Revealing migration and reproductive habitat of invasive fish under an active population suppression program

Lee F.G. Gutowsky, Jason G. Romine, Nicholas A. Heredia, Patricia E. Bigelow, Michael J. Parsley, Philip T. Sandstrom, Cory D. Suski, Andy J. Danylchuk, Steven J. Cooke, Robert E. Gresswell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endemic species face a variety of threats including predation from non-native invaders. In some cases, however, invasive species can be managed by directly suppressing populations, and tracking technologies that allow researchers to identify movement patterns and aggregations representative of the population can facilitate suppression activities. In Yellowstone Lake (Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming), invasive lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) have been the target of a population suppression program for over two decades. For this form of management, the reproductive period is particularly important because fish migrate to and from spawning grounds. From 2011 to 2014, adult lake trout (n = 317) in Yellowstone Lake were tracked using acoustic biotelemetry. After controlling for spatial and temporal dependency in the data, total abundance of unique individuals was estimated where migratory trajectories occurred at confirmed spawning sites. Aggregations and migratory trajectories were further estimated at locations where spawning had not previously been observed. Across years, the greatest number of individuals was observed along a migration corridor in the southwestern area of the lake. Novel strategies for analyzing acoustic telemetry data provided insights into the behavior of an invasive fish species. By betraying the positions of conspecifics, tagged fish revealed potentially important reproductive habitats and migration corridors that warranted further investigation as possible sites for population suppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere119
JournalConservation Science and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • INHS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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