Dynamics of exploited fish populations in a changing environment

Dynamics of exploited fish populations in a changing environment

Additional Investigators
Mike Fraker, CIGLR, former AEL postdoc
Connor Keitzer, Tusculum University, former AEL postdoc
Noel Aloysius, University of Missouri, former AEL postdoc


Lake Erie Heat Maps
Seasonal larval walleye growth habitat in Lake Erie. Blue indicates areas of slower growth and red indicates areas of faster growth.

Many ecologically and economically important fish populations are experiencing climate change in concert with other human-driven stressors (e.g., nutrient pollution, exploitation, invasive species), which may impact their persistence in the future. My research uses quantitative modeling tools to investigate how the population dynamics of Lake Erie fishes have responded to environmental change historically and to anticipate how future environmental change might impact the fisheries they support.

Our research specifically aims to:

  1. Forecast the anticipated effects of climate change and agricultural conservation practices on Lake Erie fish recruitment.
  2. Develop an improved approach to build environment-recruitment models.
  3. Use a mechanistic, linked physical-biological model to explore historical trends in larval stage duration of Lake Erie walleye.
  4. Explore the spatial patterning of walleye recreational harvest in Lake Erie in relation to demographic and environmental factors.



Lake Erie Heat Map
Modeled walleye larval stage duration in Lake Erie with red indicating areas of shorter larval stage duration and blue indicating areas of longer larval stage duration.
Contour plot of larval fish survival
Example figure showing how larval mortality and growth conditions can interact to affect larval survival. Better growth and lower mortality exponentially increase larval survival.


  1. Dippold, D. A., Adams, G. D., & Ludsin, S. A. (2020). Spatial patterning of walleye recreational harvest in Lake Erie: Role of demographic and environmental factors. Fisheries Research230, 105676. doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2020.105676
  2. Dippold, D. A., Aloysius, N. R., Keitzer, S. C., Yen, H., Arnold, J. G., Daggupati, P., ... & Ludsin, S.A. (2020). Forecasting the combined effects of anticipated climate change and agricultural conservation practices on fish recruitment dynamics in Lake Erie. Freshwater Biologydoi.org/10.1111/fwb.13515
  3. Fraker, M. E., Keitzer, S. C., Sinclair, J. S., Aloysius, N. R., Dippold, D. A., Yen, H., ... & Ludsin, S.A. (2020). Projecting the effects of agricultural conservation practices on stream fish communities in a changing climate. Science of The Total Environment, 141112. doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141112

Funding Sources



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