Conserving Imperiled Fishes: Darters

Imperiled Holiday darter, Ethestoma brevirostrum

Justification

While Alabama is home to more aquatic species than any state in North America, it also has the highest number of imperiled species. Maintaining the diversity of aquatic life is important to keeping the ecosystem functioning properly. Healthy aquatic life usually means good water quality and a quality environment for Alabama citizens.

 

 

Objectives

Understand the reasons rare fish species are becoming imperiled by researching spatial dynamics, population structure, and life history.

Students sampling Shoal Creek for darters

 

Research
Currently, Auburn University Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture researchers are studying three rare species of darters. The slackwater darter, found only in a few locations in the Tennessee River drainage in North Alabama and South Tennessee, makes annual spawning migrations to flooded seepage areas in early spring. Most populations in Alabama are gone; scientists hope to locate remaining populations and target the most viable ones for protection.
Similar projects are underway with the Holiday darter, found only in Shoal Creek, Talladega National Forest, and the Rush darter, found in only a handful of sites in North Central Alabama.

 

Impacts

This work will identify the most viable populations and associated habitat for that would benefit from habitat restoration will also be identified.

 

 

Principal Investigator

Carol E. Johnston
Assistant Professor
Auburn University, Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
johnsc5@auburn.edu

 

Affiliated Departments or Institution

U. S. Forest Service

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Alabama Division of Conservation and Natural Resources

203 Swingle Hall | Auburn, Alabama 36849 | (334) 844-4786 |
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