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NANFA 2008 Conservation Research Grant Winners

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#1 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 06:23 PM

The Conservation Research Grants review committee has reviewed the 11 proposals we received this year and made the following recommendations for funding, approved by the NANFA Board of Directors. The members of this year's review committee are Bruce Stallsmith, Chris Scharpf and Jeremy Tiemann. Many of this year’s proposals were worthy of support but we narrowed it down to three, with levels of NANFA support indicated. These three are as follows:

Richard Harrington, $1000.
Richard is a doctoral candidate at Yale under the direction of Tom Near. His proposal is titled, “Analysis of genetic diversity and hybridization in the Barrens Darter, Etheostoma forbesi”. The Barrens Darter, subgenus Catonotus, currently has no state or federal agency status although it has an extremely restricted range in tributary streams to Barren Fork, part of the Caney Fork River system in middle Tennessee. With nine known occurrences, it’s highly vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbances and hybridization with other darter species. The species is arguably one of the most vulnerable in North America. The two questions Richard wishes to address are: 1) is the population genetic structure of E. forbesi characteristic of a long-term stable population size, or is there evidence of reduced genetic diversity; 2) is there hybridization between E. forbesi and a closely related sympatric species.

Jacob Egge, $825.
Jacob is an assistant professor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. His proposal is titled, “Conservation Genetics of the Least Madtom, Noturus hildebrandi”. The Least Madtom from western Mississippi and Tennessee demonstrates patterns of cryptic diversity that are unusual given the distribution, and are not consistent with current taxonomy. Species diversity among madtoms is currently underestimated due to their conservative morphology. N. hildebrandi is closely related to a federally endangered species, N. baileyi. Further knowledge of the population structure of N. hildebrandi will be useful in considering efforts to preserve diversity in both species. Jacob also has $620 funding from his school, largely because he is involving a number of undergraduates in this work as a summer project.

Ben Koch, $675.
Ben is a doctoral student at the University of Wyoming. His proposal is titled, “Impacts of non-native trout on the food base in high-elevation cutthroat trout refugia in Colorado”. This work will take place at high elevation in the East River watershed where non-native brook trout and brown trout have been introduced and the native Colorado River cutthroat trout has become rare. Specific questions to be answered are: 1) are these alpine streams serving as sink habitats for non-native trouts due to a limited food base; 2) are these alpine streams capable of supporting minimum viable populations of native cutthroat trout. Our support will specifically support the rental of shared laboratory space at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory during field research.

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