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Science on Tap

April 18, 2019 @ 6:30 pm America/Phoenix Timezone

Come out next Thursday for David Ward’s talk on the “Colorado Pikeminnow: Forgotten Predator of the Lower Colorado River!” The Colorado pikeminnow is a unique native fish that lives below the surface of the Colorado River and is an amazing part of the Grand Canyon that most people never see. Each native fish has a story unique and bizarre as the Grand Canyon itself, from the world’s largest minnow, the Colorado pikeminnow, which can grow to be over 6 feet long, to the boneytail chub which were brought back from the brink of extinction after dwindling to only eleven individuals. The geologic time frames that shaped the Grand Canyon also shaped the fish, with humpback chub and razorback suckers developing unusual humps and keels whose functions still remain a mystery. Large hydroelectric dams stopped the migration of fish from Baja California to the mountains of Colorado and the once highly variable, warm and muddy river now runs steady, clear and cold, but some native fish still persist – at least for now. Will the few native fishes that remain continue to survive, or will invasive aquatic species prove their undoing? Only by understanding their past, can we fully appreciate the role we play in ensuring the species have a future.
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