The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Day I Held a Lamprey

The United States Geological Service (USGS)
 has a research facility on northern Lake Huron dedicated to studying and controlling the invasive lamprey. This creature (it resembles an eel, but is actually in a separate class) suctions on to large fish and literally sucks the life out of them.

I interviewed Dr. Mike Hansen, Field Station Supervisor, for my second book. 

While back in Rogers City recently to give a talk at the library, I stopped in at the facility to see 
Dr. Hansen and tour the facility.

USGS Station signs

 Lamprey entered Lake Erie through the Welland Canal in the 1930s. Prior to this, the lamprey had populated Lake Ontario, but were prevented from moving into the other lakes by Niagara River and the mighty Niagara Falls.

Lauren (a communications rep) with the eggs from just one female lamprey 

A single lamprey lays tens of thousands of eggs. It is impossible to eradicate them, so controlling the population is the best option.

Lamprey are kept in these containers for study

 This facility studies the lamprey, organizes monitoring of streams and rivers where they spawn, and coordinates the treatment of waterways to kill lamprey when they are in the larval stage.

It's best to keep your eye on the lamprey...especially if it's got an eye on you

The multi-toothed suction mouth of the lamprey

Juvenile lamprey. Not so scary, but they'll latch on faster than the adults 

You can stop in and get a tour of the station located on Hammond Bay just north of Rogers City on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2pm, or by appointment.
Learn more about the station HERE
And read about this important work in my second book, A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk.

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