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May 18, 2022

MSU-led effort spawns creation of new migratory freshwater fish database

Scientists cataloged the life histories of 1,250 North American migratory fish species to help natural resources managers make more-informed conservation decisions.

A Michigan State University led team of scientists has assembled the North American Freshwater Migratory Fish Database, which brings together life history information on 1,250 species to inform conservation practices.

A paper chronicling the effort was published in the Journal of Biogeography.

The development of the database was led by Emily Dean, a doctoral student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife who works in the lab of professor Dana Infante.

“Freshwater fish migrations support natural and human communities across the globe,” Dean said. “However, migratory populations are declining in response to barriers such as dams, culverts and road crossings, which reduce access to critical habitat in streams.”

Migratory fish require certain habitats to complete life stages, and they become vulnerable when obstacles prevent entry to those locations. Compounding the problem, there has been a lack of detailed information on the life histories of many migratory species throughout North America, putting natural resources managers in less-than-ideal decision-making scenarios.

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By: Cameron Rudolph