CMU Earth and Ecosystem Science graduate will release book in 2024

Carson Prichard, Ph.D., explains his journey to creating his book, “The Salmon Capital of Michigan: The Rise and Fall of a Great Lakes Fishery.”

| Author: Kendall Weishaupt | Media Contact: Kara Owens

Carson Prichard Ph.D., a 2018 Earth and Ecosystem Science program graduate, wrote a book titled “The Salmon Capital of Michigan: The Rise and Fall of a Great Lakes Fishery.” It describes the impact of the Lake Huron Chinook salmon fishery on the coastal community of Rogers City, Michigan. The book is set for release on April 2, 2024.  

Prichard attended Grand Valley State University for his bachelor’s degree in Biology and Michigan State University for his master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife before attending CMU for his Ph.D. While at CMU, he was part of the Earth and Ecosystem Science Ph.D. program which was brand new at the time. He was the second-ever student to graduate from the program.  

In his time at CMU, Prichard researched Great Lakes fisheries, particularly a fish species called steelhead, and worked closely with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). His research was centered around steelhead otolith microchemical analysis, which allows the determination of the birthplace and movement of the fish. Otoliths are a type of bone in the heads of fish, and trace elements in the water where the fish live are incorporated into the bone as it grows. The trace elements in the bone tell researchers where the fish is from and has been. He analyzed data on juvenile and adult steelhead from Lake Michigan to help the other students and researchers who may continue this work.  

After graduating from CMU in 2018, Prichard moved around the country and wrote a book. His book rose from personal interest in the salmon fishery that collapsed on Lake Huron. He has been a salmon and steelhead fisher since he was a teenager and became interested in more than just the science of why the fishery collapsed, particularly its impact on people. In 2021, he interviewed 19 residents of Rogers City, Michigan, in the northern lower peninsula, east of the Mackinac Bridge, a town once regarded as The Salmon Capital of Michigan. The book alternates between Prichard’s own narrative and excerpts from the interviews with the residents.  

His time at CMU helped Prichard in writing his book. While in his Ph.D. program, he had lots of freedom in his research which helped him gain the skills to do independent research for this book. He also made lots of connections with the DNR and other professionals. In the future, he plans to continue writing about fisheries and the natural world.  

Pre-order Prichard's book here: Amazon Pre-Order.

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