Sagebrushers season 2 ep. 5: Sudeep Chandra and Zeb Hogan

College of Science faculty share their world adventures and the impact they are making here in Nevada

Sudeep Chandra sits to the left of President Sandoval with Zeb Hogan on the right in a podcast recording room with three mics on the table in front of them.

President Brian Sandoval (middle) and Drs. Sudeep Chandra (left) and Zeb Hogan (right) discuss their Wonders of the Mekong Project, the new "Monster Fish" exhibit and more in this extended episode.

Sagebrushers season 2 ep. 5: Sudeep Chandra and Zeb Hogan

College of Science faculty share their world adventures and the impact they are making here in Nevada

President Brian Sandoval (middle) and Drs. Sudeep Chandra (left) and Zeb Hogan (right) discuss their Wonders of the Mekong Project, the new "Monster Fish" exhibit and more in this extended episode.

Sudeep Chandra sits to the left of President Sandoval with Zeb Hogan on the right in a podcast recording room with three mics on the table in front of them.

President Brian Sandoval (middle) and Drs. Sudeep Chandra (left) and Zeb Hogan (right) discuss their Wonders of the Mekong Project, the new "Monster Fish" exhibit and more in this extended episode.

Sagebrushers podcast identifier with a sketch of a sagebrush in the background
Sagebrushers is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other major platforms

In Sagebrushers season 2 episode 5, President Brian Sandoval takes listeners around the globe during his conversation with Dr. Sudeep Chandra, a professor of limnology, and Dr. Zeb Hogan, a research associate professor of biology. As friends and colleagues for 20-plus years, Chandra and Hogan have worked together to protect bodies of water and fish species in places such as Mongolia, Cambodia, Russia and Lake Tahoe. 

This extended episode looks at Hogan and Chandra’s work with the Wonders of the Mekong Project, an international collaboration based out of the University’s Global Water Center to research, educate and advise on water and biodiversity issues in the Mekong River basin in Cambodia. Sandoval, Chandra and Hogan also recount the January 2023 visit to Cambodia by Sandoval and other University faculty to build connections between the University and the Cambodian government. 

In addition, Sandoval and Chandra explore the benefits of the new University of Nevada, Reno Lake Tahoe location for research and policy development, and Hogan discusses his popular National Geographic television show “Monster Fish,” with an in-person exhibit now open at The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum.  

Sagebrushers is available on SpotifyApple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms, with a new episode twice a month.

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Sagebrushers – S2 Ep. 5 – Professor Sudeep Chandra and Research Associate Professor Zeb Hogan

Join host President Brian Sandoval as he and Drs. Sudeep Chandra and Zeb Hogan share their world adventures, research focuses, the impact they are making here in Nevada and more in this extended episode.

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Sudeep Chandra: The key part in all of the projects we do, whether it's international work in Cambodia or even the work we're trying to do here at home, it's to involve community, to help collect some of their information for their resource or their natural environment and people around the planet want to help.

President Brian Sandoval: In this episode of Sagebrushers, we welcome two prominent faculty from the College of Science, Dr. Sudeep Chandra and Dr. Zeb Hogan.

I'm Brian Sandoval. I'm a proud graduate and president of the University of Nevada, Reno, and I'm your host of Sagebrushers.

Dr. Chandra is a professor of limnology in the Biology Department at the University. He also serves as Director of the University's Global Water Center, Director of the Osmond Institute for Global Studies and Director for the Castle Lake Environmental Research Station. Dr. Chandra's research focuses on the conservation of aquatic ecosystems and the betterment of humanity and environmental policy through scientific discourse.

Dr. Hogan is a research associate professor of biology at the University and the host of the popular National Geographic television series, “Monster Fish,” where he travels around the globe to find some of the world's largest fish. His research focuses on migratory fish ecology, fisheries management and endangered species issues. Today's podcast is being recorded at the Matthewson-IGT Knowledge Center on our University's campus.

I'm really excited about today's episode. So, Dr. Chandra and Dr. Hogan, welcome to Sagebrushers. again, I'm really excited to have this conversation. Before we get into the details, how did you two come to become friends and how did you come to know one another?

Sudeep Chandra: Well, like all great things, we became friends when we were in school. We were in graduate school in the late 1990s and through a common friend that was in our graduate program, we became housemates. Then from that point on, we shared experiences, stories, scientific endeavors, fun endeavors together and have stayed friends since.

Zeb Hogan: Sudeep and I were lucky. In graduate school, Sudeep was working up at Lake Tahoe, I was working on the Mekong River. So, we were both working in these amazing, natural environments that we were passionate about. I think that's one of the reasons that we became friends and we got to know about each other's work and travel with each other.

President Brian Sandoval: I didn’t know that part, that you were roommates.

Sudeep Chandra: Yeah, we were graduate school roommates in Davis, California.

President Brian Sandoval: Wow, so you could probably finish each other’s sentences by now, right?

Sudeep Chandra: In some ways, but you know what’s great about our friendship, I think. I don't know how you feel, Zeb, but it also compliments one another. I think Zeb is forever this really positive optimist about conserving places and biodiversity and tax. I feel like I'm more the pragmatic, sort of mechanical person that might think about the limnology or the bottom-up way that systems may work, and then I think that's a good compliment.

President Brian Sandoval: So, did you two ever anticipate or think about that you would end up as faculty at the same University?

Zeb Hogan: Not until it happened.

Sudeep Chandra: For sure. I did not think this was going to happen.

President Brian Sandoval: Really?

Sudeep Chandra: And what an opportunity, right? To be able to work through post-graduate school two decades ago and then to think that you're still working together with someone that you've developed a friendship with is pretty amazing. I don't know how many friends get to do that.

President Brian Sandoval: No, and the research you're both doing now truly has a global impact. So, could you each talk about some of the current projects you have underway and where you're working around the world?

Zeb Hogan: Yeah. I've spent the last 20 years focused on the ecology and conservation of the world's largest freshwater fish. It all started with working with National Geographic and asking a very simple question, what seemed like a very simple question, but has turned into my entire research and outreach program, which is what is the world's largest freshwater fish. So, for the last 20 years, my entire time at UNR, working in the Biology Department, College of Science, traveling around and doing research with communities and scientists all over the world to learn about freshwater biodiversity.

President Brian Sandoval: Well, I bet you have a million stories that you could tell and we don't have time to do that, but folks can watch your show, right? You have a television series?

Zeb Hogan: Yeah. Starting about 10 years ago, through work with National Geographic, we started filming a television show called “Monster Fish,” and each episode of the show, we go to a different location, work with local scientists and fishermen to learn about a big species of fish that occurs in that area. So, we've been to Europe looking at giant Wels catfish; Asia, with Mekong giant catfish; Australia with Murray cod; then down to Africa to look at the Nile perch; the Amazon, to look at the giant air-breathing Arapaima. So, it's been quite a journey and yeah, really a passion and very lucky to be doing it.

President Brian Sandoval: We'll talk a little bit more about that in a bit, but we want to hear from Dr. Chandra and what you're up to.

Sudeep Chandra: Yeah. So, basically, my motto is if you have lakes and rivers, I will travel, and our global work, remember, can also be local work because local capacity is global capacity. The projects we've been involved with recently are trying to do comparative studies and try to conserve the large lakes of the world, whether it's Lake Tahoe right in our backyard here in Reno, Nevada, or Lake Atitlan in Guatemala – it's a large deep lake there that has many of the shared lessons and issues that we have at Lake Tahoe.

So, trying to solve problems across these large lakes for me gets really exciting. We've had other projects now lately that are just wrapping up, comparing the limnology or the fundamental process of freshwaters in global rivers. So, we've been doing comparisons of rivers in Mongolia, whether it's in the semi-arid basins that are there to the mountain step basins to the ones in North America and so been able to travel and make some comparisons. The rationale behind these studies is to not only just do science for science's sake but to also try to understand how we might conserve or restore these systems. We all rely on freshwater.

President Brian Sandoval: No and you mentioned it and I didn't know, until recently, what the study of limnology is. So, could you talk a little more about that?

Sudeep Chandra: Yeah. Limnology is really an exciting scientific field in terms of ecological sciences. It's the study of inland waters, “limnos” in Greek means pool or pond and -ology, of course, is “the study of,” but we've expanded that to basically mean inland oceanography. If you have a lake or river inland, on land, within lands, whether it's a salty lake, like we have in our great basin systems like Pyramid Lake or Mona Lake in these regions, or these freshwater iconic lakes or small mountain lakes, we'll go study them, but we'll also study the rivers that go into them and the rivers that the basins drain. So, we study the physics, chemistry and biology of those lakes.

President Brian Sandoval: Again, just fascinating. So, I feel fortunate to have recently joined you both to a trip to Cambodia with the Wonders of the Mekong Project, so can you share a little bit more about the project because you're both intimately involved with it? What makes it magnificent and challenging from a conservation perspective?

Zeb Hogan: The Wonders of the Mekong Project is a project that's brought Sudeep and I working together since 2017. It's funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and it focuses on water biodiversity and fisheries issues in the Mekong region.

So, the Mekong River, for those of you who don't know about it, is the most productive river on Earth. Two million tons of fish harvested every year from the Mekong. People in the region eat a 100pounds of fish per person per year, over a 1,000 different kinds of fish in the basin. So, it's an incredibly important area, and experts from the University here, like Sudeep and I, go over to the Mekong Region, work with scientists over there to build capacity to better manage and protect the Mekong River.

We've been so fortunate to be involved with this and so fortunate to be over with you recently to really energize and help us develop our project.

Sudeep Chandra: So, the question that often comes up is, what is capacity, right? So, Zeb just described an incredibly glorious, awesome river full of biodiversity and functions where people are taking their drinking water.

But capacity can mean a lot of things. It can be the nerdy science stuff that we're trying to train the next generation of people in, so they can conserve and restore their system, whether that's maintaining the biodiversity of fishes, the iconic fishes Zeb mentioned earlier, the giant fishes that he studies, but also building capacity that may be more technical, like how do we interpret water quality information?

So, we invited you to come to Cambodia so that you could partake and emphasize that capacity development is not only important from the technical side but firming up relations between the University of Nevada and the Cambodian government.

And that was for us really inspirational because we had these nice moments of opening a limnology laboratory – the first limnology water quality laboratory in Cambodia. You [President Brian Sandoval] were able to solidify partnerships with our Wonders of the Mekong Project to meet with the U.S. ambassador of Cambodia and collectively connect the University more permanently in with the Cambodian government and the University, and I think that's a level of capacity that as scientists, we often forget about. It's not just the nerdy science, it's the framing of connections that when they're made deeper, we can help the next generation then build even more abilities to conserve their waters.

President Brian Sandoval: No and one of the things, amongst many, that impressed me on this trip were the graduate students that you're training over there that, you know, reside there in a residence of Cambodia. Can you talk a little more about that?

Zeb Hogan: One of the important aspects of the project is scholarly exchange. So, we have graduate students here at UNR that are doing research over there. We support about a dozen Cambodian graduate students in Cambodia to do their work there, and we've also brought them over to the U.S. to the University of Nevada for exchanges to learn from Sudeep, to go out to our field sites, to go up to Tahoe, so a big part of the project is this exchange between students and scholars, both here in Nevada and also in Cambodia.

We're learning from each other, we're building up each other, we're encouraging each other and some of these scientists, we've worked with for 20 years now. So, we've been doing this long enough where these connections and partnerships and friendships that we have, have become very strong and important to us.

Sudeep Chandra: Yeah, so the graduate students and then the post-graduate Ph.D.’s, we call postdocs, I mean, between 12 to 16 people working there, and it's not just work. Part of the fundamentals between a U.S. government, cooperative project with the University of Nevada is also to cement these exchanges, so we learn about culture and we learn about scientific endeavors and that really is a way that we can make this world a better place.

It is about the science and capacity, but it's really about the grad students and the next generation of trainees that are leaders on their own right now moving forward. Earlier, we talked about how Zeb and I were graduate school housemates. I mean, in some ways, that was 20 years ago, and we were trained by great people who wanted to just push this envelope a little bit more forward and make the world a better place.

President Sandoval: You talked about having your “grand” students and what have you, so there are generational students that are learning from you and going on, as you say, impacting the world.

Sudeep Chandra: We had a great time when we were in Cambodia. Opening this limnology laboratory for me was really emotional, and having you there and Zeb as kind of these formal partners in opening ceremonies. But during that period, we also met with our graduate students, and my graduate students there now, are having students and I am feeling like an old grandpa, but it felt great to watch the smiles on people's faces and the training that continues.

And that really embodies what the University of Nevada is about, we have a mission to move things forward in development of individual capacity, but also in this broad programmatic level of making the world better.

Zeb Hogan: The Wonders of Mekong students, we're starting to see them become leaders in their own right. One of our students is at a United Nations World Heritage site meeting on plastic pollution and so, she's participating in that. We had one of our graduate students at the College of Science was a College of Science Young Alumni of the Year this past year. So, we get to see the students grow as well, which is really exciting for us.

President Brian Sandoval: No, it was amazing. So, Zeb you talked a little bit or you both talked about it, about being all over the world, with regard to your research. Have the cultures that you've come to learn and respect affected your research?

Zeb Hogan: Oh, 100%. I mean, for my research, I rely on local scientists, local communities for my work. My work would not be possible without those relationships and so, it's fundamental to the work that I do.

As one example – and you were out on the river, you saw this – I've been working with fishermen that I've known for 20 years, had that relationship for 20 years, were with them, knew them when their children were born and now I see their children today and they have kids. So, it's this long-term relationship that's absolutely critical. There's information that comes from the research, from these relationships and there's also just a personal connection that's incredibly important.

President Brian Sandoval: Real quickly, talk about this trust that's been built, for example, with those, those families and the fishermen that, for example, they may catch a really rare and important fish and talk about what you've done to preserve that fish.

Zeb Hogan: Yeah, so we work with communities there. There are these critically endangered fish, Mekong, giant catfish, giant carp, giant freshwater stingray, some of the largest and most endangered fish in the world, and when the fishermen catch them, normally those fish are sold for food. But we've established trust with people living along the river, and so now, when they catch one of those fish, they'll call us, we'll go out, work with them, we tag the fish and release it back into the river.

When I first started this work, those fish were being harvested and now, we have a chance not only to get them back in the river for conservation purposes but also learn about them, conduct our research.

Sudeep Chandra: The key part in all of the projects we do, whether it's international work in Cambodia or even the work we're trying to do here at home, it's to involve community, to help collect some of their information for their resource or their natural environment and people around the planet want to help.

So, whether it's tagging fish, meaning literally inserting a transmitter into fish that way you can track its movements in a river to understand where its critical habitat is for conservation, or even working with communities to monitor their own water quality from their rivers and lakes, so they can have a healthier lifestyle and promote the conservation of their systems. It's critical for all of us, as scientists, to embed ourselves within communities.

President Brian Sandoval: So, let's shift gears a little bit. There was a viral video that came out last summer. I think I read that it was one of the 20 most watched videos on the planet, like 120 million views, something just incredible like that, but talk about the largest freshwater fish ever recorded.

Zeb Hogan: Yes. This gets back to our talking about working with communities. Last summer in June 2022, one of the communities in northern Cambodia, a fisherman caught a 300-kilogram, so 661-pound giant freshwater stingray, and when the fisherman caught this fish, he called our Cambodian team members in Cambodia. They went up, drove all night, went out to the river to meet with this fisherman, and then together they tagged the fish for research and then were able to release it back into the wild. I think one of the reasons why the video was so popular is that the community is all surrounding this fish. It's in the water and people can google it, they can see this video.

Sudeep Chandra: Check it out on YouTube.

Zeb Hogan: Check it out on YouTube, ‘Giant Stingray Mekong.’

But they release this fish and the community, you hear all the, the kids, you know, saying bye-bye and the stingray swims along the surface for a little bit and then disappears into the river. So, it was an absolutely incredible moment and I like to contrast it with when I first started doing this work, working with communities, one of the first giant catfish I saw was harvested and killed and so, through the long-term work with fishing communities, the fact that that fish was caught and then released for conservation and science, to me that was just – incredibly proud of that moment. Very inspired by that moment to see that we'd been able to come that far to the point where those fish are making it back in the river and we're able to learn about them.

President Brian Sandoval: So, let’s move north. You're kind of like Indiana Jones, you're all over the world, but let's go north to Mongolia and Dr. Chandra, if you could talk a little bit about your research there.

Sudeep Chandra: Yeah, so we've been also working in Mongolia since 2001, and since we were graduate students actually. We became friends through that process, also working with our colleagues in Mongolia. Taking people back to that time period, remember Mongolia was affiliated with the former Soviet Union, so, in 2001, it was making its transition into a democracy at that time.

We were on the ground at that time as graduate students and later, as faculty members here at the University of Nevada to determine how to protect Mongolian rivers during this time of change – economic change that was happening and development with mining and things like that. So, we helped establish and set up programs there, where we were trying to understand how land use changes would influence water quality there. Well, those are pretty relatively simple, straightforward studies.

Then, we started embedding ourselves with a larger project to conserve the world's largest trout. This could be a trout that's six to seven feet long, similar to the fish that Zeb has studied and has documented in his “Monster Fish” television shows. It's called a Hucho Taimen and so, it can be a large trout called a river shark that moves through these rivers, but to understand the ecology of the fish and the water quality together was really rare.

What we ended up doing is taking a very similar approach after we're doing this now for 20 years, is where you can work with the communities to identify where the fish are located, tag the fish again with these little sensors, watch them migrate and move into their critical habitats where they spawn in the spring and early summer and maybe they go feed in the late summer/fall somewhere else.

So, our work there in Mongolia and these remote sections in the Lake Baikal watershed that goes down into Russia, it's about a 14 to 16-hour Jeep ride from the capitol, so it takes a lot of energy and effort to get there, but there are still these resilient communities of sheepherders and people who ranch that are way out there. We set up a little mini-field station and we've been going there almost every fall since 2003.

President Brian Sandoval: You talked about remote, that's about as remote as it gets and there are no luxuries out there, correct?

Sudeep Chandra: Yeah, there are not a lot of luxuries out there. I mean, with science, adventure and excitement around ecology of system also comes a little bit of hardship. For example, I do like eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Well, you know, the middle of Siberia doesn't afford itself to having a lot of fruits and vegetables, so we end up eating while we're in the field, lots of sheep or mutton with rice, potatoes, maybe, not a lot of flavorful food. So, for this South Asian background person, you know, I love spicy food, but we don't really get that out there.

There are those types of neat cultural connectivities that happen with the science and you just kind of you push through and what we're trying to do now, whether it's the Mongolia project or programs or Mekong or working down in Latin America is we want to get our students going to these new places and we've done that now.

We bring our students from the University of Nevada graduate students over to Mongolia to do a side, small side project every year. Then they take those results, publish them and then we move that information into the hands of policymakers to help conserve the rivers and lakes there. It's pretty exciting. What do you think about the trips to Mongolia? It's been 20 years.

Zeb Hogan: We've been working there for a long time and even as a fish biologist, as a scientist, one of the exciting things about that work is you're working with a new species, you're learning things. Every year we go over with students, we learn something new.

As an example, these fish can live for up to 50 years, and I didn't appreciate when we first went over there, you fish and a fish that you catch, it could be there for 50 years and so, you're catching the same fish year after year after year. So, we've been there for 20 years, we can catch the same fish that we did 20 years ago, and it shows you the importance of research to understand that that's happening, to understand their ecology and also understand the importance of catch and release and of conservation. Because if you take those big fish out of the system, then they're gone.

President Brian Sandoval: Well, let's continue our trip around the globe, and let's get a little local here. I mean, I think I can speak for all of Northern Nevada that we are so proud to have one of the most beautiful places on planet Earth in our own backyard, Lake Tahoe. So, let's talk a little bit about that and what your research is there, Dr. Chandra.

Sudeep Chandra: So global work is global, but global also means local and our work in the Lake Tahoe Basin is pretty exciting because for me, it’s thinking about the fragility of nature and the information we need to help protect the lake's iconic clarity but also the biodiversity within these lakes.

So, we've had a number of projects where we've had our graduate students and post-doctoral research [students] trained to understand those aspects of the system. Some of the work at Lake Tahoe these days is while it does focus on the clarity, the clarity is largely measured in the offshore, where people go boating. But we know a lot of the action these days in lakes is not in the offshore, it's actually around the edges of the lake, the bathtub ring that you might have, right? So, you see in your bathtub, the foam particles gathering around the edge of the bathtub, if you're sitting in your bathtub, well that happens in lakes as well.

It turns out at Lake Tahoe, the nearshore or the edge of the lake is changing far faster than the offshore. So, some of the work we've been doing is trying to understand what causes that greening. Is that because of warming temperatures from changing climate? A little bit.

Or is it because of the species that were introduced into the lake 120 years ago, like the crayfish? So, crayfish are about the size of your hand. They also live about 10 years old in Lake Tahoe, but they can change the food web and the biological articulation of the nearshore, which causes nearshore greening.

The other part that's exciting for me is thinking about the bottom of Lake Tahoe, even deeper in the waters, 120 to 300 to maybe 500 to 700 feet below the surface. We have biodiversity that's endemic. It only lives at Lake Tahoe and these are cute little critters the size of a quarter – a stonefly, blind amphipods – things that are only found in Lake Tahoe have very unique life history strategies or how they live and they're being reduced very quickly in the lake because of all the changes.

So, the real challenge for us that I'm excited about is packaging all of this together and trying to work with our policymakers to find a way to restore and protect the fragility of that lake, the fragile nature. There's good news in every story, and we're making progress everywhere.

We understand why clarity is changing now, we understand some of the changes in that bathtub ring. We also know why some of the biodiversity is changing. So, we've been feeding that information, as a partner with the Tahoe Science Advisory Council, to the policymakers to try to engage in developing more progressive policies.

President Brian Sandoval: Zeb?

Zeb Hogan: Yeah, we also have a project, we're working with our graduate students and with Nevada Department of Wildlife on an update of the status of Nevada's native fishes. So, believe it or not, Nevada used to have king salmon. Did you know that?

President Brian Sandoval: I did not know that.

Zeb Hogan: There used to be king salmon in Northern Nevada. We used to be home, and maybe still are, home to the world's largest minnow called the Colorado Pike Minnow, or maybe North America's largest minnow. We also have some species of smaller fish that are only found in a single pool anywhere in the world. So, Nevada has this amazing diversity of fish, amazing fish stories.

Sudeep Chandra: Highest biodiversity outside of Georgia in the United States for fishes here.

Zeb Hogan: So, we’re working to update the information that we have about Nevada's fish, and we're looking to produce some products around that work in the next couple years.

There's a lot of work to be done both abroad and here at home, and the work is exciting because it's like new discoveries all the time. Not too many people have focused on Nevada's native fish. So, if there are people out there that want to help understand this biodiversity and the changes, let us know.

President Brian Sandoval: As our listeners know, and you know, we now have a campus at Lake Tahoe, in Incline Village – the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe. How is that going to help your research and presence up at the lake?

Sudeep Chandra: The new campus at Lake Tahoe affords us opportunities from research all the way into education, and those things, as professors at the University, we fundamentally know they're intertwined together. We cannot pull them apart and man, having a space up there that can engage people in understanding the changes and bring our students up to a living laboratory to be right in the forest and right on the lake surface to study things is going to be amazing.

I think it's going to be a mind-blowing opportunity for the students. I think the research capacity can grow even further. There are things that we would like to study up there, but because we have to hold the samples for a limited amount of time, we can now take those samples straight to the laboratories on the campus and analyze them in a way we could have not done before that.

So, this new campus, it is the greatest opportunity in my lifetime of being at the University of Nevada, and I hope our community members will come in and work with us to educate the next generation of conservation scientists up there.

I will say one last thing about the new campus. It's not just about science. Science and culture often mesh together, and as we've discussed earlier, that new campus affords openings for thinking about art, economics, English, writing, like all these things that where scientists, we can often become, we often have blinders on. So, if we can integrate art and science together, we will be one of the premier institutions in the Western United States to do that.

President Brian Sandoval: Wow. Zeb, really quick and then we're going to have one more topic I wanted to get into.

Zeb Hogan: I just wanted to echo what Sudeep said. I, you know, in addition to the research opportunities, I think it provides us with an amazing opportunity to focus on water issues, environmental issues, sustainability. There's that natural connection between some of our priorities here in Reno and the campus up in Tahoe. So, I'm so excited about that.

President Brian Sandoval: Earlier in this podcast, we talked a little bit about the “Monster Fish” and the National Geographic series. There was a museum exhibit that National Geographic had all over the country for “Monster Fish.” But where's it coming now permanently? Can you chat about that?

Zeb Hogan: 10 years ago, the University of Nevada and National Geographic partnered on a large-scale monster fish exhibit – 6,000 square feet, has life-size sculptures of all of these five of these big fish, so it's like a one-stop shop for learning about big fish all over the world.

We have been lucky enough now the University of Nevada is going to take over ownership of the exhibit and it is open at the Nevada Discovery Museum in downtown Reno. So, this spring, this summer, next fall, I encourage everyone to come down to the Nevada Discovery Museum and check out this University of Nevada Monster Fish Exhibit.

President Brian Sandoval: I could talk forever with the two of you, but you know, we've talked about Cambodia and Mongolia, Lake Tahoe, the Amazon Europe, all these different places. I'm just curious, how do all these projects connect?

Sudeep Chandra: Yeah, I mean there's, there's ways that all of these projects connect and at our University, we have a place called the Global Water Center.

The Global Water Center is an opportunity for us to facilitate global to local activities on any issue dealing with water and it's not just around the basic science that we might do to understand process, but it's also around application to help conserve systems.

So, they connect in a way at the University through a place, but in another way they connect is broadly through education and inviting policymakers and managers to come interact and interface. What I've always learned is that lessons learned in one place, we can always apply to another and vice versa. That's why I love bringing our Guatemala students up to the University of Nevada to study Lake Tahoe and our Lake Tahoe students down to Guatemala because fundamental lessons learned across those systems, as an example, allows us to rapidly come up with information and then we just end up conserving a place.

Education connects us, places connect us, and I'm just a big believer that there's a fundamental truth in, in people. People really, really want their natural waters to be protected and that's how we work.

President Brian Sandoval: Dr. Hogan?

Zeb Hogan: Beyond the research, I think it's the work with communities, outreach, education that connects all of these different projects and [mine and] Sudeep’s work together and friendship together for the last 20 years.

President Brian Sandoval: We'll let you both have the last word. Any closing comments that you'd like to make?

Sudeep Chandra: I have been at the University of Nevada now for almost 18 years, and I have watched this institution go from great to pretty awesome. We are just accelerating at this fast pace in 18 years, and I can envision a place with the University of Nevada that goes from pretty awesome to magnificent.

We're doing this with capacities, with the new place at Lake Tahoe, with our excellent faculty from the arts and sciences and engineering and journalism, and I would just love to close with the idea that those of you out there who are listening to this podcast, if you feel like you'd like to engage with our University on topics that are important to you, reach out to the faculty.

We live in your community, and we want to help, and I know so many faculty that are excited about engaging with community members, so let's make it happen.

President Brian Sandoval: Zeb?

Zeb Hogan: Very excited to be here at the University to be part of seeing the University grow. If people would like to learn more about our work, we also, I've been working with the University of Nevada Press, it's very exciting news, [on a] book coming out called “Chasing Giants: In Search for the World's Largest Freshwater Fish.” So, if people would like to learn more about big fish, I encourage them to order a copy of the book. Thank you very much for having us here this morning.

Sudeep Chandra: And the book is available on Amazon, in case you want to buy that or from your local Sundance bookstore.

President Brian Sandoval: All right, well, I expect a signed copy, so I will be excited about that. So, unfortunately that is all the time we have for this episode of Sagebrushers.

Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Chandra, Dr. Hogan, this has really been extraordinary and really proud to have you part of the Wolf Pack Family.

Next time, we will bring you another episode of Sagebrushers and continue to tell the stories that make our University special and unique.

Until then, I am President Brian Sandoval at the University of Nevada, Reno. Go Pack!

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