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Notes on the fish at the BFS:
Fish at the BFS inhabit pHake Lake — an artificial lake constructed in 1978 to enable studies of aquatic biology at the BFS. According to the Guide to the Bernard Field Station, written in 1978 or 1979, an attempt was originally made to stock the lake with the “only four species of true freshwater fishes native to the coastal streams of Southern California” — unarmored three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus williamsoni), arroyo chub (Gila orcutti), Santa Ana sucker (Catostomus santaanae), and speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus).

We have no record of the initial outcome of the native species introductions, but at some point sunfish (Lepomis sp.) were introduced for a research project and ate or out-competed the native species. Brown trout were also subsequently introduced for a research project, but these did not survive the winter, as expected. In 1981 largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) were introduced to control the sunfish. They did eliminate the sunfish, but they have also eaten every other fish that’s been introduced except mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), which are introduced into the lake for mosquito control. Thus the largemouth bass and mosquito fish are the only fish persisting at the BFS. The goldfish that are occasionally observed are presumed to originate from departing college students releasing dorm pets, although such release is strictly forbidden by BFS policy. The goldfish, however, do not persist in pHake Lake.

None of the fish currently at the BFS have any special conservation status.

Common name Species name Source* Photos &

Sunfishes & Basses (Centrarchidae):

Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides S, E, J BFS, NAS,
TNHC (photos),
TNHC (distribution)

Livebearers (Poecilidae):

Western Mosquitofish Gambusia affinis S, E, J NAS, UTMA

Minnows & Carps (Cyprinidae):

Goldfish Carassius auratus auratus S CP, NAS


S = Confirmed sightings by BFS faculty and researchers since 1996
E = Field survey by Envicom, 1998
J = Surveys of pHake Lake by JNE & Assoc., 1996

Sources of photos and descriptions:
NAS = Nonindigenous Aquatic Species information resource for the USGS
UTMA = Utah County Mosquito Abatement Division
TNHC = Texas Natural History Collections at University of Texas

© 2001-2012 Bernard Field Station Faculty Advisory Committee
Page last updated 6 September 2012 by Nancy Hamlett.