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Winning Proposal, 2011 NANFA Conservation Research Grant


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#1 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 01:41 PM

The 2011 NANFA Conservation Research Grant of $1000 has been awarded to Kathlina Alford of the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, TN, for work to describe the genetic structure of the flame chub. The species is found scattered around the middle Tennessee River valley in isolated springs and spring runs. The next deadline for research proposals will be next January, 2012.

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Population status and conservation genetics of the Flame Chub, Hemitremia flammea
Kathlina Alford, Tennessee Aquarium
Introduction: The Flame Chub, Hemitremia flammea (Jordan and Gilbert), an imperiled cyprinid, earns its name from the bright red coloration of nuptial males. Endemic to small spring-fed streams or slackwater areas along the banks of larger streams, this monotypic genus is historically known from the Tennessee, Cumberland and Coosa river drainages throughout Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky (Etnier and Starnes, 1993; Boschung and Mayden, 2004). Because of extensive human alteration of these habitats, the species is becoming increasingly rare across its range. Populations in Kentucky (Middle Cumberland River drainage) and in the Coosa River drainage in Alabama are exceptionally rare and possibly extirpated (Stallsmith, 2010). The species is listed as vulnerable by the American Fisheries Society (Jelks et al., 2008), Alabama (S3) and Tennessee (S3), and critically imperiled by the state of Georgia (S1). The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the species as data deficient (DD), indicating limited research and a poor understanding of the species. It has been suggested that the IUCN and the Alabama status in particular are too optimistic and should be changed due to limited catch in recent surveys (Stallsmith, 2010). Because the Flame Chub is dependent upon spring headwaters but is distributed across several major drainages, there are likely distinct genetic groups within the species. This, compounded with recent fragmentation, can dramatically impact how management units are delineated within the species, impacting future conservation initiatives (Camus, 2002). By providing greater understanding of the distribution and genetic variation among Flame Chub populations, this study will help to better inform conservation efforts to halt the speciesí decline.
This study is in partial fulfillment of a Masters thesis at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Data will be presented at the Southeastern Fishes Councilís annual meeting and published in a peer-reviewed journal. In addition to providing a greater understanding of historical levels of genetic diversity in this spring endemic species, this study will provide critical information on the impact of recent fragmentation. Results from this study will be distributed to resource managers in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee to help assess current threat levels and the management of individual populations.

#2 Guest_farmertodd_*

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 06:47 PM

A great choice, and will make a big difference in this project. Thanks for the report!

I totally forgot to offer to be a reader again this year :) Make sure you grab me next year if you chair again.

Todd

#3 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:56 PM

Thanks Todd, hopefully a break will help you write and defend that much sooner.



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