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2009 NANFA Conservation Research Grant Winners

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#1 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:08 PM

This year NANFA is supporting three research projects with grants of $750 each. These projects study different species, asking different questions, in different parts of the country. Grant winners must eventually submit an article to American Currents describing their findings. NANFA is proud to support research on vulnerable North American fish species, and has been doing so for a number of years. Below are descriptions of the three winning proposals, with the researcher's name and project title at the beginning.

Josh Perkin. “Evolutionary response of a relict ironcolor shiner (Notropis chalybaeus) population to a spring environment.” The western extent of ironcolor shiner contiguous range is the Red River drainage in Texas, but a disjunct, relict population exists further west in the Guadalupe River drainage. This population is found only in the upper 10 km of the San Marcos River where large spring discharges from the Edwards aquifer provide flows and constant water temperatures year round. This stable spring environment is unique among streams inhabited by ironcolor shiners and therefore provides a unique opportunity to assess various adaptations in fish reproductive within novel environments. Due to stable year-round water temperatures, ironcolor shiners in the San Marcos River might spawn year-round with fewer oocytes per spawning event in the absence of seasonal water temperature fluctuations. Spring-adapted species are at risk because they are specialized for a narrow range of environmental conditions, and these spring environments themselves are extremely sensitive to human activities.

Solomon David. “Ecology, biogeography, and conservation of the spotted gar (Lepiosteus oculatus) in Michigan” The goal of this study is to better understand a very poorly-studied, much-maligned yet important native species at the edge of its range. This will help to develop effective strategies for conserving and managing ecologically sensitive peripheral populations central to the biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems. Specific objectives of this work are to explore differences in life history characteristics between the southern US population and Michigan inland lakes population of spotted gars; determine the primary biotic and abiotic factors influencing the distribution, abundance, and life history of spotted gars in Michigan; and, develop management recommedations for conservation of the spotted gar in Michigan.

Benjamin Keck. “Genetic diversity among disjunct populations of the Greenfin darter, Nothonotus chlorobranchius” Is genetic diversity consistent with previously described morphological variation among the disjunct populations of N. chlorobranchius? Greenfin darters occur in isolated tributary river systems of the upper Tennessee River drainage. Existing populations are isolated by many kilometers of uninhabited territory. Previous work has shown morphological variation among populations in different river systems, with that of the Little Tennessee River being the most distinct. A full genetic analysis of Greenfin darters will identify intraspecific relationships that can used for: conservation efforts such as restocking extirpated populations and identifying particularly divergent and unique populations, and provide insight into the geographic scales of diversification in the upper Tennessee River drainage.

#2 Guest_TexasEndemic_*

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 01:02 PM

I offer my sincerest gratitude to the North American Native Fishes Association for supporting conservation research endeavors such as theses. The encouragement, support, and financial assistance this grant represents are greatly appreciated by young, aspiring fish ecologists like me. I look forward to sharing results of the ironcolor shiner research in American Currents and hopefully at the conference in Florida.

Thank you again for your consideration.


Josh Perkin

#3 Guest_E_americanus_*

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 01:57 PM

I very much concur with Josh and his post statements! Thanks very much to NANFA for providing much needed support for projects looking to conserve native fishes! Our project was funded entirely out-of-pocket last year (myself and member Richard Kik IV), so every type of support we get will help out immensely for our second (and final) year of the spotted gar project.
Thanks again to everyone involved, and if any of you are headed up through Ann Arbor this summer and want to see some spotted gars, please contact me!--

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