I've been away for a long weekend to visit my father on the Virginia shore, without benefit of internet. But now I'm back to catch up.
The coal ash angle is a new article in Newsweek
about the coal ash spill near Kingston, TN, last December and the threat of similar spills around the country (including two sites in Alabama). The article is at http://www.newsweek.com/id/207445. The idea of mobilized lead, cadmium, arsenic, and selenium in a flowing muddy mass is less than attractive.
The stippled studfish DNA sequencing attempt failed last week. For an unknown reason our purified DNA samples had very low DNA levels. It's puzzling since I was sure we were doing it better than several years ago, when we got a good set of sequences. So it's back to the drawing board.
And the trip to the Cypress Creek system in Lauderdale County, AL, last Tuesday went great except that we didn't catch any highland shiners, the primary target. Due to my confusion we stopped at Little Cypress Creek along County Road 8 rather than Cypress Creek on the same road, where we've caught highlands years ago. We wound up with 30 scarlet shiners, of which I initially thought some juveniles were highlands. So we'll try again on Friday, now that I'm sure I know where we're going(!). We did catch and bring back a live male darter that we can't identify. At first I thought he was a redline darter, but breast coloration and the second dorsal fin are all wrong. The general arrangement is more like a rainbow darter, but there are some important differences such as a largely red second dorsal fin with a terminal white band, no color on the pectoral fins and wrong color pattern on the caudal peduncle and caudal. I have to get a decent photo of him to circulate, hopefully not just advertising my ignorance. More than anything I think he's some kind of "orangethroat" darter but they aren't found in Alabama. We'll look for more of these on Friday.
Our mummichog DNA sequences are now up on genbank. The first of them is at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore/253796555, going to number ...583. The 28 listings in this scheme represent a 70% complete cyt-b
gene sequence for each fish, along with a separate protein sequence translation entry. Kris is making a push to finish his thesis with this data, hopefully soon!