Q&A: Black Bass Diversity: Multidisciplinary Science for Conservation

An Interview with Michael D. Tringali, James M. Long, Timothy W. Birdsong, and Micheal S. Allen, editors. 2015. Black bass diversity: multidisciplinary science for conservation. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 82, Bethesda, Maryland. To purchase Black Bass Diversity: Multidisciplinary Science for Conservation, visit fisheries.org/shop.

Black Bass Conservation Committee members (L-R: Tim Birdsong, Tim Churchill, Joe Slaughter, Mike Allen, Jim Long, Wes Porak, and Mike Tringali) on an outing

Black Bass Conservation Committee members (L-R: Tim Birdsong, Tim Churchill, Joe Slaughter,
Mike Allen, Jim Long, Wes Porak, and Mike Tringali) on an outing

Why did you decide to write this book? Habitat degradation and introductions of nonnative species threaten a number of endemic species and genetically unique forms of black bass with limited geographic ranges. In 2009, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) initiated the development of a conservation program for these species, and scientists quickly realized that there was a lack of information about their biology, life history, ecology, behavior, and genetic diversity. The good news was that results from ongoing fisheries research projects were filling these data gaps, but much of this information had not yet been published. It was the perfect time to organize a symposium and publish a book to provide essential information to develop black bass conservation programs. This includes NFWF’s Southeastern Native Black Bass Keystone Initiative that initially focused on conservation and research programs for Guadalupe Bass Micropterus treculii, Shoal Bass M. cataractae, and Redeye Bass M. coosae. There is also a growing interest in the conservation of black bass among stakeholders: anglers, conservationists, and river-keeper organizations. The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society promoted a Bass Slam in the July/August 2009 issue of Bassmaster Magazine, which broadened the appeal of all black bass species to bass anglers. As a result, we felt that there was an unfulfilled source of collective information not only for scientists but for anglers and conservationists as well. What will the reader learn from this book? Readers will find a source of information on many of the rare black bass species compiled in one source. But more important, readers will find that black bass management is more than length-limit regulations and how a focus on these enigmatic species can lead to conservation of non-game species and whole ecosystems. The book contains 46 contributions that cover (1) the biology, ecology, and life history of black bass; (2) conservation genetics; (3) habitat restoration and management; and (4) fisheries management. There are also species profiles with range maps and illustrations by Joe Tomelleri. What other fisheries book has inspired you in your career and why? It’s difficult not to point to the original Black Bass Biology and Management (1975) edited by Stroud and Clepper as a source of inspiration. It was published almost 40 years ago and is still a valuable reference. In fact, after writing the foreword for our upcoming book, we found a passage from that book on the role of stocking and genetics that is ominously prescient today. What needed fisheries book do you feel hasn’t been written yet? A book on aquatic invasive species seems to be the most lacking. While there are books about some of the species themselves, there seems to be a lack of one related to the whole suite of issues related to invasive species from risk assessment to regulations and management. What’s next on your plate? Many of us on the planning committee for the book will be involved with updating the business plan for the Southeastern Native Black Bass Keystone Initiative at NFWF. While we view the book as a great source of information, funding programs like that developed at NFWF help to translate that information into on-the-ground conservation. REFERENCE Stroud, R. H., and H. Clepper, editors. 1975. Black bass biology and management. Sport Fishing Institute, Washington, D.C. Join them on FACEBOOK