Spatial and temporal variation in the diet of double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) breeding on the lower Great Lakes in the early 1990s

J. Neuman, D. L. Pearl, P. J. Ewins, R. Black, D. V. Weseloh, M. Pike, K. Karwowski

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We sampled 1573 pellets and 560 boli regurgitated at double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) colonies on the three lower Laurentian Great Lakes (Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie) during the breeding season in 1992 and 1994. This constitutes the first extensive study of cormorant diet in this region. We found significant spatial and temporal heterogeneity in diet among colonies within a lake. Differences in diet among colonies were usually consistent with knowledge of changes in fish behaviour during the cormorant breeding season, differences in the surrounding bathymetry among breeding colonies, and the proximity of colonies to the preferred habitat of prey species. Our results indicate that temporal and spatial variation, as well as the technique for diet determination, are very important factors that must be considered when assessing the effects of double-crested cormorant predation on fisheries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1569-1584
Number of pages16
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 7 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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