Angling for Dinosaurs!

We are planning a new symposium focusing on the ecology, conservation, and management of Holostean Fishes (Gars and Bowfin) for the 2016 American Fisheries Society conference in Kansas City, Missouri! Please share with those who may be interested, and see contact info below if you have questions/comments. More information coming soon!

Gar Bowfin Bass Banner 1a

Angling for Dinosaurs: Status and Future Study of the Ecology, Conservation and Management of Ancient Fishes

A special symposium is planned for the 146th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Kansas City, Missouri in August 2016.  This symposium will focus on the biology, ecology, life history, conservation and management of Holostean Fishes (Bowfin and gar species). As anglers’ perceptions of these ancient fishes begin to transform from “rough fish” to “sport fish,” the need for a better understanding of the ecology and conservation status of these species is fundamental to effective management. We intend to highlight past and current research by including presentations related to:

  • Biology/ecology/life history
  • Age and growth evaluations
  • Population genetics & evolutionary perspectives
  • Sampling methodologies
  • Management evaluations
  • Hybridization
  • Human dimensions

If you manage or are conducting research related to Holostean fisheries, please consider participating in this special symposium. The organizers are planning some type of proceedings or special journal issue where presenters can publish their work if they wish, but the final decision will be based on input from participants.  If you have information you’d like to share that would advance our understanding of Ancient Fishes, please contact the organizers for more information.

The organizers are also seeking potential sponsors for this event.  If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring the symposium, please contact the organizers.

Organizers:

Dr. Solomon R. David1,3, Sarah Huck2,4, Dr. Jeffrey A. Stein2,4

1Shedd Aquarium
2Illinois Natural History Survey
3U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center
4University of Illinois

PDF of announcement: AFS 2016 – Gar Bowfin Symposium Announcement FINAL

Follow @PrimitiveFishes & @SFEL_Stein for more updates and information!

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GARssections!

WARNING: GRAPHIC (but educational) – A throwback to our research on Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) ecology in 2011, here’s an impromptu video on sex determination of the species.

In order to better understand species’ population and life history characteristics (and inform conservation and management), we need to know its size and age structure, as well as variation of that structure between males and females. In general, the sex of gars cannot be determined externally, therefore a population sample is dissected for internal examination. We used other structures of the fish (otoliths, rays, bones, etc) for additional analyses.

references:
Ferrara & Irwin 2001
A Standardized Procedure for Internal Sex Identification in Lepisosteidae
http://bit.ly/1AhB4Et

David 2012
Life history, growth, and genetic diversity of the spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) from peripheral and core populations
http://bit.ly/1DdgomL

-Phase 3, 4, and 5: formalin, dry, instaGARm–

Apologies for the lack of updates on this project and many others, things have been quite hectic over the past couple months with new research projects, a job transition, and more.  Here is the semi-final stage of the alligator gar head project, and it will remain at this stage for a while until some other pieces of the final project can be brought together.  After defrosting the gar and prying the jaws open, it was preserved in a bucket of formalin for several days.  Once formalin preservation was complete, the head was removed and soaked in water for approximately 24 hours (to reduce amount of formalin).  Finally, the head was dried by sitting in the sun/air-dried for several days.  The final product is what you see here; the photo was taken with Instagram, which I have been experimenting with with several primitive fishes as subjects…album coming soon; and you can see some other photos on our facebook page.–

“Gar de Frost”

-Following the recent buzz over the giant alligator gar caught in Texas (see previous post) and finally having a small portion of free time while preparing the lab for more gar work, I decided to begin a small project I’ve had on the table (or in the freezer) for a couple years now.  Phase 1 is defrosting a ~14″-long alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) head which I acquired from colleagues while visiting Nicholls State in Lousiana back in 2010.  I’ll do my best to keep an ongoing update on the project…for now I’m hoping this head will defrost properly over the next couple days before Phase 2!–

Phase 2 HERE.