Whole-lake addition of coarse woody habitat: response of fish populations

Greg G. Sass, S. R. Carpenter, J. W. Gaeta, J. F. Kitchell, T. D. Ahrenstorff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lakeshore residential development (LRD) reduces coarse woody habitat (CWH) in lakes resulting in negative effects on fishes. We tested whether the addition of CWH could reverse those effects. We added CWH to Camp Lake, a lake with CWH abundances similar to developed lakes, following 2 years of study of the fish populations in the reference and treatment basins. Both basins were monitored for 4 years following the manipulation. Specifically, we tested for changes in the population dynamics (densities, size-structure, growth), diet, and behavior (habitat use) of bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). CWH addition had no discernible effect on fish population dynamics. Diet and behavioral responses were more pronounced in the treatment basin. Prey diversity and availability increased. Piscivory increased, with decreased reliance upon terrestrial prey, for largemouth bass. Habitat use was positively correlated with CWH branching complexity and abundance. Our study suggests that negative effects observed in fish populations through CWH reductions cannot be reversed in the short-term by adding CWH. We recommend that regulations governing the LRD process be protective of CWH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-266
Number of pages12
JournalAquatic Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • INHS
  • Coarse woody habitat
  • Largemouth bass
  • Ecosystem experiment
  • Bluegill
  • Fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Whole-lake addition of coarse woody habitat: response of fish populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this