A new look at the Lake Superior biomass size spectrum

Peder M. Yurista, Daniel L. Yule, Matt Balge, Jon D. VanAlstine, Jo A. Thompson, Allison E. Gamble, Tom R. Hrabik, John R. Kelly, Jason D. Stockwell, Mark R. Vinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We synthesized data from multiple sampling programs and years to describe the Lake Superior pelagic biomass size structure. Data consisted of Coulter counts for phytoplankton, optical plankton counts for zooplankton, and acoustic surveys for pelagic prey fish. The size spectrum was stable across two time periods separated by 5 years. The primary scaling or overall slope of the normalized biomass size spectra for the combined years was -1.113, consistent with a previous estimate for Lake Superior (-1.10). Periodic dome structures within the overall biomass size structure were fit to polynomial regressions based on the observed sub-domes within the classical taxonomic positions (algae, zooplankton, and fish). This interpretation of periodic dome delineation was aligned more closely with predator-prey size relationships that exist within the zooplankton (herbivorous, predacious) and fish (planktivorous, piscivorous) taxonomic positions. Domes were spaced approximately every 3.78 log10 units along the axis and with a decreasing peak magnitude of -4.1 log10 units. The relative position of the algal and herbivorous zooplankton domes predicted well the subsequent biomass domes for larger predatory zooplankton and planktivorous prey fish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1324-1333
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


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