Dedicated to the Conservation of Southeastern Fishes
2001 Report of Region 1 - Northeast
That well-known deviant and voyeur, Bob Jenkins (Roanoke College), has been spending all of his free time in the past two springs observing sucker sex. In fact, he has been so consumed with it that I have little to report on his activities this past year. Hopefully, by next year he will have tired of it and be ready to enlighten us all.
Mike Pinder (Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries) reports that since 1998, his department's Wildlife Diversity Division has been developing techniques to propagate mussels for eventual release into the upper Tennessee River. The cultivation facility is located on the South Fork Holston River near Marion, VA. Presently, they are holding over 22 species (307 individuals). Fourteen have successfully spawned in hatchery raceways with low mortality for most species. In June biologists will survey a potential release site on the Clinch River. The wavyrayed lampmussel (Lampsilis fasciola) and the oyster mussel (Epioblasma capsaeformis) will be the first artificially propagated species released at this study site.
Eugene Murakis (Science Museum of Virginia) has been spending a considerable amount of time (4 year grant) studying freshwater fishes of Greece which is slightly outside the purview of SEFC but he still has managed to continue his work on southeastern fishes. In press is a comparison of spawning and non-spawning substrates in nests of Nocomis and Exoglossum. Along with Ray Katula and Bill Roston, he has submitted a manuscript on spawning in Hemitremia flammea and with a student (Will Gretes, Univ. Richmond) is completing a comparisons of myomere counts among larval H. flammea and populations of Semotilus. Finally, he is wrapping up nest attractant studies and spawning of Nocomis effusus.
Wayne Starnes (North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences) took the plunge off the cliff again and got married in January. According to various sources, he is still happily married. Congratulations, Wayne. The past two springs, he joined up with several agencies, including Carolina Power and Light Co., Duke Power Co., NC Wildlife Resources Commission, SC Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, NC State University and others in a massive electroshocking survey of the Pee Dee river in NC and NC in search of further specimens of the robust and undescribed "Carolina" redhorses. The effort in 2000 yielded only the second documented specimen of the robust redhorse from the Pee Dee basin since it's description by Cope in 1870. The "Carolina" redhorse, under study and description by Jenkins and Starnes, is known in the Pee Dee from but five specimens, the last collected in 1994. These are clearly two of the rarest fishes in the Pee Dee and probably have been largely extirpated from that river by a combination of predation by Pylodictis olivaris and other factors. The only currently strong population of the "Carolina" redhorse resides in the lower Deep River portion of the Cape Fear basin. It appears to be on the verge of extinction from the remainder of that basin. Surveys are being spearheaded by CP&L in conjunction with re-licensing of dams on the Pee Dee. This year's effort will be expanded upstream to include reaches of the river below Tillary reservoir in addition to revisiting reaches sampled last year from below Blewett Falls Lake, NC to Cheraw, SC. After four long days on the Pee Dee in April 2001 with a mega-flotilla (9) of shocking boats, one 12 lb running ripe female robust redhorse was dip-netted by Wayne in a shoal area above Mill Creek. They worked the area from Blewett Falls to Cheraw and also between Tillary and Blewett. That is one rare fish. Additionally, another nuptial male "Carolina" redhorse was taken at High Falls in late April 2001.
The NCSM data base is now fully developed and operational (thanks to Gabriella Hogue and Jonathan Raine). Data entry of locality records is proceeding at a good clip with about 2500 records, most with GIS data, entered. These records support probably 15,000 or more lots and cataloging is complete on several hundred of these (only 80,000 more to go!). NCSM, in conjunction with researchers at the NCSU Vet School, is in the process of setting up a lab to conduct molecular investigations aimed at the systematics and conservation of fishes and mollusks. Morgan Raley, currently with the NCSM fishes unit, will be moving down the street to begin these tasks in June.
Fritz Rohde (NC Marine Fisheries), Rudy Arndt (Richard Stockton College), Jeff Foltz (Clemson University), and Joe Quattro (Univ. South Carolina) are still slowly working away on their SC fishes project. Foltz is currently computerizing all of the Clemson and Rohde and Arndt locality records.
The SC DNR research lab at Eastover is involved in three diversity/distribution studies. Jim Long is surveying fishes in rice fields in the lower Cooper River, Leo Rose is inventorying fishes in the Congaree Swamp National Monument, and Jason Bettinger is sampling the Broad River from above Columbia, SC to the NC/SC border.