Southeastern Fishes Council
Dedicated to the Conservation of Southeastern Fishes

2000 Report of Region 1 - Northeast
Bob Jenkins (Roanoke College) is still a sucker, oops, still studying suckers. In summer 1999 he finished major report to USFWS on description, life history, spawning behavior, habitat, distribution and population status of the undescribed sicklefin redhorse. A major survey for this species will occur in March 2000 (with Bob involved) relative to re-licensing dams that are in, or blocking the range of, the sicklefin in the Hiwassee and Little Tennessee systems. A Redhorse sucker spawning-behavior study, with Mark Clements and Bud Freeman, has year 2000 as its fourth and final year of observations. Meanwhile, analysis of about 40 h of videotape continues. Excerpts can be viewed on the Playboy Channel. A major feature is seeing Moxostoma carinatum and M. erythrurum spawning as interspecies trios, in varied combinations of species' positions (right, left of female), and species of the female. Interspecies acts were observed in S. Fk. Holston River, VA, Valley River, NC, and Brasstown Creek, GA. Folks better be pulling more pharyngeal arches.....

Mike Pinder (Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries) completed a survey for Enneacanthus chaetodon, a state endangered species in VA. It was found at eight sites in the Blackwater and Nottoway systems, three of which represent new populations. His department is funding Paul Angermeir (VPI) in a study of Percina rex and habitat use. Depending on funding success, he hopes to fund a genetic study of the spotted form of Noturus insignis and a basin-wide survey for Etheostoma osburni.

Gene Maurakis (Science Museum of Virginia) has teamed up with Ray Katula and Bill Roston to describe breeding behaviors in Hemitremia flammea from field and laboratory studies. A publication is in review on comparisons of spawning and non-spawning substrates in nests of species of Exoglossum and Nocomis. Gene will be wrapping up field studies on attraction of nest associates to nests of pebble nest-building fishes in spring 2000. Gene and Dave Grimes (VA DEQ) have completed Phase I studies on methodology development for use of wedge clam (Rangia cuneata) in biomonitoring studies.

The North Carolina State Museum is, for the most part, consumed in efforts to get the main museum open on 7 April 2000. It will be the largest natural history museum in the South; y'all come. Another major effort has been to finalize the data base structure for computerization of all natural history collections, including fishes. With the combined holdings comprising the core NCSM collection and those of Duke University, UNC Institute of Marine Science, NCSU, the Wildlife Commission surveys, Wayne Starnes' personal collection, and several other sizeable acquisitions, this data base is anticipated to contain data on between 80,000 and 100,000 lots. The data structure is Access-based and employs the basic structure acquired from the Florida State Museum, with several modifications to accommodate NCSM's needs. One feature being added is a large database, compiled by Wayne Starnes, Art Bogan, and Wendy Gotch, containing a hierarchical tabulation of drainage basins for much of North America. It includes all of the United States and much of Canada, and a framework for the remainder of Canada plus Mexico, with plans to expand beyond as needed. This table, linked to the catalog database to have an oversight function, facilitates standardized entry and retrieval of drainage information in hierarchical fashion down to seven levels. It presently contains over four thousand records. Also linked to the database is a taxonomic and spell-check table based on the long, long in-press USGS checklist of vertebrates, with a fish list authored by Wayne Starnes. Goals are to have substantial portions of the database available on the NCSM web site in 3-4 years. The collections and backlog holdings are now well organized and stabilized in the new Research and Collections Facility to which they were moved in 1998.

Morgan Raley, who recently completed a Ph.D. with Rob Wood at St. Louis University, has joined Gabriela Hogue (erstwhile Mottesi, married off since last report) and Lynn Fullbright on the fish heads staff at NCSM for the time being. He and Rob's molecular treatment of Crystallaria recently appeared in Copeia and his dissertation topic, a phylogenetic analysis of the Notropis dorsalis group, is not far behind. Lynn is revisiting the Etheostoma nigrum-olmstedi problem in the Tar and Neuse systems as a master's thesis topic at NCSU where she is enrolled in graduate school. Gabriela and Wayne can only wish at this time that they could return to some research, though Wayne gets in a few late night efforts at completing an historical analysis and IBI study of lower Potomac fishes yet remaining from his Smithsonian days and a few efforts with Bob Jenkins on the undescribed "Carolina redhorse". West Pacific and West Atlantic priacanthid manuscripts for FAO are in press and methods for non-lethal tissue sampling in endangered fishes (Gila) recently appeared in North American Journal of Fisheries Management. Gabriela hopes to embark on studies of the biology of Chologaster soon and publish her master's thesis on unionid mussel glochidia and fish hosts. Spurred mainly by needs for exhibits, Wayne Starnes, Dick Bryant, et al. collected and obtained excellent photographs of a substantial portion of North Carolina fish species in 1999. Finally, it appears that IBIs and other studies have drawn agency, public utility, and similar sorts of biologists more and more back into the world of little nongame fishes. It has created a need and desire for instruction on identification of same in those circles. The NCSM contingent was requested to provide large workshop on identification of regional minnows, suckers, and darters at the NC AFS conference and did so, with a healthy attendance of 43 members. Such efforts are looked upon as an opportunity to build mutually beneficial alliances between taxonomists and fisheries scientists, as well as benefit the resource we treasure, southeastern fishes.

Fritz Rohde (NC Marine Fisheries), Rudy Arndt (Richard Stockton College) and Jeff Foltz (Clemson University) are still plodding away on their studies of South Carolina's freshwater fishes. Rohde is working with Joe Quattro (University of South Carolina) and students on various studies of the genetics of southeastern fishes, primarily Elassoma, Noturus, Fundulus, and Hybopsis/Cyprinella.

Jan Hoover reports that the Waterways Experiment Station Fish Team, part of the U.S. Engineer Research and Development Center at Vicksburg, MS consists of seven individuals: Jack Killgore, Jan Hoover, Phil Kirk, Steven George, and Bradley Lewis. They are assisted by Neil Douglas and William Lancaster (a commercial fisherman). Ongoing projects include a grass carp population study in the Santee-Cooper River system. Fish are collected by bow fishermen and otoliths extracted. Age and growth data are collected and used to develop population models that estimate mortality and stocking requirements to control aquatic vegetation in Lake Marion, SC. Streams in Fort Gordon, GA were sampled were invertebrates and fishes to identify nursery and feeding grounds. Noteworthy was the discovery of several populations of Elassoma okatie. In a previous study (18 stations sampled quarterly), the bluebarred pygmy sunfish was documented only at a single location in Boggy Gut Creek. In the current study, it was observed at several locations and is now documented from four of the five principal streams on the army installation. Habitat models are being developed for this and other aquatic species. Finally, the Ogeeche River of Fort Stewart, GA was sampled last year for shortnose sturgeon. Fish are being tagged and fin clips taken for ageing. Mark and recapture data and age and growth data will be used to create population models, assess populations status, and develop management protocols.

F. Rohde