Welcome, Kylee!

Dr. Ludsin is welcoming Kylee Wilson as his new PhD student this fall. Kylee joins us from SUNY Brockport after completing her master’s on Lake Ontario yellow perch. Kylee will work with Stu on a project in coordination with the Ohio Division of Wildlife exploring the relationship with Lake Erie yellow perch and the invasive zooplankton Bythotrephes.

Kylee has hit the ground running with her first few weeks filled with field work, helping out on Yifan’s catfish project, and even spending a week at Stone Lab to help coordinate the Fisheries Science Training workshop!

Farewell, Rich!

Long-time AEL postdoc, Dr. Rich Budnik is off to join the Ohio EPA’s fish contaminants division. We are excited to have another AEL alum at the Ohio EPA, and we look forward to seeing the great science Dr. Budnik will surely produce!

Great Lakes Fisheries Science Training Workshop

Dr. Ludsin and colleagues at the AEL, Ohio Sea Grant, NOAA, and Michigan State University coordinated the Great Lakes Fisheries Science Training (FST) Workshop in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics from July 29 through August 6 of this summer.

Participants arrived in Columbus on Friday, July 29 and were greeted by workshop coordinators. Saturday they enjoyed lecture and lab sessions at the AEL, and Sunday they traveled to Stone Lab after a stop in Milan, Ohio, for stream sampling and a stop at Old Woman Creek estuary for kayaking and education on the unique value of the estuary. Participants then spent the week at Stone Lab learning all about fisheries science from a wonderful group of scientists and professionals in the Great Lakes fisheries science community.

Local 6th Graders Visit the AEL

In mid-May the AEL welcomed the 6th graders from the Indianola Informal School for first time since the pandemic. The students had a day packed with learning about aquatic ecosystems!

AELers put together great sessions on:

  • Aquatic ecosystems and food webs – the students heard a short lecture from Lyndsie and Devan and then participated in a food web activity
  • Collecting data and sampling in aquatic environments – the students donned waders and hopped into the vernal pond by the AEL with some assistance and education from StuHannahNealRich, and Yifan
  • Mussels! – AEL alumna Kaitlin Ulin gave a short lecture and brought some mussels to demonstrate
  • Nutrient cycling and pollution – Morgan and Matthew put together a wonderful new demonstration with colorful chemistry
  • Otoliths – Steven Alex showed students learned how otoliths are used to age fish and how the oto rings are analogous to tree rings
  • Plankton – Cathy Willi showed the students live plankton under the microscope

Thanks to all the AELers for their hard work in sharing our knowledge, and to Libby for helping coordinate with the teachers to make this event a success!

JASM 2022

Dr. Ludsin and other AELers attended  the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting (JASM) May 14-20 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Stu was a session co-organizer for Exploring past, present, and future of Lake Erie: physicochemical and food web change and their application to ecosystem-based management. He also gave two talks:

  • An integrated approach to understand harmful algal bloom and hypoxia impacts on Lake Erie’s food webs
  • When nutrient abatement meets climate change: Projected impacts on Lake Erie and its watershed

For a complete list of AEL members’ contributions, see the AEL website.

Research Review 2021

Stu Ludsin, Kendra Wecker, Libby Marschall, and John Freudenstein

Dr. Stu Ludsin (AEL faculty), Kendra Wecker (Chief, Ohio Division of Wildlife), Libby Marschall (AEL faculty), and John Freudenstein (Chair, Dept EEOB)

The AEL was once again honored to host an in in-person (and online) Lake Erie and Inland Waters Annual Research Review December 9 and 10 at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center. This event is an opportunity to bring together the researchers from Ohio Division of Wildlife and the university scientists and graduate students with whom they collaborate to study fisheries science and aquatic ecosystems across Ohio.

Talks ranged from zooplankton, to catfish, to walleye, to sturgeon. Find list of talks and posters on the AEL website, and reach out to pfaff.20@osu.edu if you would like copies of the slides or posters. Most talks were given in person, with just a few given as pre-recorded talks with the authors available for questions on Zoom after. There were more than 50 individuals participating via Zoom, including asking questions to in-person presenters.

PhD Student Cory Becher & DOW Colleagues with article in NAJFM

PhD candidate Cory Becher along with Stu Ludsin and Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) colleagues recently published a paper in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management entitled, Alternative Prey Reduces Largemouth Bass Predation Mortality on Newly Stocked Channel Catfish Fingerlings.

The ability to stock fingerlings instead of yearlings, however, could benefit fisheries management agencies by lowering the costs associated with hatchery production. Not having to overwinter Channel Catfish in hatchery ponds would not only save personnel time and lower feed expenses, it would open more space in the hatchery for production of other fishes.

Becher, C., S.M. Tyszko, R.D. Zweifel, J.D. Conroy, J.J. Pritt, and S.A. Ludsin. 2021. Alternative prey reduces largemouth bass predation mortality on newly stocked channel catfish fingerlings. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 41(5): 1322-1333. doi.org/10.1002/nafm.10647

New Article in Global Change Biology


Former AEL postdocs James Sinclair and Mike Fraker along with  Stu as well as AEL faculty Jim Hood and other collaborators have a new article out in Global Change Biology entitled, Functional traits reveal the dominant drivers of long-term community change across a North American Great Lake.

In ecosystems perturbed by multiple simultaneous stressors, discerning which individual or set of stressors is driving community structure is oftentimes difficult. Our results illustrate how supplementing species-based approaches with trait-based ones can help to resolve this issue.

Sinclair, J.S., M.E. Fraker, J.M. Hood, K.T. Frank, M.R. DuFour, A.M. Gorman, and S.A. Ludsin. 2021. Functional traits reveal the dominant drivers of long-term community change across a North American Great Lake. Global Change Biology 27(23): 6232-6251. doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15902