Student earns award for research on invasive quagga mussels, goby fish

By Dana Kobilinsky

Sport fish are likely consuming a common prey source of round goby like this one, graduate student John Whitinger found. ©U.S. Army Photo by Matt Shanks/Released

A student from Northern Michigan University earned the award for top research project at the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society-Wildlife Society meeting.

Biology graduate student and teaching assistant John Whitinger earned the award for best poster for his research characterizing how invasive species like quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis) and round goby fish (Neogobius melanostomus) influence native sport fish like walleye (Sander vitreus) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens).

In his poster titled, “Tropic Ecology of Sport Fish in a Lake Michigan Embayment,” Whitinger studied stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen to understand the ecology of fish communities. His study results suggest that walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and yellow perch are beginning to consume a common prey source, which he believes is round goby.

The upcoming joint AFS-TWS conference in Reno this year will feature similar topics that intersect both wildlife and fisheries areas.

Dana KobilinskyDana Kobilinsky is associate editor at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at with any questions or comments about her article. You can follow her on Twitter at @DanaKobi.

Read more of Dana's articles here.

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