Conservation genetics of tropical gar

The tropical gar (Atractosteus tropicus) is the smallest member of the family Lepisosteidae; yet this species has a large socioeconomic impact in México and Central America where it is traditionally harvested commercially and for subsistence. While natural populations of tropical gar have been dwindling throughout its natural range, it is also an emergent aquaculture species that is produced in local hatcheries and grown out in privately owned ponds. The increased pressure on natural populations of A. tropicus and its increasing use in aquaculture production poses potential conflicts for the management and conservation of natural populations. We are working with collaborators in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Costa Rica to investigate the population genetic structure of tropical gar populations. We aim to inform aquaculture practices as well as fisheries and conservation management of these fishes across Central America.