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2010 Conservation Research Grant Winner

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#1 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 08:41 PM

NANFA is pleased to announce this year's award of our Conservation Research Grant. The committee of Bruce Stallsmith, Chris Scharpf and Jeremy Tiemann reviewed the eight submitted proposals and chose the one below from Suzanne Gray for a grant of $1000. This year's cohort of proposals was unusually strong, all with strong conservation merit. Proposals for next year's award will be due in mid-January, 2011. The request for proposals will be made through the Forum along with other media.

Suzanne M. Gray, Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. “Turbidity tolerance in Blackline Shiners: Implications for conservation and recovery.”

The primary research goal is to compare turbidity tolerance across members of the Blackline Shiners complex with reportedly varying turbidity tolerance to determine if turbidity can be directly implicated in the decline of vulnerable species, and to inform action plans for the recovery of these species. In Canada, turbidity is the putative cause for the decline of several species in this complex, including the Endangered Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus) and Threatened Bridle Shiner (N. bifrenatus). Turbidity can have direct physiological effects such as reduced feeding and respiratory impairment, and can also alter visually-mediated behavior such as foraging and social interactions.

The proposed research will compare the responses of four Blackline Shiner species typically found in clear waters (N. anogenus, N. bifrenatus, N. heterodon and N. heterolepis) and one related minnow found in a range of habitats (N. volucellus) to varying turbidity conditions in aquaria. The behavioral responses of individuals of all five species to increasing turbidity over a 3-week period will be compared. A second experimental treatment of the same five species will examine the physiological and behavioral responses of individuals held under high turbidity levels for two months. The results of this research should have direct and immediate implications for the recovery and management of the Endangered Pugnose Shiner, Threatened Bridle Shiner and other sympatric species in this group.

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