Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Colorado
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Colorado Project

Evaluation of PIT tag antennae array & analysis of Humpback Chub PIT tag antennae data from the Little Colorado River

July 2011 - September 2014


Participating Agencies

  • USGS Southwest Biological Science Center

A key strategic science question (SSQ 1-8, Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, 2007) is how can native and nonnative fishes best be monitored while minimizing repeated handling of fish. Managers wish to obtain population information in the least intrusive manner possible, especially when sampling the endangered HBC. Remote PIT-tag antennae have been shown to be very effective at continuous monitoring in other, generally smaller rivers and streams, alleviating the need for additional field sampling trips and multiple fish handling events. We propose to evaluate the efficiency of hoop-netting used for current monitoring compared to that of the new remote PIT tag antenna array, that does not require repeated handling of fishes, or additional field sampling in the Little Colorado River (LCR). PIT tags are already implanted in a large fraction of the adult population and to a lesser degree in the smaller life history stages of HBC in Grand Canyon. Antennae provide the opportunity to evaluate gear efficiency of hoop nets (e.g. what proportions of the fish present are captured), to increase precision of population estimates, direction and timing of movement within the LCR, and presence of fish in the LCR year round.

Research Publications Publication Date
Pearson, K. N., W. L. Kendall, D. L. Winkelman, and W. R. Persons. 2015. Evidence for skipped spawning in the endangered humpback chub (Gila cypha) with implications for demographic parameter estimates. Fisheries Research 170:50-59 October 2015
Pearson, K. N., W. L. Kendall, D. L. Winkelman, and W. R. Persons. Tradeoffs between physical captures and PIT tag antenna array detections: a case study for the Lower Colorado River Basin population of humpback chub (Gila cypha). Fisheries Research 183:263-274.. November 2016
Presentations Presentation Date
Pearson, K., W. Kendall, D. Winkelman, and W. Persons. 2014. Spawning strategy of the endangered humpback chub in the Little Colorado River with implications for estimability of demographic parameters necessary for species recovery. Society for Conservation Biology Conference, Missoula, MT. July 2014
Pearson, K., W. Kendall, D.L. Winkelman, and W Persons. Spawning probability of humpback chub, Gila cypha, in the Little Colorado River, Arizona. 2014 Annual Meeting of the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, March 4-6, Laramie, WY. March 2014