Maybe A Stippled Studfish Project Next Year?
I've had the idea in the back of my mind of doing a distribution project with the stippled studfish, Fundulus bifax. This species is found in a dwindling range in the Tallapoosa and Coosa River basins in east-central Alabama, in places like Cornhouse Creek in Randolph County. It may already have disappeared from the Georgia part of its range. Two similar species, the northern studfish (F. catenatus) and southern studfish (F. stellifer), are currently safe and have much larger ranges. Interestingly, based on DNA evidence, the stippled studfish is more closely related to the northern studfish than to the southern studfish whose distribution range surrounds that of the stippled.
I have museum collection records for about 50 stippled studfish sites from the University of Alabama Ichthyology Collection in Tuscaloosa, so I have the basis for a field survey. This project could also include some DNA work in the lab to determine genetic structure and diversity using some protocols I got this summer from a friend. And I might be able to get a small grant to support the project(!). So it could be fun. I've wanted to get back to some Fundulus species work, going back to the roots for me in some ways with killifish. I'll let you know how it goes.
Tomorrow I give my first exam in the Vertebrate Reproduction class. With any luck I can have it graded in a week, 32 students each answering 5 short essay questions. A theme of the test will be, "What do steroid hormones mean to me?". Anabolic, baby.