Spatial synchrony in cisco recruitment

Jared T. Myers, Daniel L. Yule, Michael L. Jones, Tyler D. Ahrenstorff, Thomas R. Hrabik, Randall M. Claramunt, Mark P. Ebener, Eric K. Berglund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We examined the spatial scale of recruitment variability for disparate cisco (Coregonus artedi) populations in the Great Lakes (n= 8) and Minnesota inland lakes (n= 4). We found that the scale of synchrony was approximately 400. km when all available data were utilized; much greater than the 50-km scale suggested for freshwater fish populations in an earlier global analysis. The presence of recruitment synchrony between Great Lakes and inland lake cisco populations supports the hypothesis that synchronicity is driven by climate and not dispersal. We also found synchrony in larval densities among three Lake Superior populations separated by 25-275. km, which further supports the hypothesis that broad-scale climatic factors are the cause of spatial synchrony. Among several candidate climate variables measured during the period of larval cisco emergence, maximum wind speeds exhibited the most similar spatial scale of synchrony to that observed for cisco. Other factors, such as average water temperatures, exhibited synchrony on broader spatial scales, which suggests they could also be contributing to recruitment synchrony. Our results provide evidence that abiotic factors can induce synchronous patterns of recruitment for populations of cisco inhabiting waters across a broad geographic range, and show that broad-scale synchrony of recruitment can occur in freshwater fish populations as well as those from marine systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalFisheries Research
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the crews of each respective agency that made this analysis possible. We are particularly grateful to Zeb Woiak for his assistance with acoustic data processing and to Laura Graf for her administrative expertise. David “Bo” Bunnell and two anonymous reviewers provided constructive comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. This research was partially funded by a grant received from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Restoration Act . Spawner and larval surveys in Canada waters were funded by the Canadian Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem . This paper is contribution number 2015-01 of the Quantitative Fisheries Center (Michigan State University) and 1896 of the U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center. Any use of trade, product, or firm names, is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cisco
  • Freshwater fish
  • Moran effect
  • Recruitment variability
  • Spatial synchrony


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