Nov. 3, 2023

NDSU research garners attention

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Jeffrey Lackmann at Apache Lake, Arizona
Jeffrey Lackmann

A paper published in Scientific Reports on the lifespan of some freshwater fish co-authored by a current NDSU graduate student and a recent NDSU graduate recently was featured on the pop-science website phys.org.

Jeffrey Lackmann, an environmental and conservation sciences doctoral student, co-authored the paper with Alec Lackmann, who earned his doctorate from NDSU in 2019.  

Their study, which centered on fish known commonly as buffalofishes, uncovered 100-year lifespans in three freshwater fish species in the same genus (Ictiobus) in Arizona: bigmouth buffalo, smallmouth buffalo and black buffalo. Within the study, the age structure, external pigmentation spots, rod-and-line catchability, recapture dynamics and population demographics of buffalofishes from Apache Lake, Arizona, were investigated. 

Buffalofishes were stocked in Arizona's Roosevelt Lake, a reservoir upstream from Apache Lake, in 1918 during an attempt to create a commercial fishery in the region. Remarkably, evidence indicates many of the buffalofishes in Apache Lake were hatched in the 1920s. This means that many of the buffalofish in Apache Lake are approaching a century old, or are already centenarians.   

“It's exciting and humbling to be a co-author on a study that captures people's attention, especially as a graduate student,” Jeffrey Lackmann said. “As a student, I consider myself a scientist in training. Through schooling and mentorship, I learn skills and gain the expertise necessary to pursue questions that, when answered, unveil a little bit more about the world around us. This study allowed me a chance to put that training to work as part of the research team. It makes me especially grateful for the privilege it is to do science.”

Jeffrey said the buffalofishes are just beginning to be understood by scientists, and though they are native to this region, the study shows that they’re able to survive in very different environments such as the desert

“The more I learn about them, the more I'm fascinated by them,” Jeffrey said. “I can't help but wonder what other stories like this have yet to be told.” 

The research was a collaboration between Alec Lackmann, an ichthyologist and assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth; Ewelina Bielak-Lackmann, Jeffrey Lackmann at NDSU, and a group of conservation anglers, led by Stuart Black, who fish the Apache Lake reservoir in Arizona.

Read the full scientific paper here.

Categories: Students, Research
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