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From sticklebacks to sculpins: Fisheries class does sampling work

A Northern Michigan University fisheries management class surveys Whetstone Brook near Founders Landing in Marquette using electrofishing. Electrofishing temporary anesthetizes the fish so they can be identified and data collected before being returned to the water. (Photo courtesy of NMU)
These are small trout sampled near Whetstone Brook. (Photo courtesy of NMU)

MARQUETTE — A Northern Michigan University fisheries management class spent a recent Friday afternoon wading with nets in Whetstone Brook near Founders Landing in Marquette.

With the guidance of NMU graduate student Chase Daiek, they were learning equipment operation and safety associated with electrofishing, a common sampling technique used for surveying small streams.

“This is something they’ll be doing in the field after they graduate,” Daiek said. “It temporarily anesthetizes the fish so we can identify the species and record their length and weight before returning them to the water.”

The class was looking primarily for small trout, along with other small native species such as sticklebacks and sculpins. Daiek was clearly surprised when two young burbot showed up in one net. He said that was a rare find for the Whetstone Brook location.

Daiek works under the supervision of NMU Professor Jill Leonard, a fish biologist whose research specialty is the physiological ecology of fish migration. In recent years, her laboratory has focused on the restoration of coaster brook trout, a migratory strain, to Lake Superior tri

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