Three University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff graduate students of aquaculture/fisheries recently earned awards at the meeting of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) at Hot Springs.

Jamie Kindschuh and Micah Tindall won awards for research presentations, and Nathan Egnew won an outstanding service award.

Kindschuh won best student poster presentation for her research titled, “Assessment of Sampling Strategies and Distribution Patterns of Physical Habitat in Arkansas Reservoirs.” She received a $100 prize and a plaque.

“Reservoirs are characterized by dynamic ecological processes that change the quantity of their physical habitat – factors such as wood structure, aquatic vegetation, and substrate – through space and time,” Kindschuh said.

“The purpose of my study was to inform the development of a standardized framework to evaluate the status of physical habitat within Arkansas reservoirs located in highland and lowland regions. A standardized framework could benefit management agencies by providing a system-level assessment of current habitat conditions,” she said.

Tindall won best student oral presentation for his research titled, “Movement of Northern Snakehead on the White River System of Eastern Arkansas.” He received a $100 prize and a plaque.

“Northern snakeheads are an invasive fish species found in the eastern part of the state,” Tindall said. “This project was designed to characterize some of their movement patterns, specifically directional movement across all four seasons. We surgically implanted radio telemetry tags into the fish and followed their movements across these seasons.”

Egnew won an award that recognizes outstanding service by an AFS Arkansas Chapter student subunit member. He received a $50 prize and a plaque.

Egnew’s recent research has examined the combined and individual effects of ammonia and iron on juvenile largemouth bass. He said he chose to major in aquaculture/fisheries at UAPB because eventually he would like to work in a fish hatchery.

Tindall said his dream job is to work as a fisheries biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC).

“My best friend’s dad was a biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” he said. “I began volunteering with him at a very young age and continued to volunteer for multiple fish and wildlife agencies all the way through college.”

After she graduates, Kindschuh plans to pursue a career as a biologist for a state agency.

“Fishing has always been a big part of my life,” she said. “Growing up, I often went fishing with my family, and I remember the thrill of catching my very first fish. That excitement hasn’t gone away, and I will always cherish those memories with my family.”

She said she originally chose to obtain a degree in aquaculture/fisheries to learn to manage fish populations and their associated habitats so other families could experience the joys of fishing she knows.

The AFS Arkansas Chapter was founded in 1986. Chapter members include fisheries and aquatic sciences professionals of the AGFC, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as numerous representatives of Arkansas’ universities.

— Will Hehemann is a writer/editor with the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.