MSU, Great Lakes Fishery Commission name research network director

Christopher Vandergoot, currently a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, will become the new director of the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS).

Chris Vandergoot, GLATOS director

Christopher Vandergoot, currently a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, will become the new director of the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS).

Michigan State University and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission jointly announced the appointment, effective May 1. GLATOS is a network of researchers in Canada and the United States who work collaboratively using acoustic telemetry to understand fish behavior in relation to Great Lakes ecology, and provide information useful to Great Lakes provincial, state, and tribal fishery managers.

Vandergoot, who also will be an associate professor at MSU, will succeed Charles Krueger, the network’s first director, who will partially retire May 1.

In 2010, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission established GLATOS to help scientists, managers, and the public better understand fish movement, behavior, and dynamics. GLATOS consists of a network of receivers placed strategically throughout the Great Lakes basin. Acoustic tags, which emit a “ping,” are surgically implanted into individual fish so the fish’s movement can be tracked. The GLATOS receivers detect the pings and record a fish’s location. When aggregated and then combined with other data (such as physical conditions), information from GLATOS can provide a thorough accounting of a fish’s actions and the overall behavior of a particular species.

Current GLATOS projects are tracking the behavior of walleye, lake trout, lake sturgeon, muskellunge, lake whitefish, Asian carps, sea lamprey, black bass, and a host of other critical species. The GLATOS network of the Great Lakes basin is connected to other large acoustic telemetry projects such as the Ocean Tracking Network and the Champlain Acoustic Telemetry Observation System. 

GLATOS both facilitates individual research projects and supports a basin-wide database of tag detections that is accessible to Great Lakes project leaders once their project is registered with GLATOS. To facilitate collaboration and planning, receiver locations and dates of operation are available to all members. Non-members do not have access to data. The GLATOS network is supported partially by funds provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. MSU and the commission support the GLATOS director, who also will be the coordinator of GLATOS staff at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hammond Bay Biological station. For more information about GLATOS, including a list of projects and a map of the receivers, visit

“We are excited to have Dr. Vandergoot serve as our new GLATOS Director,” said Scott Loveridge, interim chair of the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. “Dr. Vandergoot brings to GLATOS a unique blend of experience as a researcher and as a natural resources manager; his skill set will be invaluable to our students and faculty, and to the mission to communicate the GLATOS-generated science to practitioners and to the public.”

“In the decade that GLATOS has been in the Great Lakes region, it has blossomed from a few receivers in a few locations into an indispensable, basin-wide resource for management agencies,” said James McKane, chair of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. “A tagged fish will not go undetected as it swims within or among lakes. Scientists and managers use GLATOS to better understand the ecology, health, and sustainability of our fishery resources. We are very pleased that Dr. Vandergoot has emerged as the next leader of this program and look forward to engaging him in launching a new era of GLATOS. We thank Dr. Charles Krueger not only for conceiving GLATOS but also for serving ably as its director since its inception.”

Vandergoot holds a bachelor of science in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1998), master of science in biology from Tennessee Technological University, and PhD from MSU (2014).  His professional experience includes working for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (2001-2002), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (2002-2016), and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center (2016-2019). 

He has a keen interest in understanding the movement dynamics of Great Lakes fishes, including walleye, yellow perch, lake trout, lake whitefish, and grass carp with special emphasis on Lake Erie, and then applying that information as input to management decision making. He has more than 37 peer reviewed scientific publications and has been awarded several competitive research grants.


The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is an international organization established by the United States and Canada through the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries. The commission has the responsibility to support fisheries research, control the invasive sea lamprey, and facilitate cross-border management.

Did you find this article useful?