WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 28, 2010, 09:27 AM

Ph. D student tries to save endangered fish species

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - NDSU is known around the world for its Ag research, but fish? A young PH-D student from Sri Lanka is in the middle of some life saving research for fish no longer found anywhere in the wild, but the little swimmers are on the campus of NDSU.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

In a top secret location on campus, Sujan Henkanaththegedara enters his research kingdom. Tubs of Mohave Tui Chub fish, little endangered critters that live no where else in the world except in controlled research settings where scientists like Sujan are trying to keep them from extinction.

“We are trying our best. Right now we are saving the species so it is a lot when it comes to conversation, but at the same time the findings can be applied to other species.”

But Sujan is not only studying the Mohave Tui Chub, but the dreaded bad guy of this story is the mosquito fish. A fish that “Sponge Bob” could not even like.

“It can eat anything.”

Sujan's research has already uncovered one mystery. While the mosquito fish is the number one enemy of the chub, it is not the only reason for its demise. And so to eradicate the mosquito fish may not be the answer and that is good for us since the mosquito fish eat mosquito larvae.

The Mohave Tui Chub flourished in the Moahve River basin in California. Invasive species moved in and the fish disappeared.

“It is a lot of fun. I spent two summers in the desert in the middle of nowhere with my fish doing research and every day we found something new.”

Sujan, in a small NDSU lab, could re-write science books on the fish and perhaps even keep from disappearing entirely from our world. Sujan will eventually present the results of his research when he defends his PhD to other scientists at NDSU.