Foraging and Migration Ecology of Common Merganser

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation spends approximately $7.7 million annually to support its fish hatcheries, which raises and stock approximately 900,000 pounds of fish per year. Brown trout (Salmo trutta), comprise about 55% by weight of the annual production. Given the financial costs involved with raising and releasing trout for put-and-take fisheries, the recent range expansion of Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) across New York State is a concern of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation fisheries biologists. While many studies have documented merganser depredation levels of game fishes across North America, none have sufficiently addressed their effects in New York State and more specifically on hatchery reared brown trout post-release.


Project Title: Foraging and Migration Ecology of Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) in Southeastern New York, USA

Summary:
Our study is examining migration chronology, population size, and foraging ecology of Common Mergansers as it relates to released brown trout through the use of satellite telemetry, count surveys, and scientific collection of birds.

Location: Upper West Branch of the Delaware River, Delaware County, New York, USA

Timeline: 2009-2011

Field participants:
Joshua Stiller, M.S. Candidate, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry
SUNY Cobleskill interns and volunteers
Rob Poprawski (technician)
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation biologist/technicians

Principal Investigators:
Dr. Guy Baldassarre, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry
Bryan Swift, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Funding:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Contact:
Joshua Stiller
129 Illick Hall, 1 Forestry Drive
SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry
Jcstille@syr.edu, Phone: (716) 200-2353