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Global Change Master Directory (GCMD)
Fish Habitat Database
Entry ID: GLFC_FishHabitatDatabase

Abstract: The Fish Habitat Database is a synthesis of extensive information on habitat
requirements and characteristics of selected Great Lakes fish species.
Sponsored by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission through its Habitat Advisory
Board, the Fish Habitat Database was developed in response to a need for
habitat information on Great Lakes fish species. This need was identified in
part in the Joint Strategic Plan for Management of the Great Lakes Fisheries.
In addition, natural resource managers from environmental agencies indicated a
need for fish habitat data in order to develop and implement Fish Management
Plans, Lakewide Management Plans, and Remedial Action Plans that recognize fish
as an integral component of the Great Lakes ecosystem. The database potentially
contains habitat information for 18 selected fish species at five stages of
their life and in six bodies of water. This information was obtained primarily
from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Habitat Suitability Index Models and
other data where available. This version of the database is not the final
product. In fact, information gaps are present in this version. The database is
intended to be an ongoing effort which will need maintenance as new needs are
identified and new information is discovered. The Great Lakes Fishery
Commission is seeking an individual or agency that will be able to take over
this role on behalf of other users in the Great Lakes basin.

Geographic Coverage
 N: 49.0 S: 44.0  E: -70.0  W: -96.0

Data Set Citation
Dataset Creator: Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Dataset Title: Fish Habitat Database
Dataset Publisher: Great Lakes Science Center
Online Resource:

Location Keywords

Science Keywords

ISO Topic Category

The Fish Habitat Database, a document containing extensive information on
habitat characteristics and requirements of several Great Lakes fish species,
has potential to become a valuable source of detailed information on fish
ecology. In order for this compilation to be truly useful, however, the
information it contains must be accurate and reliable. Upon examination of
randomly selected entries in the March 1993 Review Copy, the Great Lakes
Fishery Commission found that some information in the database had been
inaccurately reported from the original publication. These errors caused
concern over the credibility of the database, and further examination of the
cited information was necessary to determine the document's usefulness. In July
1993, an additional twenty-five randomly selected entries were checked for
accuracy, giving the GLFC a better sense of the databases dependability.


A system was developed to ensure that entries checked for accuracy would be
randomly selected. First, a list of random numbers was developed using a random
number generator on a scientific calculator. once this list of numbers was

these were used as the reference numbers by which entries were accessed. The
calculator produced random numbers 0 through 999, therefore entries with
reference numbers 1000 or greater were not selected.

Reference numbers were looked up in the appendix "List of Reference Numbers by
Fish," a sequential listing of reference numbers indicating the fish species
each number referred to. Once the type of fish was known, the section of the
database pertaining to that fish was quickly scanned to locate the entry
containing the specific reference number. After locating the entry, the
information located under the heading "Details" was noted and checked against
the source of that information.

The original publication was indicated under "Primary Reference Number," which
contained a different number corresponding to the information's citation.
Citations were listed in the appendix "Literature Cited (by [Primary] Reference
Number)." If the journal or article referred to in the citation was available,
the text was obtained and checked against the information in the database
(research was done at the GLFC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, limiting
the entries which could be checked to those whose source could be obtained at
either of these locations). Any differences between the source and the database
were noted. This process was repeated until twenty-five entries were checked
against their original publication.


The majority of entries that were checked contained information that had been
correctly reported from the original. Out of twenty-five entries whose
information was checked, three were found to have questionable citations:

1) Reference number 69 contained primary reference (PR) number 386. The
citation indicated by this PR number refers to an article that does not contain
any information similar to that which is included in the entry.

2) Reference number 294 contained PR number 340. The journal article referred
to by this citation contains no information similar to information contained in
the entry.

It is possible that the PR number contained in the entry was mistyped, thereby
preventing the correct citation from being located. It is also possible that
the information in these entries can be located using the review number listed
in the entry, which was 109 in both cases. Although it is not clear what
function the review number serves, the book referred to by 109 was not
available for clarification.

3) Reference Number 142 contained PR number 75. The article referred to in this
citation, "Van Oosten, J. 1947. Mortality of Smelt, Osmerus mordax (Mitchell),
in Lakes Huron and Michigan during the Fall and Winter of 1942-1943.
Transacions of the American Fishery Society 76:283-289,11 was inaccurately
reported. The "Mortality of Smelt... 11 article by Van Oosten actually appears
in volume 74 of the same journal, pages 310-337.

The only other inconsistency between the sources and database information was
in measurement units after conversion to the metric system. Although this is a
minor point and the information is still technically correct, values are not
consistently converted throughout the database (a quick scan of the database
revealed some values reported in standard measure, instead of metric). It is
also not a verbatim representation of the original author's research.
Specifically, data in entries with reference numbers 958, 69, 13, 454, and 749
were found to be converted from the original publication.

Access Constraints

Use Constraints

fish habitat
Great Lakes
Great Lakes fish species
atlantic salmon
brown trout
chinook salmon
coho salmon
gizzard shad
lake herring
lake trout
lake whitefish
largemouth bass
northern pike
pink salmon
rainbow smelt
rainbow trout
smallmouth bass
yellow perch

Data Set Progress

Data Center
Great Lakes Science Center, Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior    [Information]
Data Center URL:

Data Center Personnel
Phone: (734) 214-7243
Email: scott_nelson at
Contact Address:
Great Lakes Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
1451 Green Road
City: Ann Arbor
Province or State: Michigan
Postal Code: 48105
Country: USA

Extended Metadata Properties
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2004-05-21
Last DIF Revision Date: 2017-08-23