2019 September General Meeting: Featuring Nicole Watson



Nicole Watson

Ph.D. Student, Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Arctic Grayling have long been a favorite species of mine. I am enthralled by the uniqueness of each fish, their history in North America, and the beauty of their coloration and dorsal fin. My Ph.D. research focuses on young Arctic Grayling, Brook and Brown trout. The overarching goal of my research is to clarify uncertainties to successful Grayling reintroduction to Michigan streams. It is a multifaceted study including the following: predation of Grayling fry by resident, age-1 Brook and Brown trout; competition between age-0 Grayling, Brook, and Brown trout; Grayling imprinting to home waters at early life stages; alarm cues; aspects of physiological development; predator avoidance and predator cue recognition by juvenile Grayling. My research takes me to Alaska each spring to transport Grayling eggs back to my lab at Michigan State University. I spend each summer and fall running trials back in my lab (and finding time to fly fish in Northern Michigan).

I earned my M.S. at Central Michigan University where I focused on the utilization of otolith microchemistry to determine streams of origin of juvenile Steelhead in tributaries of Lake Michigan.

When not at MSU or home downstate, I am typically found at my Northern MI home base, The Hideout. I enjoy fishing for Brook trout in creeks and small rivers in MI. I am passionate about native wild salmonids and have been known to hike mountains seeking them out if needed.


I will discuss my current Grayling research and share some fishing and field experiences.