Islands in the ice stream: were spawning habitats for native salmonids in the Great Lakes created by paleo-ice streams?

Stephen C. Riley, Thomas R. Binder, Taaja R. Tucker, John Menzies, Nick Eyles, John Janssen, Andrew M. Muir, Peter C. Esselman, Nigel J. Wattrus, Charles C. Krueger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Lake trout Salvelinus namaycush, lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis and cisco Coregonus artedi are salmonid fishes native to the Laurentian Great Lakes that spawn on rocky substrates in the fall and early winter. After comparing the locations of spawning habitat for these species in the main basin of Lake Huron with surficial substrates and the hypothesized locations of fast-flowing Late Wisconsinan paleo-ice streams, we hypothesize that much of the spawning habitat for these species in Lake Huron is the result of deposition and erosion by paleo-ice streams. This hypothesis may represent a new framework for the identification and protection of spawning habitat for these native species, some of which are currently rare or extirpated in some of the Great Lakes. We further suggest that paleo-ice streams may have been responsible for the creation of native salmonid spawning habitat elsewhere in the Great Lakes and in other glaciated landscapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-359
Number of pages13
JournalFish and Fisheries
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission by way of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative appropriations (GL 00E23010). N. Eyles wishes to thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for funding. The use of trade names or commercial products does not imply endorsement by the U. S. Government. This is Contribution 2046 of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Contribution 23 of the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS) and Contribution 2 of the Society for Trout and Glacier Research (STAGR).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Cisco
  • drumlin
  • glaciation
  • lake trout
  • lake whitefish
  • spawning habitat


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