Decision on 2014 Conservation Research Grant Awardee
Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:36 AM
Michael Moore, Virginia Tech.
Occupancy modeling for the Clinch Dace (Chrosomus sp. cf. saylori) in the Upper Clinch River System, Virginia using minnow trapping, backpack electrofishing, and eDNA sampling.
Although the Clinch Dace is not currently listed under the Endangered Species Act, it is classified as “endangered” by Jelks and is considered to be one of the rarest fish species in the United States. In Virginia, Clinch Dace are known from headwater streams in two counties. Populations are small and separated by large distances of unfavorable habitat. The occupancy status of Clinch Dace remains unknown at many sites throughout the proposed range.
Questions to be investigated- Our research questions for Clinch Dace are threefold. 1. What is the species’ current distribution? 2. Which sampling gear is best to monitor and survey for populations and are habitat conditions correlated to site occupancy? 3. Is eDNA sampling feasible for Clinch Dace?
Research Objectives- In response, we propose the following objectives. 1: Survey streams using minnow traps, visual observation, and backpack electrofishing. 2: Analyze presence/absence data using occupancy models accounting for gears type and habitat features as covariates. 3: Develop primers to detect Chrosomus DNA in water samples collected at a subset of sites. 4: Collect water samples downstream of identified populations to understand spatial distributions of DNA in a lotic system.
Description of Work- We will survey ~70 sites twice during 2014 and 2015 using minnow traps, and once each using visual observation and backpack electrofishing. Sites will be randomly selected south flowing tributaries to the Clinch River in Russell and Tazewell Counties Virginia.
Benefits- Monitoring allows biologists to observe population trends and adjust management accordingly. Specific benefits include updated distributional records, determination of optimal survey effort, identification of habitat requirements to address in habitat restoration, and occupancy prediction at unsampled sites. EDNA protocols and primers we develop could provide a minimally invasive, low effort, high sensitivity approach to monitor Chrosomus dace.
Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:00 AM
It seems that we are in agreement, but we nee d to make this formal... do I have a motion (and we will of course need a second) to accept the recommendation of the committee?
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