This year's NANFA Conservation Research Grant proposal review committee participants are Bruce Lilyea, Derek Wheaton and Michael Wolfe. We received 9 proposals, all of which we felt addressed issues of interest in a way consistent with the stated aims of the Conservation Research Grant. The proposal we felt is best for having the most immediate impact, with our financial support being important to the proposed work, is the submission by Amanda Pinion of Texas A&M entitled: “Long overdue: A modern taxonomic revision of the Sand Shiner Notropis stramineus (Cope, 1865) based on molecular and morphological characters”.
The following summary is comprised of excerpts from the selected grant:
Molecular phylogenetic investigations of North American freshwater fishes are revealing that many widespread species are actually complexes of morphologically similar but genetically distinct and geographically isolated entities, or “cryptic species”, not yet formally recognized by name (Schönhuth et al., 2012). The Cyprinidae has been identified as one of the top two families of North American freshwater fishes, alongside Percidae, that likely harbors significant cryptic diversity (April et al., 2011). The Sand Shiner Notropis stramineus (Cope, 1865) is a small cyprinid possessing several qualities that make it a good candidate for harboring cryptic diversity. Several of the currently unrecognized members of the N. stramineus species complex appear to exhibit very small and fragmented geographic ranges (e.g., the lineage inhabiting the arid region of south-central Texas) and are likely in need of conservation yet are not on the radar of State or Federal agencies because of the current rudimentary taxonomic knowledge of this complex.
As an expected benefit, multiple new species of North American cyprinids will likely be recognized as a direct result of this study. The clarification of the ranges of these new and previously recognized species will allow for specificity and accuracy in future studies of their biology.
Objectives: The goals of the project include: (1) Assess relationships among the described and undescribed members of the N. stramineus species complex and address issues of species delimitation; (2) conduct a taxonomic revision of the N. stramineus species complex, with emphasis on descriptions of new species; and (3) determine the conservation status of the members of the N. stramineus species complex.
Thank you to all who participate in this year’s Conservation Research Grant process, especially all of the applicants. Please join me in congratulating Amanda!