Michael D Rennie

Michael D Rennie
Lakehead University Thunder Bay Campus · Department of Biology

PhD

About

81
Publications
19,801
Reads
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1,710
Citations
Introduction
Research Scientist with the Experimental Lakes Area, operated by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Doing what I was previously with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, monitoring fish population dynamics and collaborating on whole-ecosystem experiments.
Additional affiliations
January 2015 - present
Lakehead University Thunder Bay Campus
Position
  • Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair in Freshwater Ecology and Fisheries
Description
  • Principal Investigator of the Community Ecology and Energetics Lab- conduct research into how behavioural syndromes affect optimal life history strategies and how changes in behaviour can impact ecosystem-level processes.
January 2015 - present
International Institute for Sustainable Development
Position
  • Research Associate
Description
  • Oversee fish population monitoring at the IISD Experimental Lakes Area; participate in collaborative whole-lake manipulations and research.
May 2014 - December 2014
International Institute for Sustainable Development
Position
  • Researcher
Description
  • Research Scientist in Freshwater Ecology and Fisheries

Publications

Publications (81)
Preprint
Aquatic ecosystems offer a continuum of water flow from headwater streams to inland lakes and coastal marine systems. This spatial connectivity influences the structure, function and dynamics of aquatic communities, which are among the most threatened and degraded on earth. Environmental DNA achieves biodiversity surveys in these habitats in a high...
Chapter
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Aim Production is a foundational concept in fisheries science and estimates of production are good indicators of fish population fitness. We use the Metabolic Theory of Ecology as a framework to structure our account of the bioenergetics of somatic growth, reproduction and mortality: the three processes that drive production in wild freshwater fish...
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Nucleic acids released by organisms and isolated from environmental substrates are increasingly being used for molecular biomonitoring. While environmental DNA (eDNA) has received much attention, the potential of environmental RNA as a biomonitoring tool remains under‐explored. Several recent studies using paired DNA and RNA metabarcoding of bulk s...
Article
Sulphate and dissolved organic matter (DOM) in freshwater systems may regulate the formation of methylmercury (MeHg), a potent neurotoxin that biomagnifies in aquatic ecosystems. While many boreal lakes continue to recover from decades of elevated atmospheric sulphate deposition, little research has examined whether historically high sulphate conce...
Article
Nanosilver (AgNP) is an anti-microbial agent widely used in consumer products, with significant potential for these nanoparticles to be released into aquatic environments. Laboratory studies involving short-term exposures of fish to AgNP show a range of toxicological effects, but these studies do not address potential responses in long-lived organi...
Preprint
Invasive species are a major threat to ecosystem structure and function. For example, Bythotrephes cederströmii ( Bythotrephes hereafter) invasions have significantly reduced native zooplankton density and biomass, resulting in competitive interactions with zooplanktivorous fishes. Young of year (YOY) walleye ( Sander vitreus ) are initially zoopla...
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Background While Pace of Life Syndrome predicts behavioural differences between individuals with differential growth and survival, testing these predictions in nature is challenging due to difficulties with measuring individual behaviour in the field. However, recent advances in acoustic telemetry technology have facilitated measurements of individ...
Article
Senescence-the deterioration of functionality with age-varies widely across taxa in pattern and rate. Insights into why and how this variation occurs are hindered by the predominance of laboratory-focused research on short-lived model species with determinate growth. We synthesize evolutionary theories of senescence, highlight key information gaps...
Preprint
Full-text available
Nucleic acids released by organisms and isolated from environmental substrates are increasingly being used for molecular biomonitoring. While environmental DNA (eDNA) has received attention recently, the potential of environmental RNA as a biomonitoring tool remains less explored. Several recent studies using paired DNA and RNA metabarcoding of bul...
Preprint
Full-text available
Senescence, or the deterioration of functionality with age, varies widely across taxa in pattern and rate. Insights into why and how this variation occurs are hindered by the predominance of lab-focused research on short-lived model species with determinate growth. We synthesize evolutionary theories of senescence, highlight key information gaps, a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background While Pace of Life Syndrome predicts behavioural differences between individuals with differential growth and survival, testing these predictions in nature is challenging due to difficulties with measuring individual behaviour in the field. However, recent advances in acoustic telemetry technology have facilitated measurements of individ...
Article
Full-text available
Groundhog Day is a widespread North American ritual that marks the oncome of spring, with festivities centered around animals that humans believe have abilities to make seasonal predictions. Yet, the collective success of groundhog Marmota monax prognosticators has never been rigorously tested. Here, we propose the local climate-predicted phenology...
Article
Understanding patterns of fish movement in large lake ecosystems is essential for determining appropriate management actions as differences in movement behaviour can influence life history traits such as growth and survival. Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada supports the 2nd largest walleye (Sander vitreus) commercial fishery in North America. We u...
Article
A fundamental assumption of biotelemetry studies is that there are no adverse consequences from the surgical implantation or presence of the acoustic transmitter. In fisheries, most studies have evaluated this assumption over only short time periods (<2 y) in a laboratory setting. Here we compared the survival, growth, and body condition of populat...
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Significant advances have been made towards surveying animal and plant communities using DNA isolated from environmental samples. Despite rapid progress, we lack a comprehensive understanding of the "ecology" of environmental DNA (eDNA), particularly its temporal and spatial distribution and how this is shaped by abiotic and biotic processes. Here,...
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The ecological consequences of winter in freshwater systems are an understudied but rapidly emerging research area. Here, we argue that winter periods of reduced temperature and light (and potentially oxygen and resources) could play an underappreciated role in mediating the coexistence of species. This may be especially true for temperate and suba...
Preprint
Full-text available
Significant advances have been made towards surveying animal and plant communities using DNA isolated from environmental samples. Despite rapid progress, we lack a comprehensive understanding of the "ecology" of environmental DNA (eDNA), particularly its temporal and spatial distribution and how this is shaped by abiotic and biotic processes. Here,...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ecological consequences of winter in freshwater systems are an understudied but rapidly emerging research area. Here, we argue that winter periods of reduced temperature and light (and potentially oxygen and resources) could play an underappreciated role in mediating the coexistence of species. This may be especially true for temperate and suba...
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Full-text available
• Aquaculture is a growing global industry; freshwater aquaculture has significant potential for expansion in Canada, but growth of the freshwater sector has been slow due to concerns over potential environmental impacts and a lack of information on potential impacts to native fish communities. • To provide guidelines and target variables for evalu...
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1.We used acoustic telemetry and acceleration sensors to compare population‐specific measures of the metabolic costs of an apex fish predator living in four separate lakes. We chose our study species and populations to provide a strong test of recent theoretical predictions that optimal foraging by an apex fish predator in a typical aquatic environ...
Article
Tritium is most commonly generated as a by-product of nuclear reactors. As such, environmental concentrations are typically only reported near regions of interest, and background concentrations in areas unaffected by anthropogenic disturbance are not well characterized. To provide information on background levels of tritium in the natural environme...
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We analyzed changes in the condition, early growth and resource use of Lake Trout from a Boreal Shied lake in response to an experimental aquaculture operation. Annual small-scale commercial production of Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) resulted in increased Lake Trout body condition during aquaculture operations which was positively related to...
Article
Northern Pike Esox lucius are important aquatic apex predators in freshwater ecosystems across the Canadian Boreal Shield. While Northern Pike have historically been described as nearshore ambush predators, larger individuals have been anecdotally observed foraging in offshore habitats. We used two province‐wide datasets from Ontario, Canada, to in...
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There is a pressing need to understand how ecosystems will respond to climate change. To date, no long-term empirical studies have confirmed that fish populations exhibit adaptive foraging behavior in response to temperature variation and the potential implications this has on fitness. Here, we use an unparalleled 11-y acoustic telemetry, stable is...
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A one-dimensional mixed layer dynamic lake model is enhanced with snow and ice physics for an examination of processes governing ice cover and phenology in a small boreal lake. The complete snowpack physics module of the Canadian Land Surface Scheme along with a new snow-ice parameterization have been added to the Canadian Small Lake Model, and det...
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Dreissenid mussels, including the zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga (Dreissena rostiformus bugensis) mussel, are invasive species known for their capacity to act as ecosystem engineers. They have caused significant changes in the many freshwater systems they have invaded by increasing water clarity, reducing primary productivity, and altering...
Article
Microplastics are an emerging contaminant of concern in aquatic ecosystems. To better understand microplastic contamination in North American surface waters, we report for the first time densities of microplastics in Lake Winnipeg, the 11th largest freshwater body in the world. Samples taken 2014 to 2016 revealed similar or significantly greater mi...
Article
Nanosilver (nAg) has been incorporated into many consumer products for its antimicrobial properties, including clothing and washing machines. Consequently, the potential for its release into aquatic environments is of significant concern. Documented toxic effects on fish include altered gene expression, gill damage, impaired gas exchange, as well a...
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This study aimed to assess the extent to which chasing, handling and confining Oncorhynchus mykiss to a small respirometer chamber during respirometric experiments is stressful and affects metabolic measurements. The study observed increased cortisol levels in animals tested using a chase protocol and subsequent intermittent-flow respirometry, sugg...
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Nanosilver (nAg) is a nanoparticle commonly incorporated into consumer products for its antimicrobial properties that has been detected in aquatic environments. Toxic effects of nAg on fish have been observed and may induce a stress response in fish in the form of increased blood plasma cortisol. In this study, effects of nAg exposure on Rainbow Tr...
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Optical transparency, or water clarity, is a fundamental property of lake ecosystems which influences a wide range of physical, chemical and biological variables and processes. The establishment of non-native dreissenid mussels in lake and river ecosystems across North America and Europe has been associated with often dramatic, but highly variable,...
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To better understand background radiation levels in country foods, a total of 125 fish samples were collected from three lakes (Lake 226, Lake 302 and Lake 305) in the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in Ontario of Canada during the summer of 2014. Concentrations of naturally occurring radionuclides (226Ra, 210Pb and 210Po) as well as anthropogenic ra...
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Understanding fish habitat use is important in determining conditions that ultimately affect fish energetics, growth and reproduction. Great Lakes lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) have demonstrated dramatic changes in growth and life history traits since the appearance of dreissenid mussels in the Great Lakes, but the role of habitat occupan...
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We conducted a basin-wide analysis of trends in the growth rate of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), a commercially harvested species in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Juvenile growth (measured as the growth between ages 1 and 2. years) was back-calculated from agency archived scale collections going back as far as the 1950s. We examined trends...
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We examined the long-term effects on prey fish communities of introducing Northern Pike (Esox lucius), a top predator fish, into small, Boreal shield lakes lacking natural piscivore populations. During 1987-1994, Northern Pike were introduced into lakes 110, 221, and 227 in the Experimental lakes Area in northwestern Ontario, Canada. In lake 227, p...
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Before the Second World War, science advocacy in politics was rare and usually only in the context of religious or philosophical debates. It seldom affected political decisions, elections or policies [1], [2]. During the war, the technological arms race with Nazi Germany gave scientific advisors great influence over military strategy and political...
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Biodiversity in northern Canada (north of 60 degrees N latitude) is threatened, primarily by increasing resource exploitation and by climate change. Unfortunately, we have relatively limited knowledge of aquatic biodiversity for this region, making it difficult to develop suitable policies to manage these threats. Here we describe, quantify, and te...
Chapter
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The factors responsible for the lifetime growth patterns of percids in natural populations can provide meaningful insights for culture operations. Here, we present a summary of a number of well-studied factors and review the current state of knowledge. We illustrate an informative approach to describe lifetime growth of percid species by applying a...
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Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in municipal effluents directly affect the sexual development and reproductive success of fishes, but indirect effects on invertebrate prey or fish predators through reduced predation or prey availability, respectively, are unknown. At the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario, Canada, a long-term, wh...
Conference Paper
Published accounts of some Ontario walleye populations show declines following dreissenid (zebra and quagga mussel) invasion coincident with increases in water clarity. A survey of 62 North American lakes showed that Secchi depth in dreissenid invaded systems increased in 79% of analyzed cases. A published walleye production model generated for Ont...
Conference Paper
Aquatic freshwater ecosystems are changing at a dramatic pace, as a result of a range of anthropogenic stressors including species invasions, climate change and eutrophication. However, it is not always immediately clear how these community-level changes resulting from disturbance impact rates of energy transfer or overall ecosystem productivity. W...
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Catch per unit effort (CPUE) is commonly used as a relative measure of littoral fish abundance; however, few studies have examined this relationship for boreal shield lakes. We used non-linear regression to generate relationships between mark-recapture abundance estimates and mean CPUE derived from 7 y of standardized fishing using baited minnow tr...
Conference Paper
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Biodiversity in the subarctic region in Canada is projected to experience drastic changes due to increasing human activities (mineral exploration and development) and climate change. Our current knowledge of biodiversity in this region is relatively limited, especially for fish. Because this region is generally thought to have low biodiversity and...
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Changes in the lower trophic level of Lake Simcoe, Canada, coincident with the invasion of dreissenids have been well documented, but little is known regarding the effects of these changes on the pathways of energy flow to higher trophic levels. To evaluate pathways of energy flow, we analyzed stable isotopes of zooplankton, benthic invertebrates,...
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This special section of Inland Waters features the first of numerous papers that highlight trends and insights emerging from decades of ecological monitoring and research activities on Lake Simcoe, Canada. Lake Simcoe is the largest lake in southern Ontario after the Laurentian Great Lakes. Like most large lakes, Simcoe has been negatively impacted...
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This special section of Inland Waters contains the final installment of a collection of papers on Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. Collectively, the 4 papers in Volume 3, Issue 1 and the 13 papers in the current issue demonstrate the integrative and collaborative monitoring and research efforts underway to protect this large, multi-stressed lake. In t...
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Stable isotope values derived from chemically preserved organisms are a valuable resource for documenting long-term ecosystem changes. However, isotopic correction factors of preservation effects applied to samples stored for decades are frequently based on studies lasting only months, assuming that the effects of preservation stabilize within a sh...
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Total benthic invertebrate biomass in shallow offshore waters (depths 10–15 m) increased 17-fold on average following the invasion of dreissenid mussels and implementation of P controls in Lake Simcoe, Ontario, despite a 50% overall decrease in total invertebrate density during the same time period. The increase in total invertebrate biomass at 10-...
Conference Paper
Climate variation has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of cold, well-oxygenated water available to fish, especially during periods of stratification in temperate lakes. The volume of habitat available to cold water fish species, like lake trout, reaches a minimum at the peak of stratification when fish become constrained to areas of...
Conference Paper
The establishment of dreissenid mussels have contributed to the re-engineering of the Great Lakes ecosystem by altering trophic interactions. Commercially important lake whitefish, in particular, have shown declines in growth in several locations, and recent research indicates dreissenid-driven ecosystem changes may be the cause. Coinciding with th...
Conference Paper
Catch-per-unit effort (CPUE) and biomass are often used as parameters to estimate the productive capacity of aquatic systems. Productive capacity is a central component in many environmental impact assessments, particularly those involving the alteration of water bodies for mining and other industries. While CPUE does provide a means to examine rel...
Conference Paper
The determination of fish abundance has long been a cornerstone of fisheries science. Annual abundance estimation of large- and small-bodied fish species traditionally requires a substantial investment in time and resources. Thus, methods, such as hydroacoustics are of interest because they present a cost-effective way to passively assess fish popu...
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Migration can be a behavioural response to poor or declining home range habitat quality and can occur when the costs of migration are overcome by the benefi ts of encountering higher-quality resources elsewhere. Despite dramatic ecosystem-level changes in the benthic food web of the Laurentian Great Lakes since the colonization of dreissenid mussel...
Article
The Lake Simcoe ecosystem has been subjected to multiple stressors during the past century, including changes in nutrient loads and the introduction of non-native species. To evaluate the effects of these changes on the Lake Simcoe offshore benthic community, we collected benthic samples in 2008 at sites allowing statistical comparisons with detail...
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We evaluated the effects of dreissenid-induced food web changes on rates of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) energy acquisition and allocation in North American populations. We used mass-balance models of lake whitefish growth and methylmercury accumulation in 17 populations with and without dreissenids present to estimate and contrast rates...