Kyle Von Ruden

Man on boat holding a fish on the Mississippi river.
Fish Biologist

555 Lester Ave
Onalaska, WI 54650
United States

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About Kyle Von Ruden

Staff at Whitney Genetics Lab getting ready to sample hundreds of eDNA samples
Meet Kyle Von Ruden - DNA Detective
How would you describe your conservation work to someone you just met?  

I’m a Fish Biologist in the Whitney Genetics Lab at the Midwest Fisheries Center in Onalaska, WI.  I analyze environmental DNA water samples in an early detection effort of invasive carp to monitor their growing population in some of the larger river systems like the Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois as well as the Great Lakes.  My work in environmental DNA is part of an overall effort in a National Invasive Carp Monitoring Program.

What does conservation mean to you?

To preserve nature and wild things as they are for future generations to experience.

What is your favorite aquatic species?

I’m a fish guy, so it is hard to choose, but I would have to say it might be the flathead catfish.  They are a top predator where they live and are a pretty stealthy but powerful fish.   

Do you have a memorable moment on the job?

I would have to say the first time I was in the field and actually got to see bighead and silver carp up close.  It’s hard to imagine how big they are until your holding a 60lb fish like that from the Mississippi River.  It gives you a better idea of the kind of resources they can take away from our native species and how it might impact the habitat.

Most enjoyable aspect of your work.  

I work in a lab most of the time and enjoy the work that I do and the regular schedule.  However, I really enjoy being in fisheries because it is a passion of mine and with my job opportunities arise to help in the field from time to time as well.  I spend a lot of time out on the Mississippi River, so being in fisheries I always stay informed on studies and other things happening on the river that are always interesting to hear about.

What led to your career choice?  Did you have a fish or conservation "ah-ha!" moment?  

I grew up on a farm and lived not far from the Mississippi River.  We spent a lot of time there fishing when the chores were done, as my grandpa and dad loved to fish.  Almost everything I did growing up revolved around fishing and the outdoors, so it was kind of a natural choice for me to have a career in fisheries because I wanted to do something that I really enjoyed.

Where did you go to school?  

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

To find available fish biologist jobs, go to Search “0482” Filter by “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service” or “Department of the Interior.” Position requires a degree with a major in biological sciences or a combination of education and experience. Details about education and experience requirements. Specific requirements are detailed in individual job listings.