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Texas A&M researchers map genome for disappearing bobwhite quail - The Eagle: News

Texas A&M researchers map genome for disappearing bobwhite quail

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:00 am

A team led by Texas A&M University researchers has mapped the genome of a popular game bird that has been disappearing at an alarming rate. It took the group two years of six-day workweeks to complete a "first draft genome assembly" for a wild bobwhite quail. The peer-reviewed research was published Wednesday evening in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The bobwhite is one of the most popular birds to hunt in the U.S., but its population has been decreasing for decades. The chubby, robin-sized quail with a distinctive striped black head is listed as the No. 1 bird in decline in North America by the Audubon Society.

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  • BiologistAndCountryBoy posted at 10:33 am on Thu, Mar 13, 2014.

    BiologistAndCountryBoy Posts: 1

    To ferroequinologist: You're statement is only partly true (at most). Bobwhites have declined in regions of the US where fire ants are not an issue; so fire ants are not a universal explanation for a single state or the US in general.

    To Brazos County Citizen: The hunters are actually the primary people driving, motivating, and funding research related to conservation and management, which even includes purchasing parcels of land for management. Without them raising awareness, and opening their pocket books, this problem may likely have been much worse by now, and interestingly, average folks probably wouldn't even notice it or think much about it. Many of these hunters are trying to create and maintain wildlife habitats for wildlife; in the face of progress I might add.

  • Mississippi Aggie posted at 10:06 am on Thu, Mar 13, 2014.

    Mississippi Aggie Posts: 2

    Growing up in Long Beach Mississippi in the 70's I often remember hearing Bob Whites. They would often respond to an imitation of their whistle. However, it has been years since I have heard one reply.

    Any suggestions for conservation by average citizens?

  • ferroequinologist posted at 9:19 am on Thu, Mar 13, 2014.

    ferroequinologist Posts: 32

    Anyone that has lived in the country in Texas can tell you the answer in two ants

  • Brazos County Citizen posted at 8:30 am on Thu, Mar 13, 2014.

    Brazos County Citizen Posts: 403

    Doing the research is fine but if the populations are declining dramatically, and yet hundreds of thousands of them are hunted each year, isn't one of the most effective short-term solution obvious? Place a moratorium on hunting them for a few years to help them recover while other efforts such as landowner education, restoring habitat, etc., continue and hopefully make progress.

    If that's not a workable solution, maybe the bobwhite quail hunters out there can let us know why.