Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 281–307 | Cite as

Temperature requirements of fishes from eastern Lake Erie and the upper Niagara River: a review of the literature

  • James R. Spotila
  • Kenneth M. Terpin
  • Robert R. Koons
  • Ralph L. Bonati


Literature on the temperature requirements of fishes expected to occur in eastern Lake Erie and the upper Niagara River is reviewed. Seventy-four species of fishes are reported from Lake Erie and sixty-one from the upper Niagara River. Incipient upper lethal temperatures range from 23° C for Salmo trutta to 41° C for Carassius auratus and Ictalurus nebulosus. Preferred temperatures ranged from 10° C for Coregonus clupeaformis to 31.1° C for Lepomis macrochirus. Spawning temperatures range from < 3.8° C for C. artedii to 15.6–27.7° C for Alosa pseudoharengus. Data is discussed in terms of the effects of thermal effluents on individuals of a species, structure of aquatic communities and impact on ecosystems. Synergistic effects of temperature and toxicants and disruption of sprawning are potentially the most damaging direct effects of thermal effluents.

Heated water may be contributing to the present rate of eutrophication in the lake and river. Increased input of thermal effluents into the eastern basin of Lake Erie will maintain a stress on the fishery and may irreversibly damage it.


Thermal effluents Species Community Ecosystem Lethal temperatures Preferred temperatures Reproduction Growth CTM 

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Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b.v. Publishers 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • James R. Spotila
    • 1
  • Kenneth M. Terpin
    • 1
  • Robert R. Koons
    • 1
  • Ralph L. Bonati
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyState University CollegeBuffaloU.S.A.

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