Dr. Michael Wagner, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Georgia, Fish and Aquatic Ecology
I am a broadly trained aquatic ecologist with a principal focus on the behavioral ecology of fishes occupying both freshwater and marine ecosystems. In particular, I study the natural and anthropogenic mechanisms that underlie the establishment and spread of invasive fishes, the behavioral interactions that occur among fishes, and the translation of scientific knowledge into practical management tools to preserve native species and ecosystems. My hypotheses are ultimately derived from, and supported by, both appropriate theoretical foundations and the patterns arising from direct observation of the target species in its natural habitat. I have become convinced that local circumstances are at least as important as the underlying biology in mediating the life of any stream organism. I work to reveal the myriad fundamental mechanisms that regulate the expression and utility of behavior (e.g., competition effects on aggression, public information used in migration), and to expose the environmental contexts during which each of those mechanisms become important.
Trevor Meckley (M.S., Ph.D. candidate)
My research focuses on understanding the role of larva-released migratory pheromones in mediating the spawning migration of the sea lamprey, and testing new ways to manipulate this behavior to achieve pest control in the Great Lakes. In particular, I am using sophisticated acoustic-telemetry (both manual tracking and fixed hydrophone arrays) to elucidate sea lamprey behavior as it tracks, isolates, and pursues the source of larval odors (river plumes). In addition, I am using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (EcoMapper) from YSI, Inc. to create highly accurate maps of the river plume to associate with observed lamprey movements. The results from this work should reveal what strategies are used by sea lamprey to find a river mouth and what role larval odors play in migratory search behavior.
Adam Thomas (M.S. candidate)
B.S., Michigan State University, Fisheries and Wildlife/Environmental Studies
The male sea lamprey releases a multi-component sex pheromone to attract females onto nests. To date, a single component of that pheromone mixture, 3-keto-petromyzonol sulfate (3kPZS), has been elucidated, synthesized, and proven viable as a long-distance attractant. However, 3kPZS is not as attractive as whole male odor. Thus, my research addresses the following question: How can we best use a synthesized copy of a partial sex pheromone to attract and capture female sea lampreys? I am investigating how a female sea lamprey’s innate mate preferences regulate her response to natural and man-made mating signals (3kPZS vs. spawning males) in a Michigan stream. My first-year findings led to the development of a novel control strategy (the Reverse-Intercept Approach) that exploits the accumulation of immature females at dams. In 2009 I tested this control approach and revealed its utility in sea lamprey control.
Mark Luehring (M.S., 2007)
Mark completed two major field experiments designed to investigate how female sea lampreys choose amongst male sex pheromone signals that vary in intensity, source (groups vs. individuals), and origin (natural vs. synthesized). These led to two manuscripts that are currently under consideration (abstracts are linked ).
Luehring, M.A. and C.M. Wagner. In Review. Female sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) prefer the odor emitting from groups of males: evidence for mate finding or mate choice? Submitted to Behavioral Ecology. Abstract.
Luehring, M.A. and C.M. Wagner. In Review. The efficacy of two synthesized sea lamprey sex pheromone components as a trap lure when in direct competition with natural male odors. Submitted to Biological Invasions. Abstract.
Dr. Gary Grossman, University of Georgia
Stream fish ecology
Dr. James Hanson, Seton Hall University
Development of polymer-emitters for pheromone deployment
Dr. Weiming Li, Michigan State University
Sea lamprey reproductive pheromones
Dr. Phanikumar Mantha, Michigan State University
Modeling of river plume dynamics
Dr. Michael Siefkes, Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Sea lamprey reproductive pheromones
Mr. Eric Stroud, Shark Defense
Sea lamprey necromones/repellents
Mr. Michael Twohey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Marquette Biological Station
Novel sea lamprey control