Scientists around Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are trying to find out how much food gamefish like salmon, trout, and walleye are eating. The problem is that quagga mussels, round gobies, and other invasives have radically changed the amount and types of food available. Old studies may no longer reflect the diet of these important and popular fish species, which leaves scientists guessing at what kind (and how many) baitfish are being eaten.
This could have a big impact on how Great Lakes fisheries are managed. Many salmon and trout species are stocked. If fishery managers do not understand what (and how much) stocked fish will eat, there is a possibility that certain species will run out of food or fail to successfully maintain a sustainable population.
In 2017, anglers around the Great Lakes teamed up with scientists from U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Michigan DNR, Wisconsin DNR, Michigan Sea Grant, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, and MSU to collect and freeze over 1,000 fish stomachs to help with this study. However, we currently do not have anyone to analyze these diets!
Your gifts will allow us to hire MSU students to sort through fish stomachs and identify prey items.
Anglers have done a remarkable job collecting around 1,000 stomachs for our research. Now we need funding to get more hands on deck to find out what is in these stomachs!
The project aims to dissect diets from around lakes Michigan and Huron collected in 2017. There are approximately 1,000 stomachs to analyze. We will identify any trends in stomach contents according to location and season. We will identify dominant prey species to find out how salmon, trout, and walleye are adapting to new invasive species.
This will help fisheries scientists and managers around the Great Lakes understand what (and how much) each gamefish species is really eating. In the long run, this may lead to better decisions about how many fish of each species should be stocked.
We plan to hire three students to work approximately 10-12 hours per week on the project for 20 weeks (slightly more than 1 semester). We estimate this will cost $8,526. Students hired from these funds will undergo rigorous training to analyze predatory fish diets. They will analyze the diets and provide data that will be made available to the general public and management agencies. In addition, students hired for this project will gain valuable experience for future careers in fisheries and fisheries management.
The project will be led by Dr. Brian Roth, an Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Day-to-day operations of the project will be led by Katie Kiercynski, a graduate student in Dr. Roth's laboratory. The students that will be hired will be undergraduates attending MSU.
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East Lansing, MI 48824
*Make check payable to Michigan State University and write “Appeal 18OOPCF1GLFISH” in the note section.