UOG graduate student studying Guam’s native freshwater eels 

Posted on Dec 01 2022


Karina Mejia holds a freshwater eel. For her master’s biology thesis at the University of Guam, she is looking into the genetics and migration of Guam’s most common river eel. (UNIVERSITY OF GUAM)

Karina Mejia, a graduate student studying biology at the University of Guam within the National Science Foundation EPSCoR program, is looking to answer some unknowns about Guam’s most common river eel—the giant mottled eel, or marbled eel.

The species (Anguilla marmorata) could be sustainably managed as a local food source, but little is known about it on the island.

Mejia wants to find out where in the ocean they spawn and what time of year they journey upstream in Guam’s freshwater rivers—both critical pieces of information in order to sustainably fish them in the wild or to raise them.

Mejia and her research mentor, UOG associate professor of Biology Daniel Lindstrom, are also hoping to use a technique known as otolith microchemistry to trace their migration patterns.

“People have been catching them year-round. […] So that’s why I’m looking at the otoliths—hopefully to trace back their movement throughout the ocean to where they were spawned,” Mejia said.

Mejia will be looking for native eels at Guam’s river openings and encourages the public to share to mejiak@gotritons.uog.edu when and where they may have seen them.

She hopes to have enough data by next fall.

To read more, go to https://www.uog.edu/news-announcements/2021-2022/2022-uog-graduate-student-studying-guams-native-freshwater-eels.php (UOG)

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