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June 29, 2007
College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources researchers Zeb Hogan and Sudeep Chandra know "Megafishes" mega-well.
Hogan, an assistant research professor, and Chandra, an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, are part of an ongoing effort to save the world's largest fishes. The National Geographic-sponsored Megafishes Project is prominently featured in this week's issue of the journal Science.
Hogan and Chandra's three-year project is to document and protect what Science refers to as "the titans of the world's rivers and lakes: two-dozen-odd freshwater fishes that can top 200 pounds or 6 feet long. Many of these sumo-sized species are on the ropes, pummeled by overfishing and habitat degradation."
The researchers' work on the Mekong Delta in Thailand is considered critical to the understanding and preservation of these fish. The Mekong River's 1,200-plus fish species make it the world's most biologically diverse basin of this size. "Everywhere we look, the largest fish are disappearing," Hogan says, adding that the work with the world's largest fish can only help benefit numerous other species on the planet that are facing a global "freshwater extinction crisis."