The lamprey life: Biologist to give free talk about this often-misunderstood fish

Times Standard –

The lowdown on lampreys will be given by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service supervisory fish biologist Damon Goodman in a free lecture Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center, 569 South G St., in Arcata.

“Pacific lamprey are the largest lamprey species we have in California and are about two feet long,” Goodman said in an email interview with the Times-Standard. “They are anadromous similar to Pacific salmon and are born in rivers, migrate to the Pacific Ocean and return to rivers to reproduce. However, Pacific lamprey have evolved the ability to dyno-climb and can make it up and over waterfalls. They can even make it beyond the limit of our most athletic salmonid species.”

Goodman’s Friends of the Arcata Marsh-sponsored program, “The Biology & Conservation of Native Lampreys,” will explore the biology of these often-misunderstood fish, examine the problems they face and discuss efforts underway to conserve them.

“Lampreys play a vital role in the ecology of our rivers: They are ecosystem engineers and heroes of the riverine food webs,” Goodman said. “They occur in many of our rivers and even live under our toes in the sandy beaches of our favorite swimming holes, yet we might not even know they are there, and they are often overlooked when developing approaches for how we manage our rivers.”

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