Fall 2021 Newsletter
Quick Content Links
- President’s Message
- Save the Date – 2022 NCAFS Annual Meeting!
- Treasurer’s Report
- Hutton Scholar Highlight – Painter Richards-Baker
- Engaging Students – 2021 Shad in the Classroom
- Lake Norman Hybrid Striped Bass
- Young Professional Spotlight – David Belkoski
- Koi, Cyprinus rubrofuscus Lacepède, in North Carolina
- First summer of Haw River angler survey
- Good Work! – Recent Publications by NCAFS Members
- Stories of Interest
- Call to Action!
- Valuable Links
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act continues to gain support. If you would like background information about the bill check out the AFS webpage. The House bill, H.R. 2773, now has numerous co-sponsors including six of North Carolina’s 13 representatives and was heard in the Natural Resources’ Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee over the summer. The Senate bill, S. 2732, was introduced in mid-July and is a major step forward from last Congress when we did not have a companion bill in the Senate. Our Chapter sent letters to North Carolina senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis expressing support for this bipartisan bill. I have recently learned that both of our senators have signed on as co-sponsors.
Thanks for all you do for North Carolina’s aquatic resources.
Submitted by Ryan Heise, NCAFS President
Save the Date – 2022 NCAFS Annual Meeting!
The 33rd Annual Meeting of the NC Chapter of the American Fisheries Society will be held February 7–9, 2022 at the Morganton Community House, in the lovely foothills town of Morganton, NC. The Community House is the beautiful venue where we had our 2018 meeting. We encourage all old, young, and new Chapter members to contribute to our long-held tradition of spirited, well-attended meetings featuring outstanding presentations, diverse topics, and great networking opportunities.
Thinking of presenting, but not sure if your subject matter fits NCAFS? Do not despair! We encourage hearing about all facets of freshwater and marine fisheries and related aquatic sciences, management and conservation of game and nongame aquatic species, freshwater gastropods, mollusks, crayfish, and salamanders, invasive species (plants and animals alike), environmental aquatic contaminants, environmental restoration projects, citizen science and outreach programs, and emerging aquatic issues. We would also like to welcome undergraduate and first semester graduate students, encouraging you to attend and present on your honors project, your beginning master’s research topic, or group class projects recently completed.
Students – you are encouraged to apply for a travel award to support your attendance. Applications are due January 15, 2022. See https://nc.fisheries.org/awards/forms-applications/.
Full Length Oral Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes (18 minutes presentation + 2 minutes Q&A), whereas Lightning Presentations (i.e., brief presentations on beginning or uncompleted projects or for those who are not long-winded) will be limited to 7 minutes (6 minutes presentation + 1 minute Q&A). Don’t feel like talking? Well, Poster Presentations are also encouraged.
A.M.: North Carolina Mollusk Work Group
P.M.: North Carolina Mollusk Work Group
P.M.: Evening Social
A.M.: Continuing Education Workshop
P.M.: Plenary Speaker and Contributed Papers
P.M.: Evening Banquet and NCSU’s Student Fisheries Society Student Raffle
A.M.: Contributed Papers
P.M.: Business Meeting
We hope to celebrate being together once again, renewing long-held acquaintances and meeting our next generation of aquatic biologists. The planning team is busy coming up with extracurricular activities like a bike tour on the Fonta Flora State Trail (https://trails.nc.gov/state-trails/fonta-flora-state-trail; https://www.burkenc.org/1258/Fonta-Flora-State-Trail; https://www.discoverburkecounty.com/all-attractions/fonta-flora-county-park/). Morganton also has some great restaurants and three microbreweries (Catawba Brewing Company, Sidetracked Brewery, and Fonta Flora Brewery)!
Stay tuned for detailed information on the continuing education workshop, lodging, abstracts, and registration which includes a welcome social, dinner, and refreshments at the breaks. A First Call for Papers will appear in your email inbox during the month of November. If you have any questions or would like to help organize and plan the meeting, please contact Andrea Leslie ([email protected]).
Submitted by Andrea Leslie and Bryn Tracy
Balances as of September 17, 2021:
NCAFS Wells Fargo Checking Account: $7,800.35
RRCC Wells Fargo Saving Account: $7,124.03
Edward Jones Ichthus (Student) Fund: $33,157.01
Edward Jones General Fund: $79,550.07
We encourage groups or individuals to apply for project funding! Please fill out this application and send to Ryan Heise ([email protected]) by November 1, 2021. Applications will be reviewed, and notification of your application status will be given within 30–45 days of the deadline. An example of recent funding was highlighted in the Summer 2021 newsletter by Bryn Tracy and the NCFishes.com Team. The team was able to use funding from NCAFS to assist with travel expenses while photographing fish in Western NC.
For questions regarding finances, donations/awards, or procedures, please contact Casey Joubert at [email protected].
Submitted by Casey Joubert, NCAFS Secretary/Treasurer
Hutton Scholar Highlight – Painter Richards-Baker
The NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) had the opportunity to host and mentor a Hutton Scholar through the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program. This program, sponsored by the American Fisheries Society, aims to promote interest in the fisheries profession amongst unrepresented groups. This paid internship offers high school students the unique opportunity to work closely with mentors in the fisheries community and gain necessary field and laboratory experience. Painter Richards-Baker was selected from hundreds of student applicants who applied from across the country and paired with biologists in the Piedmont region. Through much collaboration amongst biologists, Painter was able to participate in the following activities and was a crucial member of the team this summer:
- Helped perform community fish surveys and presence absence surveys for native and invasive catfish using barge electrofishing.
- Surveyed for host fish for mussel propagation, collaborative work with North Carolina State University (NCSU) and NCWRC Aquatic Wildlife Diversity staff.
- Performed habitat surveys of native vegetation.
- Built and planted exclosures with native vegetation.
- Aged hundreds of fish otoliths (Black Crappie, White Bass, and Largemouth Bass).
- Snorkeled for mussels in the Uwharrie Mountains with Aquatic Wildlife Diversity staff.
- Banded Canada Geese with the NCWRC Piedmont wildlife biologists.
- Mist-netted for bats with the NCWRC bat biologist.
- Assisted at McKinney Lake State Fish Hatchery.
- Helped with sediment exchanges and mussel propagation at the NCSU Mussel Laboratory.
- Accompanied a Master Wildlife Enforcement Officer during a ride along.
- Tracked tagged Hybrid Striped Bass and Grass Carp at Lake Norman using acoustic telemetry.
- Assisted with mussel care at the Conservation Aquaculture Center in Marion, NC.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to enriching his summer with fishy and mussel-y activities. He is attending Dartmouth University this year and will be pursuing an education in environmental studies and playing football. Keep an eye out for him on TV during games!
Lastly, this program relies on professionals to not only apply to be mentors, but to recruit students to apply. If you would like to know more about the program, how to apply to be a mentor, or have an interested high school student, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or program coordinator Mary Banning [email protected].
Submitted by Kelsey Roberts
Engaging Students – 2021 Shad in the Classroom
Through the Shad in the Classroom program, elementary, middle, and high school students learn concepts related to the American Shad’s survival, the species cultural and biological importance, its ecological connections to other species and habitats, and the significance of genetic integrity. Teachers also integrate various other disciplines into the program including math, social studies, technology, art, literacy, and writing. The program heightens knowledge and awareness in future generations of an important migratory fish.
The program goals incorporate a “hands-on” approach by raising shad and give the students a strong connection to the fish resource and the river basin. Program enhancement activities like the fish dissection lessons are highly valued by our students and teachers. The hands-on approach of these activities allows students to see, touch, and explore various fish species helping to more fully engage the students.
The Shad in the Classroom Program continues to be a success due to its dedicated partners. The program is managed by the NC Museum of Natural Sciences (Museum) and it receives significant logistical and financial support from the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP), the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the NCAFS NCSU and Eastern Carolina University (ECU) student chapters also play significant roles.
The 2021 program year operated a bit differently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some schools that had been part of the program in the past asked to have a “hiatus” year, and we did not accept any schools from which the teacher had not already had in-person training. Teacher orientation was virtual this year and they were provided information about American Shad life history, restoration, and management. They received instructions for raising shad and learned ways to incorporate shad and aquatic ecology into their curriculum virtually and in-person, and they took part in virtual lesson activities created by the Museum. ECU graduate student Samantha Dowiarz guest lectured on Hickory Shad age and spawning structure.
Fish anatomy and dissection lessons are a favorite enhancement that we offer to the classes. We provided a modified fish dissection experience (Zoom conferencing) this year. Danielle Pender conducted two fish dissection and anatomy lessons from the Museum virtual studio and co-instructors Ambar Torres and Annika Preheim (both students at NCSU) joined from their remote locations (one on each of the two days). We were able to use Hickory Shad, Bluegill, and Black Crappie that were donated last year for the dissections, a few Largemouth Bass that were donated this year from Dr. Tom Kwak, and American Eel were provided by Ambar. Ambar also recorded a video dissection of the American Eel for the Shad classrooms which can be viewed here American Eel Dissection for K-12.
Most of the classes were not able to attend the release of the shad fry; therefore, we created a virtual program (by Zoom conferencing) to share the “field” experience. We focused on river and riparian ecology, wildlife in the river, and an interview with NCWRC fish biologists Ben Ricks and TD VanMiddlesworth. Danielle, Ben, and TD joined from Raleigh Beach while AmeriCorps volunteers Rachel Wilson and Taylor Prichard joined from their remote locations. Ben and TD provided multiple fish species that they caught by electrofishing to show to the students.
We are very thankful to students and researchers from the Student Fisheries Society at NCSU, the ECU Student Fisheries subunit, AmeriCorps, and the NCWRC who generously provided their time and expertise to conduct these lessons as named above. All teachers who were able to participate in these sessions reported that the activity enhanced the learning experience for their students. The fish dissection continues to be a highly appreciated component that we have added to the program. We are hopeful to return to “in-person” lessons next spring.
We are also grateful to all of our partners and to all of the volunteers who help with every aspect of the program — from the collection of the broodfish and the running of embryos to the schools, to the fish anatomy and dissection lessons, to the releasing of the larval fish in their natal rivers, and everything in between. We are gearing up for next year and look forward to working with Chapter members again for the 2022 Shad in the Classroom Program!
Melissa Dowland, Megan Chesser, and I give a big thank you to all the many volunteers, particularly the NC AFS Chapter and the NCSU and ECU Student Subunits, and NCSU, NCWRC, USFWS, and APNEP! If you would like to view the 2021 Final Report click here: 2021 Shad Final Report. If you would like to be involved in the program next year, please contact Danielle at [email protected].
Submitted by Danielle Pender, NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Lake Norman Hybrid Striped Bass
In May 2020, NC Wildlife Resources Commission biologists initiated a telemetry project to investigate Hybrid Striped Bass habitat use in Lake Norman. Fifty Hybrid Striped Bass were implanted with an acoustic tag that incorporated depth and temperature sensors, and a radio tag. Fish have been passively tracked by an array of 42 acoustic receivers, as well as weekly-to-monthly active radio tracking.
By May 2021, over 700,000 individual detections had been recorded from telemetered fish. Initial results suggest Hybrid Striped Bass avoid the metalimnion as it becomes hypoxic during the summer months. By July 2021, only 14 of the original 50 fish were assessed to still be alive. An additional 64 Hybrid Striped Bass were tagged in May 2021. Additional details are available here.
Submitted by Lawrence Dorsey
Young Professional Spotlight – David Belkoski
David’s love for the outdoors led him to receive a BS in Fisheries Science from Virginia Tech. After graduation he worked for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for two summers, getting experience with different fish assemblages west of the Mississippi. He then spent three years at Auburn University as a Research Assistant studying warmwater game fish. His MS is from UNC-Wilmington where he studied the feeding ecology of invasive catfish in coastal rivers of North Carolina with Dr. Fred Scharf. David has been working for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission since October 2020 and resides in Nash County.
Submitted by Seth Mycko
Koi, Cyprinus rubrofuscus Lacepède, in North Carolina
Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio (Figure 1), has swum in North Carolina’s waters since 1879 (Smith 1907). A long-held belief was that ornamental Koi (Figure 2) was merely a much-varied color morph of Common Carp. However, during post-processing of a photograph taken by the NCFishes team, we discovered that Koi are now considered a valid, separate species. Their Latin (scientific) name is Cyprinus rubrofuscus Lacepède 1803. Eschmeyer’s Catalog of Fishes recognized Koi as a valid species in June 2019 (Fricke et al. 2021). Up until then, Koi had long been synonymized with Common Carp.
Koi can be separated from Common Carp by the following key which has been modified from the identification key presented in “Minnow” Species (Families Cyprinidae, Xenocyprididae, and Leuciscidae) Diversity in North Carolina:
1a. Dorsal fin long with a stout, saw-toothed spine-like ray anteriorly, followed by 13 or more branched rays.
Anal fin also preceded by a stout, spine-like ray…………………………………………………………………………………………………………Family Cyprinidae, 2
1b. Dorsal fin long without a stout, saw-toothed spine-like ray anteriorly, followed by 12 or fewer branched rays.
Anal fin also without a stout, spine-like ray…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
2a. One pair of fleshy barbels on each side located near the corner of the mouth on the upper jaw.
Lateral line scale 29-39……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
2b. Barbels absent. Lateral line scales 28-32………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Goldfish, Carassius auratus
3a. Lateral line scales 29-33 + 2 or 3; 18-22.5 branched dorsal rays; silvery body with red pelvic, anal,
and lower caudal lobes (wild populations)………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Koi, Cyprinus rubrofuscus
3b. Lateral line scales 33-37 + 2 or 3; 17-20.5 branched dorsal rays;
grey to bronze body………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio
4a. Distance from anal fin origin to tip of snout 3 or more times as long as the distance from the anal fin origin to the caudal fin base (Figure 3).
Pharyngeal teeth comb-like……………………………………………………………………… Family Xenocyprididae, Grass Carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella
4b. Distance from anal fin origin to tip of snout less than 3 times as long as the distance from the anal fin origin to the caudal fin base.
Pharyngeal teeth not comb-like……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Family Leuciscidae
The Latin name, Cyprinus rubrofuscus, refers to rubra meaning red and fuscus meaning dusky or dark, highlighting its golden-brown coloration (https://etyfish.org/cypriniformes10/; accessed 09/26/2021). The golden-brown coloration can vary significantly and Koi can have color combinations of bright gold, orange, silver, white, and black (Kottelat and Freyhof 2007 in Daniel et al. 2021; USF&WS 2020).
Koi were reported from North Carolina in 2020 and 2021 by iNaturalist from photographs taken at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham County (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26883974) and from two ponds in New Hanover County – Hugh McRae Park (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/51348472) and a subdivision pond near Silver Lake (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/47760310). The upper Dan River in Stokes County has long been known to harbor Koi. Most likely these fish escaped from aquaculture facilities within its upper watershed or from homeowner’s Koi ponds. Conceivably, Koi could be found in every river basin in North Carolina. The distributional map found in Tracy et al. (2020) for Common Carp undoubtedly contains records of Koi which had been recorded as Common Carp. Vouchered specimens will need to be reexamined to determine correct identifications.
The NCFishes Team is interested in other sightings or collections of Koi from North Carolina’s waters. Please send all pertinent collection data and photographs to: [email protected].
Daniel, W. M., C.R. Morningstar, and J. Procopio. 2021. Cyprinus rubrofuscus Lacepède, 1803. U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=3294, accessed 09/26/2021).
Fricke, R., W.N. Eschmeyer, and R. Van der Laan. 2021. Eschmeyer’s catalog of fishes: genera, species, references. (http://researcharchive.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/fishcatmain.asp, accessed 09/26/2021).
Smith, H.M. 1907. The fishes of North Carolina. North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey, Raleigh. Volume 2. 453p.
Tracy, B.H., F.C. Rohde, and G.M. Hogue. 2020. An annotated atlas of the freshwater fishes of North Carolina. Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings No. 60. 198p. (Available at: https://trace.tennessee.edu/sfcproceedings/vol1/iss60/1).
United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS). 2020. Koi (Cyprinus rubrofuscus). Ecological Risk Screening Summary. (https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/ans/erss/uncertainrisk/ERSS-Cyprinus-rubrofuscus-FINAL-Jan2020.pdf; accessed 09/26/2021).
Submitted by the NCFishes.com Team
First summer of Haw River angler survey
District 5 fisheries biologists with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission have initiated a survey of anglers utilizing the Haw River upstream of Jordan Lake. In March 2021, anglers began logging fishing trips using the ESRI Survey123 smartphone application. The Haw River has historically been viewed as a dirty, polluted, and overall treacherous river by most paddlers. While the latter is still true, with work completed by Alamance County, the City of Burlington, and the Haw River Trail, the river has improved water quality and developed a small yet devoted user group. Self-reported survey data on sport fish sizes, apparent abundance, and distribution will help the Commission learn more about fisheries in a river that is difficult to sample with typical fish collection methods like boat electrofishing. Thus far, most responses have been from a select few kayak anglers who primarily target black bass downstream of Saxapahaw. The survey is anticipated to conclude in September 2022.
Submitted by Seth Mycko
Good Work! – Recent Publications by NCAFS Members
Bunch, A. J., K. B. Carlson, F. J. Hoogakker, L. V. Plough, and H. K. Evans. 2021. Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus Mitchill) early life stage consumption evidenced by high-throughput DNA sequencing. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 37:12-19.
Porath, M. T., T. J. Kwak, B. C. Neely, and D. E. Shoup. 2021. Catfish 2020, a clear vision of the future. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. https://doi.org/10.1002/nafm.10688.
Runde, B. J., N. M. Bacheler, K. W. Shertzer, P. J. Rudershausen, B. Sauls, and J. A. Buckel. 2021. Discard mortality of Red Snapper released with descender devices in the U.S. South Atlantic. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 13:489-506.
Tracy, B. H., and R. E. Jenkins. 2021. Professor Edward Drinker Cope’s travels through North Carolina, August–December 1869: Insights from the transcripts and annotations of letters to his father and his contributions to North Carolina Ichthyology. Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings No. 61. 65pp.
Tracy, B. H., S. A. Smith, J. L. Bissette, and F. C. Rohde. 2021. Ahead by a whisker: freshwater catfish (family Ictaluridae) diversity in North Carolina. American Currents 46(3):17-25.
White, S. I., D. C. Kazyak, R. C. Harrington, M. A. Kulp, J. M. Rash, T. C. Weathers, and T. J. Near. 2021. Phenotypic variation in Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill) at broad spatial scales makes morphology an insufficient basis for taxonomic reclassification of the species. Ichthyology & Herpetology 109(3):743-752.
Submitted by the NCAFS Newsletter Review Team
Stories of Interest
Lose the seagrass and lose the fisheries
Part 1 of a series on fishing from Carolina Public Press
Commercial fishing in NC adapts to climate change
Part 2 of a series on fishing from Carolina Public Press
Stressors on coastal fishing access
Part 3 of a series on fishing from Carolina Public Press
Toxins and mislabeling threaten NC seafood
Part 4 of a series on fishing from Carolina Public Press
Seeking solutions for NC shoreline and fisheries
Part 5 of a series on fishing from Carolina Public Press
Lawsuit alleging mismanagement of coastal fishing resources
State argues NC Constitution does not create affirmative duty for resource conservation
Delayed harvest trout will proceed despite hatchery losses
David Deaton discusses mitigation plans following flooding damage at state hatchery
Local angler wins Bassmaster Southern Open at Lake Norman
Wins $43,533 with a three-day 40-pound bag
USFWS proposes delisting 23 species from ESA due to extinction
Eight mussels and two fish among the losses
Biologists use trucks to help shad reach spawning ground
Trap and transport brought back to Susquehanna River
Tuna bounce back, but sharks in desperate decline
IUCN revises Redlist; pressures on marine life continue to grow
Submitted by the NCAFS Newsletter Review Team
Call to Action!
If you want to contribute, have a story idea or would like us to include something in next quarter’s newsletter, email Kyle Rachels at [email protected] or give him a call at 252-548-4938.
Also, if you want to become more involved with one of the many great NCAFS committees then please check this link for information about each one, contacts, etc., https://nc.fisheries.org/who-we-are/committees/
The American Fisheries Society Home Page offers a wealth of links to assist you in your fishy endeavors. This and archived NCAFS newsletters, along with links, chapter information, and upcoming meetings, can be found here on our own website.