Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC)
A day in the life of a MAISRC researcher: Sampling for Heterosporis at Cass Lake
What does studying the effects of Heterosporis on perch look like? Check out these photos of MAISRC PhD student Megan Tomamichel conducting field work at Cass Lake to get an idea. Megan is partnering with the Minnesota DNR to pick the gill nets from their large lake sampling. They also record the length, weight, and sex data as they process the fish. To search for Heterosporis, Megan filets the fish on site to look for the characteristic freezer burn appearance. Any Heterosporis that’s present is saved for future use in MAISRC’s pathogen lab on campus.
Each fish also gets its own ID number so their disease status can be tracked once further tests – such as wet mounts where they can look for spores and qPCR analysis – can be conducted.
The goal of this Heterosporis research is to provide an initial estimate of the threat posed to the harvestable biomass of yellow perch and establish timelines for population-level impacts. Heterosporis damages the skeletal muscle of fish, renders them unfit for human consumption, and can result in direct mortality. Learn more about this disease here.