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Growth Potential and Genetic Diversity of Yellow Perch in South Dakota


July 2014 - June 2017


Yellow perch are an important sport fish and prey component of fish communities in many South Dakota lakes. Recent genetic research has confirmed that genetic structure is present within South Dakota’s yellow perch populations. Additionally, two distinct yellow perch population types exist within eastern South Dakota (Lott et al. 1996). The two types include higher quality populations that are characterized by fast growth, relatively larger fish, low population density and inconsistent recruitment. The second population type generally is lower quality characterized by slow growth, smaller fish, high population density and relatively consistent recruitment. Recently an additional mortality component, where few fish exceed age 3, has been identified within each population type. The lack of fish older than age 3 limits the sport fish potential of these populations. The different population characteristics found in South Dakota lakes may be the result of phenotypic plasticity or genetic composition or a combination of the two. Parker et al. (2009) found the morphological diversity of age-1 yellow perch to result from interplay between phenotypic plasticity and genetic divergence.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Adaptive Management System for the East River Ecoregion Strategic Plan identified the high natural mortality of yellow perch in some natural lakes as an issue for eastern South Dakota. Strategy 7.3 of the Strategic Plan is to develop research projects (e.g., yellow perch genetics) to identify potential causes of observed mortality schedules.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 101

Masters Students: 235

Phd Students: 161

Post Docs: 57

University Staff: 261

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 685

Scientific Publications: 1884

Presentations: 4375



Funding Agencies

  • Game, Fish & Parks


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey