Great Lakes fish are always on the move, but their migratory patterns and their movement in the lakes is not fully understood.

That’s the basis for a partnership between the Shedd Aquarium and several other agencies to look into two specific migrations. By doing so researchers hope to better understand how invasive species, pollution, overfishing, and habitat loss, among other factors, have affected some of the Great Lakes’ most important species.

From National Geographic:

Lake whitefish is the largest commercial fishery in Lake Michigan, and it’s an economically and ecologically important species throughout the Great Lakes. In addition to its financial significance for fisheries, the lake whitefish also provides living evidence that helps us investigate the impacts of anthropogenic activity in Lake Michigan and associated tributaries. Habitat degradation via sawmill pollution and deforestation wiped out lake whitefish migrations in the early 20th century, causing lake whitefish migrations to vanish. Yet, recently, we’ve seen some of those migrations reappear. This may be due to the 1972 Clean Water Act, which possibly improved water quality enough to make spawning possible in some of the lake’s river habitats. If we can understand why certain migrations have reemerged among Lake Michigan populations, we can inform conservation and management strategies for Lake whitefish populations and migratory species in and beyond the Great Lakes.”

Follow the link above to read about the projects to study both lake whitefish and northern pike, two important Great Lakes species.