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University of Arkansas Receives Largemouth Bass Grant from Game and Fish Commission

University of Arkansas Receives Largemouth Bass Grant

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Two unidentified varieties of largemouth bass. Photo courtesy of the University of Arkansas

Anglers looking for smallmouth bass will soon be able to identify where to locate specific species.

What's Happening: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will provide University of Arkansas researchers with $ 300,000 over four years to track smallmouth bass varieties.

Why it matters: There are two native varieties, Neosho and Ouachita, that are threatened by another variety introduced to the region, the northern smallmouth bass.

  • Breeding has led to hybridization, which could result in extinctions.
  • The information collected will help AGFC decide where to focus its wildlife management efforts to conserve native species.

Context: Fishing is one of Arkansas' top outdoor tourist attractions.

  • AGFC Metro Estimates More than 113,000 fishermen travel to Arkansas each year, each spending an average of $ 222 per day while in the wild.

Details: Researchers will monitor hybridization by examining samples collected prior to 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, the researchers will create a digital database. It will be used in a very similar way to facial recognition programs, to facilitate the monitoring of native and hybrid varieties of smallmouth bass.


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