Cooperative Research Units
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Genetic assessment of seven fish species above and below the Wisconsin River Dam at Prairie du Sac

Duration

July 2016 - June 2018

Narrative

Water flow on the Wisconsin River is intensively controlled by dams to generate hydroelectric power or to regulate water levels in lakes, reservoirs, or flood events. These structures likely restrict or eliminate upstream/downstream fish movement, creating artificial barriers that result in habitat fragmentation and localized isolation of fish populations. Many riverine fish species move and/or migrate in search of food, suitable spawning habitat, or to meet seasonal habitat needs. Unfortunately, dams may separate these fish from resources and habitat they need to sustain the population, and can reduce gene flow between the isolated populations, potentially reducing genetic diversity and fitness. Therefore, these artificially fragmented river systems are of increasing concern to fish managers as the seclusion of local and migratory fish populations may contribute to a greater risk of population decline or extirpation.
Downstream fish movement at Prairie du Sac is possible, and therefore some downstream transfer of genetic material from Lake Wisconsin to the lower Wisconsin River does occur. However, by blocking upstream migration of fish from the lower Wisconsin River into Lake Wisconsin, the dam prevents the transfer of genetic material from fish populations that reside below the dam to populations of the same species that reside above the dam. Therefore, conservation of genetic diversity is of great concern to species that remain present above and below Prairie du Sac Dam because a reduction in genetic diversity can lead to a reduction in the ability to adapt to selective pressures.

Research Products and Activities

Thesis

  • Ruzich, J.K. 2018. Minimal effects to genetic diversity and population structure in seven fish species isolated by a
    hydroelectric dam. M.S. Thesis. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. 79 p.

Presentations

  • Ruzich, J., W. Larson, K. Turnquist, N. Nye, and D. Rowe. February 2017. Genetic assessment of seven species above and below the Prairie du Sac dam. Minnesota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Saint Cloud, Minnesota.
  • Ruzich, J., S. Hansen, D. Rowe, W. Larson. January 2018. Spatial genetic structure of smallmouth bass across Wisconsin. Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Ruzich, J., W. Larson, K. Turnquist, N. Nye, and D. Rowe. January 2018. Genetic connectivity of seven fish species sampled above and below the prairie du sac dam on the lower wisconsin river. Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
 

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 241

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 51

University Staff: 247

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 645

Scientific Publications: 1884

Presentations: 4072

 

Personnel

  • Wes LarsonPrincipal Investigator
  • Jenna RuzichStudent
  • Keith TurnquistStaff

Funding Agencies

  • Alliant Energy

Links

Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey