Genetic Diversity Should Be In Your Plan
Genetics play an important role in the vitality of pets, livestock, and—fish. It’s why animal breeders research pedigrees to find champions. It’s why biologists recommend periodically stocking new fish.
Since fish live in confined areas, extended periods of inbreeding lead to declines in genetic integrity. Introducing new populations every few years promotes healthy gene pools. New fish should be adult sizes, but it’s not required. Contact us for stocking ratios to optimize success.
One highlight of genetic management is the “tiger bass”? It’s a cross between a pure Florida bass and native largemouth. The species evolved from theories that Florida’s grew bigger than native bass, but became more difficult to catch at maturity. In search of a winning combination, biologists crossed the two for a larger, more aggressive biting cousin. If you originally stocked all Floridas four or five years ago, add natives this season. If the first lot was natives, we have a great source for Florida’s.
Bob Lusk recently commissioned an innovative genetic study with the fisheries department at South Dakota State University. Fourteen undergraduate and graduate students assisted Bob in electrofishing 85 largemouth bass from a 125-acre lake in East Texas. The team weighed and measured each fish. They collected scale samples, a portion of the pelvic fin, a section of the dorsal fin, and removed otoliths. Otoliths are bone-like chips in the skull. These chips exhibit growth rings much like a tree and help determine a fish’s age. Scales and fin specimens will be used to establish DNA markers for that population of fish. Dorsal fin samples and otoliths will establish age.
The team also inserted capsule-style identification tags under the back skin of 110 tiger bass and shortly thereafter, 279 Florida bass. After recording lengths and weights, they were released into the lake. As Bob conducts future surveys, he will scan collected fish for their identification and document growth.
Researchers are excited about results for this unique project. They anticipate learning the genetic integrity of the existing fish population, growth rates of newly stocked fish and their impact on the gene pool of existing bass populations.
We can help you develop a plan for refreshing genetics and tagging fish.