Date of Award

Spring 4-19-2018

Semester of Degree


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology


Environmental and Forest Biology

Major Professor

Neil Ringler

Steering Committee Member

Diane Kiernan

Steering Committee Member

Chris Gandino


Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, New York, has experienced centuries of habitat degradation. A new substrate layer and habitat structures were added to enhance fish habitat. We hypothesized that centrarchids would respond to the enhancements. We examined centrarchid population size, reproduction, and recruitment relative to remediated habitat and their use of existing and new structures. The Largemouth Bass population and juvenile centrarchid catches were distributed more evenly between basins in 2017 than in previous years, and we concluded this is very likely an immediate response to new habitat availability and structure. In 2017, the whole-lake population estimate was the second highest recorded since sampling began in 1986, and the proportion of nests in remediated shoreline areas increased. Depth of the structures did not influence fish attraction; vegetated and grouped sites attracted greater richness and diversity, and more black bass visits than individual sites or structures.