Monday, March 30, 2009

Reproductive Assistance for Imperiled Native Fishes

To perpetuate the species ----

Reproduction is a critically important and very complex topic with regards to the study of fishes. Fishes have such a diversity of strategies for sexual reproduction - just as diverse as the many aquatic environments that they inhabit.

Think about attempting to summarize the reproductive strategies for the 28,000 living and described species of fishes -- an overwhelming task. This is why the formulation of an ecological and ethological classification system for reproductive strategies was developed by Eugene Balon (summarized in Chapter 9). This classification reduces the diversity of fishes to 32 different guilds and is attractive to students of Ichthyology.

In our region of the US, many agencies are attempting to restore habitats and populations of rare fish species. One non-profit organization, Conservation Fisheries, has taken the reproductive process into the lab and invented systems to breed rare fishes in captivity for eventual release to former habitats.

Take a look at their newsletter to see the progress they have made with many obscure fish species. For many rare species the only way to study their biology will be to raise them in captivity.

Photo of the Laurel dace (Phoxinus saylori) described by Christopher Skelton in 2001.

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