of species accumulation); thus, we recommend the use of beach seines for monitoring and assessment of littoral fish assemblages in glacial lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1160-1166
Number of pages7
JournalNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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