New Waves January 2011

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

Baylor study: Texas lakes’ nutrients have a big influence on catfish survivability

Baylor University and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department teamed up to complete the largest and most comprehensive study ever done exploring catfish survivability in Texas.

Baylor researchers sampled 30 reservoirs across Texas and compared blue catfish abundance, condition and natural reproduction with multiple physicochemical and biological variables at each reservoir.

The study found that surface area of the lake and the amount of nutrients in the lake, such as phosphorus and chlorophyll, have the greatest influence on blue catfish survivability. The combination of high nutrient productivity like phosphorus and chlorophyll, within large reservoirs seemed to provide the optimum reservoir conditions to support blue catfish populations.

The Baylor researchers also found that the reservoirs with small surface areas show no evidence of catfish reproduction due to fewer habitat types and unsuitable spawning or food habitats.

"This study suggests that reservoir attributes and environmental variables play a role in the establishment and survival of blue catfish," said Dr. Patrick Danley, assistant professor of biology at Baylor, who helped lead the study. "We can now predict across the entire state which lakes can sustain catfish and which ones struggle."

Read the full Baylor News story.

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