06 April 2010

Out of the South


While  surfing around on climate change websites, like this one, I came across this interesting information. Those of you into NASCAR and bass fishing probably know this guy and the large-mouth fish he is holding. None of that "catch and release" stuff for these guys. I had no idea that professional bass fishing was so lucrative. This guy is the Tiger Woods of bass fishing. Not necessarily the screwing around part of Tiger, rather the dominant position in the bass catching world.

Anyway, it turns out that increasing temperatures actually produce larger large-mouth bass, which is good news for bass fishermen, especially the pros. Here is a longish quote from this article.


OK – you must be wondering what this fish story has to do with climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, cap and trade, or some other topic of interest to us at World Climate Report. We are guessing you do not read Ecology of Freshwater Fish all that regularly, but if you did, you would have seen an article with the intriguing title “Climate–growth relationships for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) across three southeastern USA states”. The article is by a biologist at the University of Mississippi and the work was funded by the USDA Forest Service, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, an Alabama Academy of Science grant, and the University of Alabama, Department of Biological Sciences, and the University of Mississippi, Biology Department. Bass in the South is big business!
The research was conducted by Andrew Rypel who was basically interested in how climate variability and climate change might impact the ecology of freshwater fishes, and in his case, largemouth bass. Rypel states that “Adult largemouth bass populations were sampled from six rivers and seven reservoirs throughout southeastern USA during the summer and autumn of 2005–2008.” Unlike the fish caught in the Bassmaster Classic, we learn that “Each fish was measured, weighed and stored on ice for transport back to a laboratory. In the laboratory, otolith sagittae were extracted, sterilised in isopropyl alcohol, and stored in coin envelopes prior to incremental growth analysis.” The sagittae is one of three pairs of otolith that grow just behind the eyes; like tree rings, fish add annual growth increments that can be preserved over the lifetime of the fish. Given a lifespan of up to 20 years, the fish preserve a pattern that is related to their growth rate on an annual basis. Presto! Just like magic, the fish can tell us about good and bad growth years in the past.

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