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Brian C Weidel, PhD

Brian Weidel is a research fishery biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center where he leads collaborative research on prey fishes and native fish restoration ecology. 

Brian works with state and provincial agencies in Lake Ontario to annually assess prey fish stocks, like Alewife, which informs the decisions that sustain that lake’s world class trout and salmon fisheries. Brian’s research also addresses prey fish conservation for species like Deepwater Sculpin, a bottom-dwelling fish that inhabits depths from 80 – 240 meters (165-792 feet) and is prey for native predators including Burbot and Lake Trout. This species was likely extirpated from Lake Ontario for decades, but the research done by Brian and colleagues has documented the remarkable natural recovery of the species. Most recently Brian joined a multi-agency international effort to study and restore Great Lakes fishes from the genus Coregonus. Populations of Cisco, Lake Whitefish, and Bloater were among the Great Lakes’ most abundant fishes prior to European colonization and supported critical fisheries; but human driven changes have caused extirpations and population declines. Brian’s research is among the to quantify how habitats and conditions influence incubation success for these species that spawn in late fall and winter and emerge from the lake bottom substrates just after ice out. Research teams are evaluating the efficacy of rehabilitating lake spawning habitat substrates for improving reproduction and evaluating these actions as potential tools for coregonine restoration and conservation.