Georgian Bay Great Lakes Foundation Scientific Advisor and Research Team Invited to Present New Research

October 8, 2019 7:13 am Published by

Georgian Bay Great Lakes Foundation Scientific Advisor, Dr. Pat Chow Fraser and members of McMaster University, Nick Luymes, Danielle Montocchio, Jon Midwood, will be presenting the findings of three new research papers at the October Conference. Mary Muter, Chair of Georgian Bay Great lakes Foundation to attend Conference.

  1. Object-based approaches to map vernal pools in Eastern Georgian Bay Ontario

Object-based approaches to map vernal pools in eastern GeorgianBay, Ontario N. Luymes, McMaster University / Biology; P. Chow-Fraser, McMaster University / Department of Biology. Vernal pools are temporary wetlands that are essential breeding habitat for mole salamanders and wood frogs and provide important secondary habitat for other species of amphibians and at-risk reptiles. Unlike those in the lower Great Lakes, many vernal pools in eastern Georgian Bay still exist in intact forest fragments. Nevertheless, increasing development pressure is threatening their persistence and there is an urgent need to complete vernal-pool mapping in this region. Since LiDAR and high resolution multispectral imagery are rarely available for eastern Georgian Bay, we propose to use a combination of local high-resolutionortho imagery and large-scale multispectral and RADAR data to develop object-based classification techniques to classify vernal pools in tenforest tracts from Severn Sound to Key River. In doing so, we provide anew model for vernal pool mapping using widely accessible and low/no cost data sources. The mapped locations of potential vernal pools will allow land managers to identify critical wetland habitat and aid development of conservation strategies for at-risk and vulnerable species\in the eastern Georgian Bay region.

 

Vernal pools are temporary wetlands that are essential breeding habitat for mole salamanders and wood frogs and provide important secondary habitat for other species of amphibians and at-risk reptiles. Unlike those in the lower Great Lakes, many vernal pools in eastern Georgian Bay still exist in intact forest fragments. Nevertheless, increasing development pressure is threatening their persistence and there is an urgent need to complete vernal-pool mapping in this region. Since LiDAR and high-resolution multispectral imagery are rarely available for eastern Georgian Bay, we propose to use a combination of local high-resolution orthoimagery and large-scale multispectral and RADAR data to develop object-based classification techniques to classify vernal pools in ten forest tracts from Severn Sound to Key River. In doing so, we provide a new model for vernal pool mapping using widely accessible and low/no-cost data sources. The mapped locations of potential vernal pools will allow land managers to identify critical wetland habitat and aid development of conservation strategies for at-risk and vulnerable species in the eastern Georgian Bay region.

Nick Luymes, Patricia Chow-Fraser

 

  1. Climate Associated changes in the structure and function of coastal habitats in Georgian Bay

The extremely low lake levels between 1999 and 2013, along with recent droughts during the summer in the coastal zone of Georgian Bay have been attributed to climate change. These conditions have led to intrusion of meadow and emergent vegetation into low-marsh habitat, dominated by dense floating vegetation, and reduced open water and submersed aquatic vegetation. With return of high water levels since 2015, however, a novel wetland zone has been created, consisting of inundated pine trees, shrubs and meadow marsh, among which we have seen submergent and floating vegetation struggling to re-establish. The increased frequency of forest fires, especially in the Boreal zone, has also been attributed to drought conditions and higher temperatures associated with climate change. In this talk, we use fish, plant and water quality information collected over the past 15 years to illustrate how fish habitat has changed in coastal marshes in eastern and northern Georgian Bay. We also assess effects of the 2018 Parry Sound 33 on the water chemistry of ephemeral pools within the Boreal zone and discuss the implications of these impacts on amphibian and reptile use.

Patricia Chow-Fraser, Nick Luymes, Danielle Montocchi

 

Climate-associated changes in the structure and function of coastal habitats in Georgian Bay P. Chow-Fraser, McMaster University / Department of Biology; N. Luymes, D. Montocchi McMaster University / Biology. The extremely low lake levels between 1999 and 2013, along with recent droughts during the summer in the coastal zone of Georgian Bay have been attributed to climate change. These conditions have led to intrusion of meadow and emergent vegetation into low-marsh habitat, dominated by dense floating vegetation, and reduced open water and submersed aquatic vegetation. With return of high water levels since 2015, however, a novel wetland zone has been created, consisting of inundated pine trees, shrubs and meadow marsh, among which we have seen submergent and floating vegetation struggling to re-establish. The increased frequency of forest fires, especially in the Boreal zone, has also been attributed to drought conditions and higher temperatures associated with climate change. In this talk, we use fish, plant and water quality information collected over the past 15 years to illustrate how fish habitat has changed in coastal marshes in eastern and northern Georgian Bay. We also assess effects of the 2018 Parry Sound 33 on the water chemistry of ephemeral pools within the Boreal zone and discuss the implications of these impacts on amphibian and reptile use.

 

  1. Assessing the impact of grass carp on the ecology of coastal wetlands of eastern and northern Georgian Bay

Several recent binational studies have assessed the ecological impact of the potential invasion of Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) into Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Between 2007 and 2012, Grass Carp have already been caught in the Great Lakes basin Four, and studies have concluded that four of the five Great Lakes will provide suitable spawning and nursery habitat for diploid Grass Carp. Studies have concluded that diploid Grass Carp would lead to a decrease in submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) and/or change in species assemblage, which may lead to consequences to other elements of the biotic community (e.g., birds, fishes) and abiotic environment (e.g., turbidity, nutrient cycling), with overall highest risk for Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie. One study found that a large proportion of sites throughout the Great Lakes would see a 50% decline in SAV biomass at high densities of Grass Carp. Given the many high-quality coastal marsh units that exist in eastern and northern Georgian Bay, we carried out a study to assess the ecological impact of the invasion of Grass Carp on the ecological integrity of wetland specifically within Georgian Bay.

James Marcaccio, Jon Midwood, Patricia Chow-Fraser

Assessing the impact of grass carp on the ecology of coastal wetlands of eastern and northern Georgian Bay J.V. Marcaccio, McMaster University / Biology; J.D. Midwood, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences / Fisheries and Oceans Canada; P.Chow-Fraser, McMaster University / Department of Biology. Several recent binational studies have assessed the ecological impact of the potential invasion of Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) into Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Between 2007 and 2012, 45 Grass Carp have already been caught in the Great Lakes basin Four, and studies have concluded that four of the five Great Lakes will provide suitable spawning and nursery habitat for diploid Grass Carp. Studies have concluded that diploid Grass Carp would lead to a decrease in submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) and/or change in species assemblage, which may lead to consequences to other elements of the biotic community (e.g., birds, fishes) and abiotic environment (e.g., turbidity, nutrient cycling), with overall highest risk for Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie. One study found that a large proportion of sites throughout the Great Lakes would see a 50% decline in SAV biomass at high densities of Grass Carp. Given the many high-quality coastal marsh units that exist in eastern and northern Georgian Bay, we carried out a study to assess the ecological impact of the invasion of Grass Carp on the ecological integrity of wetland specifically within Georgian Bay.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: