Why we need museum collections

As fisheries ecologists, we live, work, and think in the present. We identify problems, then design and conduct field studies to address them. We solve the problem by relating some pattern to a process that was measured over a few field seasons—a static snapshot in time. But oftentimes we need to examine patterns through time,…

Spawning in strange waters: how hybridization affects native fishes

By Ed Kluender, guest blogger Hybrid creatures are one of the most common tropes of both goofy and great horror movies (think The Fly or countless werewolf movies), and plenty of them are at least half fish – Creature, Piranhaconda, and the Sharktopus franchise. Most of those films have a pretty shaky basis in reality,…

Predators reject yellow perch egg skeins

Yellow perch produce eggs in gelatinous ribbons, but so far nobody knows why. We explored this peculiar trait by conducted some experiments to see if these ribbons protect eggs from predators. Helpless and delicious. Fish eggs and larvae are an energy-rich meal for predators. For some species, predator consumption of eggs and larvae can reach up…

Twitter predicts citations of ecology research

As scientists, communicating our research is just as important as doing it. We are well-trained to use the scientific method—we make hypotheses, we conduct experiments, draw conclusions, and repeat. But if nobody knows about what we did, what’s the point? That’s the main reason The Fisheries Blog exists. We use a popular medium to communicate…

Fish biodiversity by the numbers

I was recently asked why I study stream and river fishes. Of course I rattled off several of the high points about threatened habitats, high biodiversity, and simply cool fish. But that question prompted me to reflect on why I do what I do, and I decided to go back to ‘square one’– the well-accepted…

Perch, bream, and sunfish–what’s the difference?

Perch, bream, and sunfish—same thing right? WRONG. Local names vary for these popular sport fishes, and this post is aimed to clear the water on such a confusing subject. So just what is a “sunfish”? Technically, a sunfish is any species in the freshwater fish family Centrarchidae (sin-tr-ark-i-day). These include black basses, rock basses, crappies, banded sunfishes,…

A student’s guide to networking at professional conferences

  Your fisheries professor has probably been looking forward to the Annual AFS meeting with same enthusiasm of a host waiting for party guests… but as a student at your first meeting, you probably feel a child standing in line for their first roller coaster ride.  For students who have not had practice in attending meetings, professional conferences can be intimidating, indeed!…

#SocialFish at #AFS146 in Kansas City–See you there!

For the first time ever, all 5 Fisheries Bloggers will be in the same room together. Why? Because at this year’s American Fisheries Society conference in Kansas City, we will be teaming up with the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists (AIFRB) to host a special symposium: Fisheries science in 140 characters: the role of social media…

Book review: Sex in the Sea

If you like dirty jokes about whale junk, we know just the book. As you know, we at The Fisheries Blog are fascinated with reproductive ecology of fishes. I’ve written articles on multi-species spawning parties and other strange spawning tactics, and Patrick is fascinated with sex-changing clownfish and doubly-endowed sharks. But Dr. Marah Hardt has us beat….

Breeding colors of freshwater fishes

You don’t have to fly to Cozumel to see pretty fishes. Freshwater fishes are amazingly colorful, but are underrated. Fish enthusiasts and divers often flock to tropical latitudes and coral reefs to see exotic, specimens. However, some of the most eye-catching specimens are swimming in North American streams at this very moment. It’s spawning season…

What can guppies teach us about fisheries management?

We can’t manipulate entire stocks of Bluefin Tuna in massive experiments. But we can use guppies to get the same answer. But first, a quiz: How does overfishing affect fish populations? Obviously, more commercial catch reduces the total biomass and number of individuals in a stock—that’s a given. But commercial over-harvest has another, more subtle…

Bigfoot teaches statistics

I completely changed how I teach fisheries and wildlife sciences, and I used Bigfoot to do it. I realized we don’t have to choose between teaching analytical skills or scientific literacy. After all, science is based on the process of inquiry. As researchers, we acknowledge this fact everyday: we have to, we live it. Isn’t…

How to land a technician job in fisheries and wildlife

Spring: a wonderful time of year when a young biologist’s thoughts turn to field work and all the great experiences that come with it.  But to earn paid access to all those rivers and mountains, you have to go through the time-honored process of dusting off your résumé, writing cover letters and personal statements, and…

Three a-LURE-ing aquatic adaptations!

Hey anglers, what’s your favorite fishing lure? Does it mimic a minnow? How about a crayfish or salamander? As sport fishing has become more popular, fishing lures have evolved to appear more and more realistic. But they still can’t match the natural lures produced my millions of years of evolution. This week, we’ve teamed up…

Deeper understanding from shallow streams

Chubs are prolific ecosystem engineers. Photo by B. Peoples Chubs (Nocomis spp.) are large minnows that are common throughout eastern North America. In spring, adult male chubs carry gravel in their mouths to construct large, mound-shaped nests for spawning. Nests can be 1.5 m in diameter and over a half-meter tall. Chub nests are unique…