Sunday, October 21, 2012

Creek Chubs At The Flint River, Oct. 20

We went out to the Flint River at Oscar Patterson Road yesterday to look for scarlet and silver shiners. The river was fairly high and fast, to the point that our usual sampling methods in the river weren't really working. But then we examined a side channel that was flooded yesterday, and is usually just a series of stagnant pools. At lot of the shiners and chubs had taken refuge in this sheltered channel. We found about a dozen scarlets, one silver, and 5 or 6 creek chubs. Mike Sandel has proposed on the NANFA Forum to start a project to monitor creek chub growth and reproductive status at a range of sites throughout their wide range. We think that's a good idea, so now we have our first creeks for the project. The first photo shows this flowing pool just before it rejoins the river. The second photo focuses on the island separating the channel from the river to the right, with a view of the small cut that allows the channel to rejoin the river. The river was moving at least a half meter per second at this point; great for darters, not so great for typical shiners and chubs.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

PVAS Talk This Weekend, Oct. 6

I've been strangely distracted for almost two months since the last post. But, this weekend, Saturday Oct. 6, I'll be doing an invited talk at the Potomac Valley Aquarium Society in Fairfax, Virginia. The topic is broadly Stream Ecology, but in particular I'll look at what factors can shape the diversity of fish species in two very different stream systems - Sipsey Fork in north Alabama, and the lower Congo River in Africa. It's a big topic for a 45 minute talk but I think I have it all boiled down. Also, Kelly and Stefanie are presenting a poster on our silver shiner research at the Southeastern Fisheries Council meeting in New Orleans on Nov. 8 and 9. We have over a year's worth of data now, and the big news is that the Flint River population of silver shiners spawns in February/March, while the other at all well-studied population in Ontario spawns in May/June. Water temperature seems to be a major cue, not surprisingly, and of course spring comes later in Ontario than Alabama. It should be good. Just for fun, here's a photo of a male scarlet shiner from Limestone Creek about 8 years ago, I don't think I ever posted it here.