Fishes of Wisconsin: Gar of Thrones

Winter’s not coming, it’s here, so it’s a perfect time to introduce the next fish on our Fishes of Wisconsin odyssey – the spotted gar. Former CFL post-doc, Solomon David, shared this post from last year. How a species adapts when it’s at the tip of its range.

Spotted Gar. Photo: Marilyn Larsen
Spotted Gar. Photo: Marilyn Larsen

By Solomon David – Winter is Coming. Whether you live in the North American Midwest or Game of Thrones’ Westeros, it’s an ongoing theme with often ominous implications. Although humans have developed a multitude of responses to the onset of snow, ice, and dropping temperatures, many other organisms have adapted to seasonal changes in temperate climates in their own way.
Peripheral populations of species, those populations that occur at the edge of a species’ range, can be particularly well-suited to face the challenges (the figurative white walkers, if you will) of harsher environments.
Adult Peripheral population (Great Lakes Basin) Spotted Gar from Michigan. Photo © Richard Kik IV
Adult Peripheral population (Great Lakes Basin) Spotted Gar from Michigan. Photo © Richard Kik IV

We recently published research showing how peripheral populations of an ancient fish in the Great Lakes basin have adapted to shorter growing seasons by evolving faster growth rates than their southern counterparts (core population, Mississippi River basin). In doing so, we emphasize the importance of conserving populations of species, not just the overall species themselves, as part of protecting biodiversity.

To read the full post from The Nature Conservancy’s “Cool Green Science” blog click here.

5 thoughts on “Fishes of Wisconsin: Gar of Thrones”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *