University of Arkansas catches smallmouth bass grant
Anglers seeking smallmouth bass may soon be able to identify where to locate specific species.
What's happening: The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will provide University of Arkansas researchers $300,000 over four years to track varieties of smallmouth bass.
Why it matters: There are two native varieties, the Neosho and Ouachita, which are threatened by another variety introduced to the region, the Northern smallmouth bass.
- Breeding has caused hybridization, which could result in extinctions.
- Information collected will help AGFC decide where to focus its wildlife management efforts to conserve the native species.
Context: Fishing is one of Arkansas' top outdoor tourism attractions.
- AGFC estimates more than 113,000 anglers travel to Arkansas every year, and each spends an average of $222 per day while in the Natural State.
Details: Researchers will track hybridization by examining specimens collected before the 1950s, from 1950 to 2005, and live specimens collected in the field.
- After using DNA to help identify specific physical characteristics of each variety, researchers will create a digital database. It will be used much like facial recognition programs, to make tracking of native and hybrid varieties of smallmouth bass easier.
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