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Where Are They Now?

Don Schreiner holding fish

Don Schreiner

Which Sea Grant researcher did you work with as a graduate student and what did you work on?

I worked with Ira Adelman in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota. My masterís project involved the identification and differentiation of rainbow smelt stocks in Minnesotaís portion of Lake Superior using a genetic technique called electrophoresis.

What do you do now?

I work for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and am the area fisheries supervisor for Minnesotaís portion of Lake Superior. I also represent Minnesotaís interests on the Great Lakes Fishery Commissionís Lake Superior Technical Committee and am working on the coaster brook trout rehabilitation project.

How did your graduate work prepare you for your current job?

Several areas come to mind. The ability to define, research, and answer resource-based questions using the scientific method was the foundation of my masterís program. I am continually required to use and refine these skills on a variety of Lake Superior management issues. During sampling for my graduate project, I worked with many of the commercial fisherman along the North Shore and continue to work with many of the same folks today. The focus of my project, the rainbow smelt, was unintentionally introduced into Lake Superior and became extremely abundant. It supported a major commercial fishery and was a major diet item of many Lake Superior predators. Over the last 20 years, smelt abundance has declined dramatically while the native forage species, lake herring, has rebounded. These are species we monitor continually.

Have you received any noteworthy awards in the last few years?

Our group received a Special Award of Merit from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission for successful restoration of lake trout in Lake Superior. I also co-authored a paper with a number of colleagues that addressed the declining survival of stocked lake trout in Lake Superior. The paper won the James W. Moffett Outstanding Publication Award for best paper published in 1994 from the Great Lakes Science Center.

Why do you think Sea Grant is a worthwhile organization?

Sea Grant provides assistance and services in many ways. It provides opportunities for graduate students to gain valuable training and research experience in the aquatic resource field. It provides funding for research initiatives that further our understanding of aquatic processes in the Great Lakes. The outreach program provides information transfer between the research community and the general public interested in aquatic resources. This is a role that Sea Grant personnel perform admirably. From educating the public on exotic invaders, to working with local governments on water quality initiatives, to working on economic models of tourism and resource use, their role is extremely varied and valuable.

By Sea Grant Staff
February 2004

Return to February 2004 Seiche

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