Current Funding Requests

Web-Accessible Database of Standard Fish Sampling Data

    Submitted: 04/22/2010

    Contact: Scott A. Bonar, Unit Leader, USGS Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 104 Biological Sciences East, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, (520)-349-1894

    Managing fish populations is enhanced through use of standard capture and monitoring methods that encourage easy communication among biologists and comparison with data standards. Recently, the American Fisheries Society developed standard methods and published them in the book Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes. This book is currently a best-seller and was initiated by the AFS Fish Management Section, who now receives a percentage of the royalties. Partners also include the USGS Cooperative Research Units System, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and seven other agency and private organizations. The book’s final chapter includes summaries of growth, condition, length-frequency, and catch per unit effort for the fifteen most common North American fishes, averaged by ecoregion and rangewide, collected using standard gears, and available for comparison. However, these data are inconvenient to access and use.

    We propose to develop a website and database that will accompany Standard Methods. This website will (1) have an online expandable database of standard sampling data for comparison, (2) provide an overview of the standard sampling project, and (3) serve as a repository of comments on the published AFS standard sampling procedures. For the database, we will (1) provide on-line summaries of 4,092 data sets of condition, length-frequency, CPUE and growth indices of common freshwater fishes, collected using standard gears, from 42 states and provinces across North America, (2) allow entry of new data collected using standardized methods, so averages and percentiles of commonly-used fishery indices can be updated in the future, (3) allow queries, graphical, and tabular output of the data summaries so they can be easily accessed and integrated into projects across North America. Users will be able to compare condition, growth and abundance of fish collected in a particular waterbody with regional and rangewide averages and percentiles, thus increasing resource information in a variety of areas.

    We plan to develop the website and database at the University of Arizona’s Advanced Resource Technology (ART) laboratory and the USGS Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in collaboration with Federal, State, and private partners. The database will be regularly examined by University of Arizona staff to ensure it is working correctly, and is updated with advancements in computer science. This will consist of periodic small periods of maintenance, and one in-depth update once per year. All website/database development, housing, and maintenance will be designed in close collaboration with Federal, State and Private partners.

    Similar to the development of Standard Methods, we are currently soliciting partners to develop this website and accompanying database. We have already received funding from the USGS Coop Units System, and the National Park Service, and have promising opportunities to collaborate with other groups. Since the AFS Fish Management Section initiated Standard Methods, we would like to determine the interest of the Section to partner on this database for $5,000. Thank you for your consideration of participation in this important complementary project to Standard Methods.

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