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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