Monday, April 26, 2010

We Have More Scarlet Shiners From Limestone Creek

I went out Friday afternoon with Brittany and Taito to our lower Limestone Creek site to collect scarlet shiners. It was a warm, beautiful day, and the creek was lower than March but still flowing at a good clip. We were able to collect about 30 scarlets with minimal work. A dozen of them were frozen in the minus 80 freezer immediately after euthanasia for future NMDAR dot blot testing.

This Saturday I'll be meeting up with visiting native fish enthusiasts from Florida and Rhode Island, a form of ecotourism of which the state of Alabama is probably unaware. We'll probably go to Estill Fork as a site of high diversity and legal, easy access. And Casper from Chattanooga should be there too, so everyone will get a full demonstration of snorkeling in the clear waters of Estill Fork. It should be fun (really!).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Have The Telescope Shiner Article .pdf

Our article in the April 2010 American Midland Naturalist is now out. It's "Reproductive Timing of the Telescope Shiner, Notropis telescopus, in Alabama, USA", by Brittany Holmes, Lindsay Whittington, Loren Marino, Andrew Adrian, and Bruce Stallsmith, Vol. 163, No. 2, pg(s) 326–334. And now I have a .pdf of the final version. If you'd like a copy, send me a request at stallsb at uah dot edu.

The more I think about it, the more I'd like to redo the black darter reproductive biology research next year. This time we'll do it through just looking at gonadal condition and counting and measuring oocytes, without the maddog histology of the original effort. Looking at gill parasites would be fun, too, hopefully one or more students are up for undertaking one or both of these projects.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My First Withdrawn Manuscript

I've done something I had hoped never to have to do, pull a manuscript from the review process and put it on ice. Specifically, I requested that the black darter article in revision at Southeastern Naturalist be withdrawn. The editor had requested some changes in data calculation and presentation, and I wasn't able to do them because I don't have the original raw data. This is stupid and ultimately unethical if it reaches print, but I was hoping to find the other author, Rachel, who had agreed to the publication of her thesis and then disappeared over a year ago. Finally, hope ran out on Friday that I could find her. For a variety of bad reasons she had all of the original notebooks, and there was no way I could fake it. This kills me because we were able to characterize the seasonality and reproductive effort of black darter spawning. I'm tempted to re-do the work next spring, at least in some form. Gack.

Happy Earth Day, including the climate change deniers.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Low Water Flow At Estill Fork, & Telescope Shiner Article Now Out In American Midland Naturalist

I went to Estill Fork Wednesday afternoon with Brittany and James. The creek level and flow were way down from March, and James (not Taito!) and I were wading without waders in the 17 deg. C water on a beautiful spring day. While the drift net was running we seined about 20 telescope shiners and about 12 tennessee shiners. The tennessees were just beginning to develop that eye-popping orange breeding coloration. Hopefully we can run some dot-blot assays of brain samples from both species as part of our seasonal monitoring of NMDAR variation. Taito has just finished running a series of assays on January and February scarlet, silverstripe and telescope shiners, and the basic pattern seems to be no significant differences between species in mid-winter as opposed to scarlets having elevated levels during the last breeding season.

Our article in the April 2010 American Midland Naturalist is now out. It's "Reproductive Timing of the Telescope Shiner, Notropis telescopus, in Alabama, USA", by Brittany Holmes, Lindsay Whittington, Loren Marino, Andrew Adrian, and Bruce Stallsmith, Vol. 163, No. 2, pg(s) 326–334. I still have to get a .pdf of the final version.

Also -- Andrew placed second yesterday for his presentation to the joint Honors Presentations of the combined University of Alabama system. He presented our findings on Dacytylogyrus gill parasite infection rates in telescope shiners over the course of a year in the upper Paint Rock River system. He did a great job in both the organization of the presentation, and in answering questions from the floor after he finished. Out of a dozen or more oral presentations, his was (of course) the only one that could be described as organismal biology, or ecology.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Beginning Web Site For Flowing Waters

I have a simple web site functional for the Flowing Waters Institute. It's at Kris showed me some shortcuts for FTP uploads, and I have a better grasp of html than before. So I hope to expand it soon.

Friday, April 09, 2010

DOI Link For Flame Chub Article At Endangered Species Research

My flame chub article, "Status of the Flame Chub, Hemitremia flammea, in Alabama, USA", has been accepted by the editors at the journal Endangered Species Research for publication. It will appear on their open access web site in the near future. Before then, the Abstract alone will be available, through the following DOI: It is a great relief, and pleasure, to get this manuscript into print and in front of the world (or at least those who look for it...).

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Flowing Waters Institute Has Been Founded

Today I acted on something I've been thinking about for a while. I want to have a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation as a structure for supporting funded research on aquatic biology in the U.S., especially stream ecology. So today I filed the papers that established the Flowing Waters Institute Inc. as an Alabama nonprofit corporation, and received an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. From here I will put together the paperwork to have this entity recognized by the IRS as a 501c(3) tax-exempt nonprofit. What I hope to do is make this a clearinghouse with the correct corporate structure to receive donations and funding from various sources to support both research and education efforts, not just by me but by others too. One inspiration for this is a group called the Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington. They started in 1979 and do some major funded research on marine mammals, with money from various federal agencies and some help and student volunteers from Evergreen State College in WA. Much of the research that I and others I know do doesn't require the same large overhead such as research vessels that marine mammal work entails, but it should be possible to coordinate more large efforts than are typical in the field. This is still something of a "blue sky" idea but I feel motivated to launch it. A web site for this will be up soon, and I already have the new email system running. You can contact me at stallsmith at

Saturday, April 03, 2010

At Least Someone Liked Our Poster(!)

I went out Wednesday morning to visit the poster session at the Alabama Academy of Science meeting at Alabama A&M near here. There was a surprising number of posters, especially from A&M people such as Yong Wang's group who as always are doing nice work. Our poster wasn't splashy with color, only B&W, and you could read most of it from almost a meter away, the old school approach to posters. Most posters there looked like someone's manuscript had been brutally edited, printed in 12 point type single-spaced, and jammed in between school logos and the screaming headline title. Yeah, everyone's a critic, I admit it.

Two posters down from Brittany was a poster from John McCall's group at the University of West Alabama. They've been doing a stream survey in Sumter County, AL, looking for darter species and beginning to relate their presence or absence to various physical parameters such as geology. To date they've found a total of eight different species in the seven streams they've been working. Interestingly, the redfin darter was the most widespread, found in six of the seven streams, and the Tombigbee darter was found only in a tributary to the Tombigbee River which defines much of the northern and eastern boundaries of the county. I was a wiseass and suggested to the student presenting the poster that they test for total dissolved solids as an easy but informative parameter. The group of them were impressed when I told them I'd spent time with family in Meridian, Mississippi, which is just to the west of there, and several of them are from Meridian. With all that, I'm curious to see what they come up with as their project progresses.

The odd thing talking to them was that they were deeply impressed that we were able to catch drifting macroinverts with my home-built driftnet. They'd tried to do that in some local streams with some kind of net they have but said they found nothing after several hours of installation in a stream. Brittany and I are flummoxed at that; we find hundreds of individuals in an hour or so at Estill Fork. Maybe I should build and sell them a net? We'll see...