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Ryan Lawrence has a passion for the outdoors. He translated that personal interest into a senior honors research project that will benefit Sheboygan's charter finishing industry.
Lawrence, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in biology, researched the impact that the well-publicized Asian Carp incursion into the Great Lakes could have on Sheboygan's fishing and tourism industry.
Under the direction of Assistant Professor of Biology Paul Pickhardt, Lawrence surveyed Sheboygan's commercial fishermen to better understand their familiarity with this issue and to assess its potential economic impact on their livelihood. In addition to the survey, Lawrence supplemented his research with readings of current news articles on legal cases on the impact of Asian Carp on aquatic ecosystems.
The end product of his honors project was a brochure that he distributed to owners and customers of the charter fishing industry. It discusses the history of the Asian Carp problem, details the two primary species of Asian Carp that could be in Lake Michigan and it highlights the potential economic impact on charter finishing in Sheboygan. "The brochure does a nice job of making this issue real for people," Pickhardt said. "What make one species invade more than others doesn't really interest a lot of people, but the economic impact gets people's attention. This was a very ambitious project, and Ryan did a nice job with it."