Nathan G Smith

Nathan G Smith
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department · Inland Fisheries

PhD Natural Resources

About

42
Publications
7,015
Reads
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360
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2007 - present
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Position
  • Fisheries Research Biologist
October 2004 - December 2006
Old Dominion University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
May 2000 - August 2005
Cornell University
Field of study
  • Natural Resources
June 1997 - August 2000
Cornell University
Field of study
  • Natural Resources
September 1993 - May 1997
South Dakota State University
Field of study
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Publications

Publications (42)
Article
While much is known about the fish assemblages, habitats, and ecology of rivers and reservoirs, there has been limited study of the fish assemblages in transitional habitats between these lotic and lentic habitats. Data about these river–reservoir interface (RRI) fish assemblages are needed to guide integrated management efforts of river–reservoir...
Article
Full-text available
Species conservation requires a clear understanding of habitat availability and subsequent use of those habitats. In cases where species declines have occurred and gone undetected by conservation managers , habitat alteration, fragmentation, and loss are often the largest contributors. River fragmentation often results in altered flow regimes, subs...
Article
Full-text available
Growing appreciation of biodiversity and the role of apex predators, along with increasing popularity of multispecies and trophy‐oriented angling, has elevated the status of gars – in particular, the Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula – among anglers and biologists alike. As a result, considerable effort has been spent in recent years to gain a wor...
Chapter
We reexamined a local population of Guadalupe Bass Mi-cropterus treculii after cessation of a stocking program that significantly reduced the number of individuals that were hybridized with Smallmouth Bass M. dolomieu. Analysis of five years of post-stocking fish collection data show that the percentage of hybrids has increased in all four study se...
Article
Full-text available
Some anglers have questioned Texas’ statewide one-a-day alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) regulation. Simulations suggested other regulations might be preferred; however, angler support for other regulations was unknown. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) administered an online survey in summer 2018 to measure attitudes and preferences o...
Article
Physical and hydrologic connectivity among river‐reservoir ecosystem (RRE) segments, including the river, river‐reservoir interface (RRI), and reservoir, requires consideration of management at larger spatial scales. Multiple objectives (e.g., ecosystem function, sport fisheries, and maximizing fish diversity) seem well‐suited to this broad spatial...
Article
Considerable efforts have been undertaken to characterize population dynamics of the Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula. Accomplishing this task required identifying suitable structures to estimate age. Buckmeier et al. (2012) validated sagittal otoliths to 31 years — the oldest fish in their study. However, they noted that interpreting annuli beca...
Article
Previous work relating adult age data to historic hydrology indicated that strong year classes of Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula were rare, tied to major flooding events, and linked to the inundation and connectivity of floodplain habitats. While spawning habitat suitability criteria have been correlated with successful recruitment in Texas All...
Article
We used sibship analysis to further our understanding of Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula reproductive biology. Quantifying the relative contributions of spawners and spatial patterns of reproduction is important in making management decisions, especially for long‐lived, large‐bodied fish like Alligator Gar where exploitation of large females may...
Article
We estimated the daily age and growth of wild age‐0 alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) from Choke Canyon Reservoir and the Guadalupe and Trinity rivers, Texas, USA. Growth rates of wild age‐0 alligator gar were compared across systems, as well as to alligator gar reared in a Texas hatchery. Estimated ages of alligator gar ranged from 7 to 80 days...
Article
Annual increment periodicity has been validated in sagittal otoliths of Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula; however, discontinuities (often referred to as false annuli or checks) are common in early years potentially affecting both accuracy and precision. We used up to four injections of oxytetracycline (OTC) to induce time stamps associated with a...
Article
Full-text available
Telemetry-based study of alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) movement in the lower Trinity River, Texas, indicated that fish primarily remained within discrete home ranges less than 60 river kilometers (rkm), supporting the potential for local-scale management. However, the temporal scale of inference was limited (22 months), which may inadequatel...
Article
Growth and mortality are commonly estimated for fish populations; however, potential differences between males and females receive less attention. Quantifying sex‐specific dynamic rates can be important, as they can lead to differential exploitation, altered sex ratios, and reduced reproductive potential. We examined sex‐specific growth, size and a...
Article
Full-text available
Alligator Gars Atractosteus spatula historically ranged throughout the lower Mississippi River basin and in the coastal river basins of the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Mexico, but they have now experienced population reductions or extirpations in many parts of their range. Hydrologic alterations of river systems leading to reduced river–floodpla...
Article
Two independent studies published in the 2017 Special Section of Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Angling for Dinosaurs: Status and Future Study of the Ecology, Conservation, and Management of Ancient Fishes examined the accuracy and precision of age estimates from calcified structures of Lepisosteus spp. Buckmeier et al. (2018) used...
Article
We evaluated the accuracy and precision of age estimates from ground sagittal otoliths, sectioned pectoral fin rays, and whole branchiostegal rays of Longnose Gar Lepisosteus osseus and Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus using fish marked with oxytetracycline (OTC). The presence of OTC time stamps in these calcified structures and the ability to corr...
Article
Interest in managing Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula populations as a unique sport fishery has increased over the past decade, but despite this interest population responses to harvest are poorly understood. Fishing regulations for Alligator Gars vary throughout their distribution; however, to date most regulations have focused on a daily creel...
Article
Side-scan sonar (SSS) provides an efficient, nonintrusive sampling tool for many fisheries applications. Professional-grade systems have proven useful for species-specific detection of large, distinctive fishes; however, these systems are often cost prohibitive for widespread use. Lower-cost, consumer-grade systems are becoming increasingly popular...
Article
Side-scan sonar (SSS) provides an efficient, nonintrusive sampling tool for many fisheries applications. Professional-grade systems have proven useful for species-specific detection of large, distinctive fishes; however, these systems are often cost-prohibitive for widespread use. Lower-cost, consumer-grade systems are becoming increasingly popular...
Article
Interest in managing Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula populations as a unique sport fishery has increased over the past decade, but despite this interest, population responses to harvest are poorly understood. Fishing regulations for Alligator Gar vary throughout their distribution; however, to date most regulations have focused on a daily creel...
Article
We evaluated the accuracy and precision of age estimates from ground sagittal otoliths, sectioned pectoral fin rays, and whole branchiostegal rays of Longnose Gar Lepisosteus osseus and Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus using fish marked with oxytetracycline (OTC). The presence of OTC time stamps in these calcified structures and the ability to corr...
Article
Full-text available
Growing interest in the Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula among anglers and fishery managers has inspired efforts to better manage populations. Successful management requires identifying population structure and understanding the distribution of stocks and associated differences in life history. This is particularly important in river systems alon...
Article
Full-text available
Alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) exhibit many characteristics of a periodic life-history strategy, including extended longevity, late maturity, high fecundity, and variable recruitment success. Observations of alligator gar spawning events indicate that recruitment in inland waters may be linked to spring and summer flood pulses and the availab...
Article
Full-text available
The middle Trinity River in Texas supports one of the premier trophy alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) fisheries in the world. Published data on alligator gar life history and population characteristics are sparse, yet these data are needed to inform conservation and management. Using data from over 850 fish collected between 2007 and 2014, we d...
Article
Full-text available
The lower Trinity River and Trinity Bay in Texas represent the southern limit of the native range of striped bass (Morone saxatilis). Life-history traits of fishes in the northern hemisphere often vary with latitude, with southern populations exhibiting faster growth, earlier age at maturity, reduced longevity, and higher mortality than northern po...
Chapter
Interspecific hybridization among micropterids was once thought to be rare but has been documented in several cases of North American endemics. Introduction of the nonnative Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu across Texas has threatened to eliminate the Guadalupe Bass M. treculii genome throughout its native range via introgression between the sp...
Article
We validated techniques for estimating the daily age of young-of-the-year Alligator Gar, Atractosteus spatula. Alligator Gar eggs were hatched and larvae were grown in aquaria and then transferred to an outdoor artificial stream. Fish were sampled from 21 d to 118 d posthatch. Sagittal otoliths were extracted from each fish, and each otolith was em...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Anthropogenic modification to riverine systems has reduced access to important off-channel nursery habitats. Some species utilize these floodplain habitats during early life history. The river-reservoir interface (RRI), a transitional zone between lentic and lotic habitats, may provide surrogate nursery habitats for these species. We sampled ichthy...
Conference Paper
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has initiated an innovative approach to fish and wildlife conservation in Texas. By working with alliances of landowners, we provide a holistic approach to technical guidance and help to secure funding for restoration and conservation actions throughout targeted watersheds. Although we have projects in many locat...
Article
Full-text available
Using acoustic telemetry, we characterized movements and macrohabitat use of 46 Alligator Gars Atractosteus spatula in the lower 180 km of the Trinity River, Texas. Although several Alligator Gars used over 100 km of the river, 83% of the tagged fish had linear home ranges less than 60 km during the 22 months of study. As a result, home ranges of f...
Chapter
Striped bass Morone saxatilis provide important commercial and recreational fisheries in many Atlantic coast states, in addition to providing popular recreational reservoir fisheries in numerous inland states. Measurements of fishery-dependent data such as harvest, catch, and effort are essential to determining whether management actions are effect...
Article
Full-text available
Many studies have examined variation in year-class strength and associated density-dependent growth of fishes. Few studies, however, have considered the effects of these factors on fishery quality. We examined how the frequency of strong year-classes affects fish harvest and size structure for three species with varying life histories. We modeled b...
Article
We evaluated annulus formation and readers’ ability to recognize known annuli from otoliths, pectoral fin rays, and scales of alligator gar Atractosteus spatula using known-age (0 and 1 years) and chemically marked fish. Chemical marks were generally associated with annuli, and confirmed annulus formation occurred around May. In all bony structures...
Conference Paper
We examined how the frequency of strong year classes affects fish harvest and size structure for three fish species with varying life histories. Random and systematic occurrence of strong year-classes were modeled for white bass Morone chrysops (short lived), largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides (intermediate longevity), and blue catfish Ictalurus...
Conference Paper
While much is known about the fish communities, habitats, and ecology within rivers and reservoirs, little information exists regarding how reservoirs and their upstream tributaries function as single ecosystems. Especially lacking is information about fish communities within the transitional habitats between rivers and their downstream reservoirs,...
Article
Full-text available
Adult striped bass (Morone saxitilis) are vulnerable to high summer water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen (DO) in southern reservoirs, potentially resulting in poor body condition and elevated mortality. In Lake Buchanan, Texas, mean relative weights for striped bass >500 mm ranged from 77 to 84 from 2002–2007 in spring surveys when relative...
Article
Juvenile spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus growth in Chesapeake Bay was compared to growth from southerly estuaries to examine the potential for countergradient growth variation, and finer scale growth variation within Chesapeake Bay was investigated further. Because spawning and growing seasons in Chesapeake Bay are much shorter than in souther...
Article
Full-text available
A growth chronology index was used to determine whether changes in ecosystem structure and function in lakes could be associated with fish growth histories. Growth chronologies were compared for white suckers, Catostomus commersoni, from Little Moose (oligotrophic), Oneida (eutrophic), and Cayuga (mesotrophic) lakes (New York) from opercular bone g...
Article
Full-text available
Stocking of hatchery-reared Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha in Lake Ontario has led to the development of a sport fishery that provides high economic returns to local communities. However, increased natural or “wild” production resulting from the naturalization of hatchery Chinook salmon to the system could result in changing salmonine dyna...
Article
Full-text available
Chemical analysis of fish otoliths has become a important technique in fisheries science with widespread applications. Most research to this point has focused predominantly on sagittal otoliths, but the underlying assumptions also apply to lapilli. The goal of this study was to determine whether lapilli and sagittae have the same otolith chemistry...
Thesis
Full-text available
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Cornell University, Aug., 2005. Includes bibliographical references.
Thesis
Thesis (M.S.)--Cornell University, Aug., 2000. Includes bibliographical references.