Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Devin Bloom

Second Advisor

Todd Barkman


Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) are widely distributed throughout the Midwest and are popular game fish and table fare. Seasonally, some eastern Lake Michigan Yellow Perch migrate into drowned river mouth lakes. Drowned river mouths are highly productive environments that also hold non-migratory resident Yellow Perch. Migration requires substantial energy expenditure; therefore, we expected migratory Yellow Perch to evolve locomotory traits that optimize energy efficiency for swimming long distances. We expected drowned river mouth lake resident Yellow Perch to evolve locomotory traits that enhance maneuverability, which are beneficial in avoiding predators, capturing prey, and moving through the structurally complex littoral zone. We assessed differences in functional locomotory traits in migratory eastern Lake Michigan and non-migratory resident drowned river mouth lake Yellow Perch populations, as well as among different resident drowned river mouth lake populations. We found that migratory fish have traits that enhance cruising, while resident drowned river mouth populations possess traits conducive to maneuvering. Our results suggest that Yellow Perch are highly adapted to the locomotory demands of their respective life cycles and habitats, revealing the need to account for evolutionary history when managing Yellow Perch populations and setting fishing regulations.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Poling_ Perch_Presentation_2024.pdf (1926 kB)
Defense Presentation

Included in

Biology Commons