An ancient fish that has survived for millions of years is getting a helping hand from a student at the University of Illinois Springfield.
Nathan Grider, a graduate student in biology, has been studying the alligator gar, a fish that has inhabited waterways in North America for 3.5 million years.
Distant cousins of the alligator gar are known from fossil records at least 118 million years old.
Despite the gar’s staying power, its numbers are falling, Grider said.
“In the last century, they have been showing signs they are declining,” Grider said. “They’ve been around this long, and we’d hate to lose them now.”
For his study, Grider introduced 100 alligator gar into The Nature Conservancy’s Merwin Preserve at Spunky Bottoms in September 2011. Merwin Preserve is a restored backwater wetland in Brown County.
Grider's research was featured by the State Journal-Register on December 24, 2012.
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