USGS - science for a changing world

U.S. Geological Survey - Great Lakes Science Center

Patrick Kocovsky


Research Fishery Biologist Lake Erie Biological Station Email: Phone: (419) 625-1976 ext. 17 Fax: (419) 625-7164 Professional Page:


B.S. (Fishery Biology), Colorado State University, 1993
M.S. (Wildlife and Fisheries Science), Penn State University, 1999
Ph. D. (Wildlife and Fisheries Science), Penn State University, 2004

Current Studies

Population Structure of Yellow Perch in Lake Erie

Yellow perch is one of two exploited species in Lake Erie that account for over a billion dollars in net economic value. Collaborative genetic and morphometric research has revealed structuring of the Yellow Perch population is at a scale finer than the scale at which the species is managed. Continuing genetics and PIT-tagging work seeks to define the spatial scale of population structuring and how mobile smaller-scale population units are. The ultimate goal is to inform management of yellow perch for long-term sustainability.

Principal Investigator: Patrick Kocovsky
Long-term Ecological Fish Community Research at East Harbor

Bottom trawl sampling at our East Harbor sites has been conducted since 1961. This long-term data set has permitted understanding how recruitment indices of native benthic species have been affected by invasive species. Data have also been used to inform species recovery plans for Silver Chub, a COSEWIC species of special concern. Ongoing work is examining ecology of Silver Chub and Trout-perch, the former a species recovering from very low numbers whose recovery coincided with establishment of dreissenid mussels, the latter an abundant benthic species with no known predators.

Principal Investigator: Patrick Kocovsky
Hydroacoustic Assessment of Forage Fishes in Lake Erie

Hydroacoustics permits sampling large areas over short periods of time with minimal negative effects on aquatic fauna and has been used to develop indices of abundance of several Great Lakes forage species (e.g., emerald shiner, rainbow smelt) for over 2 decades. Continual improvement of hydroacoustics methods through research into data collection and analysis techniques has been part of GLSC hydroacoustics programs for the past decade. Hydroacoustics has been identified by the CLC and Lake Erie partners as a high-priority program for the GLSC. Current collaborative research includes: evaluating elements of the Great Lakes Standard Operating Procedure and sensitivity analysis of parameters for analyzing hydroacoustic data.

Principal Investigator: Patrick Kocovsky

Recent Publications

Mark R. DuFour, Christine M. Mayer, Patrick M. Kocovsky, Song S. Qian, Dave M. Warner, Richard T. Kraus, and Christopher S. Vandergoot 2017. Sparse targets in hydroacoustic surveys: Balancing quantity and quality of in situ target strength data. Elsevier . Fisheries Research . 173-182.
Contribution #2097
Holly S. Embke, Patrick M. Kocovsky, Catherine A. Richter, Jeremy J. Pritt, Christine M. Mayer, and Song S. Qian 2016. First direct confirmation of grass carp spawning in a Great Lakes tributary. Elsevier . Journal of Great Lakes Research . 42 (4). 899-903.
Contribution #2040
Richard T. Kraus, Carey T. Knight, Troy M. Farmer, Ann Marie Gorman, Paris D. Collingsworth, Glenn J. Warren, Patrick M. Kocovsky, and Joseph D. Conroy 2015. Dynamic hypoxic zones in Lake Erie compress fish habitat, altering vulnerability to fishing gears. NRC Research Press . Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences . 72 (6). 797-806.
Contribution #1916
Grace Handley, Cynthia M. Frantz, Patrick M. Kocovsky, Dennis R. DeVries, Steven J. Cooke, and Julie Claussen 2015. An Examination of Gender Differences in the American Fisheries Society Peer-Review Process. Taylor & Francis . Fisheries . 40 (9). 442-451.
Contribution #1956
Patrick M. Kocovsky, Andrea T. Stoneman, Richard T. Kraus 2014. Ecology and population status of Trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus) in western Lake Erie. Journal of Great Lakes Research . 40 208-214.
Contribution #1787

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