On July 6, 2017, graduate student Greg Chorak successfully defended his Master’s project titled, "Yellow perch genetic stock structure in eastern Lake Michigan: What is the importance of drowned river mouth lakes?". His thesis committee included Drs. Carl Ruetz, Ryan Thum, Charlyn Partridge, and Jennifer Moore.
The goal of Greg's study was to understand whether yellow perch populations are genetically the same or different between eastern Lake Michigan and the connected drowned river mouth (DRM) lakes (e.g., Muskegon Lake). To do this, Greg genotyped yellow perch from 10 DRM lakes and 2 sites in nearshore Lake Michigan during 2015-2016. He found that yellow perch from DRM lakes were genetically distinct from nearshore Lake Michigan. His data also suggested that Lake Michigan yellow perch likely use deep areas of DRM lakes during the fall season. Greg also found weak but significant genetic structuring between yellow perch populations in DRM lakes, suggesting that each DRM lake is a different genetic population. Fisheries managers should take into account yellow perch population structure among DRM lakes and that Lake Michigan yellow perch use DRM lakes (during particular times of the year) when setting fishing regulations.
Greg is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Montana State University in plant genetics.