Summer 2021 Newsletter
Quick Content Links
- President’s Message
- News and Updates from the Mentoring Committee
- Travel News from the NCFishes.com Team
- ECU-AFS Updates
- NC State University Student Fisheries Society Updates
- Mountain Stream Water Quality Baseline
- Good Work! – Recent Publications by NCAFS Members
- Stories of Interest
- Call to Action!
- Valuable Links
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was recently re-introduced in this Congress and would provide $1.4 billion in dedicated annual funding to state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies. The Chapter has sent letters to our representatives in support of this bill. In North Carolina, the bill would direct more than $20 million to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to help conserve and restore over 450 nongame fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need. The current federal State Wildlife Grants program is funded at only a fraction of what is needed to conserve these at-risk species. This bill would provide the funding to implement 75% of every state’s Wildlife Action Plan. I encourage you to reach out to your representatives and let them know the importance of this bill. The Wildlife Society has a great web page that can help you connect with your representatives (https://wildlife.org/policy/recovering-americas-wildlife-act/).
I hope that everyone has a productive and safe summer.
Submitted by Ryan Heise, NCAFS President
News and Updates from the Mentoring Committee
A student-mentor workshop held on February 15 and benefitted from the participation of numerous Chapter Members who served as panelists and moderators. A report documenting the workshop (available here) was submitted to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission Partnership for Inclusion Committee in collaboration with the Relevancy Roadmap Implementation grant. On June 21, I hosted a Google Meet meeting “Meet a NC Wildlife Officer – Sgt. Kyle Young” as a follow-up to the February 15 meeting and to meet our goal of offering a mentoring opportunity for students interested in a conservation career on a quarterly basis. Following our February meeting, I have sent approximately 30 e-mails with job announcements, conferences, resume writing, interview guidelines to 54 conservation career minded students that have been recruited through workshops and networking opportunities. Over the next quarter, we will try to schedule a Mentoring Committee meeting and another mentoring opportunity. Please contact Kevin Dockendorf if you are interested in furthering the Mentoring Committee’s efforts.
Submitted by Kevin Dockendorf, Mentoring Committee Chair
Travel News from the NCFishes.com Team
With the Pandemic winding down one shot at a time and everyone getting “dosed”, this Spring the NCFishes.com Team took advantage of the weather and professional fishery-related relationships to add more digital images of fishes to our website (NCFishes.com) and media library (https://ncfishes.com/freshwater-fishes-of-north-carolina/freshwater-fishes-gallery/). Working with Ben Ricks and TD (Todd VanMiddlesworth; NCWRC), we obtained images of some anadromous fish species (e.g., American Shad, Hickory Shad, Blueback Herring, and Striped Bass) from the muddy and high flowing lower Neuse River. Our generous NC AFS Travel Grant was spent in mid-Spring in western North Carolina obtaining pictures of large river suckers (6 species of Moxostoma, plus White Sucker and Northern Hog Sucker) from the Oconaluftee, Little Tennessee, and Tuckasegee rivers through the boat electrofishing efforts of Ryan Heise and Mike Swing (Duke Energy), Luke Etchison, Dylan Owensby, and Chantelle Rondel (NCWRC), Jason Mays (USFWS), and David Matthews (TVA). While these colleagues were working the larger rivers, we focused our efforts on fishes inhabiting the smaller rivers and creeks in the Broad, Catawba, French Broad, Little Tennessee, and Hiwassee River basins. By the end of the week, we collectively had photographed 41 species, ranging in size from the spectacularly colored Wounded Darter to the impressive and gorgeous “Sicklefin” Redhorse and River Redhorse. Later in the Spring we photographed fishes from the Eno River and one of its tributaries and a tributary of the Haw River.
Since June 2020, we have posted 27 blogs that comprise family narratives and species- and family-level identification keys and which serve as a companion to “An Annotated Atlas of the Freshwater Fishes of North Carolina” by Tracy et al. (2020). [Please note: Tracy et al. (2020) may be downloaded for free at: https://trace.tennessee.edu/sfcproceedings/vol1/iss60/1.] Along with Tracy et al. (2020), our main webpage (NCFishes.com), and our freshwater-focused webpages (https://ncfishes.com/freshwater-fishes-of-north-carolina/, we have provided much needed revisions and updates to the “The Freshwater Fishes of North Carolina” by Menhinick (1991). Spin-offs from two of the blogs were published in American Currents: “Ahead by a Whisker – Freshwater Catfish (Family Ictaluridae) Diversity in North Carolina” by Bryn H. Tracy, Scott A. Smith, Jesse L. Bissette, and Fred (Fritz) C. Rohde (Summer 2021) and “Identifying North Carolina’s Suckers May Not Be As Hard As You Think” by Bryn H. Tracy, Scott A. Smith, and Fred (Fritz) C. Rohde (Winter 2021).
Our ambitious next project, in conjunction with continuing to take better digital images of North Carolina’s fresh and saltwater fish species, is to compile all the blogs into some sort of electronic (e)-book focusing exclusively on the freshwater fish fauna. Steps that we have already taken are: 1) species keys for select families were distributed for external review; 2) species-level identification keys for each family have been converted into individual chapters; 3) a glossary of technical terms used in the keys has been compiled from each of the family blogs; 4) a chapter on identification aids of North Carolina’s freshwater fishes has been created; and 4) an appendix on the meanings of every fish species’ scientific name has been compiled into an appendix. We will be updating the distributional maps in Tracy et al. (2020) to include new records and to correct a few errors that “crept in” and which were not caught the first time around.
Speaking of new distributional records, since the Chapter’s annual meeting in February, it has come to our attention of several new distributional records – for example from the Roanoke River basin, further expansions of the Blue Catfish, Ictalurus furcatus, Flathead Catfish, Pylodictis olivaris, and Freshwater Drum, Aplodinotus grunniens, and the first reported record of Least Brook Lamprey, Lampetra aepyptera. Kevin Dockendorf and Kyle Rachels (pers. comm.) shared with us reports, including photographs, of Atlantic Sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrhynchus, in the Tar River near Grimesland and in the Lumber River at Lumberton. The fish from the Tar River appeared to be an Age 1 fish and according to Fritz Rohde (personal communication), Age 0 and Age 1 fish do not migrate from their natal rivers.
So, conceivably, the lower Tar River may now be supporting a small, reproducing population of Atlantic Sturgeon. The status of the Atlantic Sturgeon in the Lumber River basin, however, is unknown. If you encounter what you may believe to be new distributional records, please send as complete as possible all collection information, including photographs, to Bryn Tracy ([email protected]) or Gabriela Hogue (North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, [email protected] who are keeping an Excel spreadsheet of all new records. These data will be used to update the distributional maps. As always, vouchered specimens are an added bonus.
Lastly, we want to welcome Luke Etchison (NCWRC, Aquatic Nongame Biologist) to the Team (https://ncfishes.com/about-us/). Luke will cover our western Mountain basins with all their colorful and uncommon darters and suckers and North Carolinian wannabee fishes. He promises to find Blue Sucker, Cycleptus elongatus, and Paddlefish, Polyodon spathula, someday in the lower French Broad River. Thanks for helping Luke!
Submitted by Bryn Tracy and the NCFishes.com Team
Hello everyone! Here is an update on activities going on over the last semester with the East Carolina University (ECU) Student Subunit of American Fisheries Society. First, I would like to congratulate all the graduates from the spring and fall of this past year. These include Samantha Dowiarz (former ECU-AFS President), Ryan Hill (former ECU-AFS Vice President), Noah Gwynn (former ECU-AFS treasurer), Esra Gokturk (former ECU-AFS secretary), and Peyton Jackson (former ECU-AFS social media coordinator). Our new 2021-2022 executive board members are:
- President- Reece Warfel
- Vice President- Maddie Johnson
- Secretary- Naomi Jainarine
- Treasurer- Andrew McMains
- Roger Rulifson and Rebecca Asch are continuing as the faculty advisors.
New projects taking place by ECU-AFS members are:
- Maddie Johnson and Andrew McMains: Sheepshead habitat and population research
- Elise Easterling: contribution of mesopelagic fishes to the biological pump
- Reece Warfel: environmental influences on morphometric condition of fish larvae
Naomi Jainarine: changes in phenology and mismatches in the seasonal occurrence of fish larvae and zooplankton
- Justin Mitchell: Southern flounder habitat, otolith microchemistry, and histology
- Chase Spicer: eDNA as a tool for monitoring river herring populations
Along with all our research interests, we also helped contribute to the community during the spring semester by working on a project to create kiosks on the Greenville Greenway that will help the public identify local species of fishes in the Tar River. ECU-AFS members also participated in several river clean-up projects during the spring semester.
Congratulations to new officers and good luck to all AFS members on their cutting-edge research. If you would like to keep up with some of the projects conducted by ECU-AFS members, then follow us @ecu.afs on Instagram! We are also on Facebook, with updates posted to the ECU Student Subunit of the American Fisheries Society Facebook page.
Submitted by Z. Reece Warfel, ECU-AFS student subunit president
NC State University Student Fisheries Society Updates
The North Carolina State University Student Fisheries Society (SFS) had an exciting spring! We transitioned to our new 2021 Executive Committee team with Ambar Torres-Molinari and Matt Damiano taking over as co-presidents; Dr. Tom Kwak remaining as faculty advisor; Annika Preheim as Vice President; Ryan Tharp as Secretary; and introducing Blain Baugus as our first Social Media Coordinator.
The pandemic posed many challenges for our new officers, but they kicked off 2021 with a bang, raising over $1,500 for SFS during our annual auction during the NCAS Virtual Meeting this February. Ambar and Annika hosted another successful Rocky Branch Stream Cleanup in coordination with Service Raleigh, and continued our grand tradition of teaching Shad in the Classroom, albeit virtually this year. We introduced several new activities to our repertoire, including a new series of online skill set tutorials that are available for viewing on our YouTube channel. In our first tutorial, Matt provided instruction on how to build a biomass dynamics population model in both Excel and R, and in our second, Matt and Ryan co-taught fundamentals of programming in R. We will be continuing this series throughout the year on myriad skills that undergraduates, graduate students and career professionals should find useful! SFS also hosted an Ask-a-Grad Student panel for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in fisheries science.
We are looking forward to a relaxing summer including a shark tooth hunt in cooperation with East Carolina University’s student subunit (ECU-AFS), and then onward to a productive fall!
Submitted by Matt Damiano, NCSU Student Fisheries Society co-president
Mountain Stream Water Quality Baseline
In 2020, the NC Chapter of the American Fisheries Society provided funding to the Montreat Landcare Committee to conduct a pilot water quality project on Flat Creek, a tributary of the French Broad River in Buncombe County. The project was the first to quantify water quality in Flat Creek, helped establish a “Stream Team” of citizen science volunteers, contributed to a larger database of the Montreat Cove ecosystem, and increased community awareness of Flat Creek, stream ecology, and fishery science. This work would not have been possible without NCAFS support. A final report documenting the project is available here.
Submitted by Bill Seaman
Good Work! – Recent Publications by NCAFS Members
Bushon, A. M., and J. M. Rash. 2021. Retention of postocular visible implant elastomer in two sizes of adult Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. https://doi.org/10.1002/nafm.10656
Crandall, C., J. Baumann, P. Cooney, A. Croteau, A. Croxton, K. Flaherty-Walia, J. Kerns, R. Kraus, and N. Morales. 2021. How to be an ally to women in fisheries science. Fisheries 46(3):140-144.
Cope, W. R., T. J. Kwak, T. R. Black, K. Pacifici, S. C. Harris, C. M. Miller, M. E. Raley, and E. M. Hallerman. 2021. Genetic structure and diversity of the endemic Carolina Madtom and conservation implications. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. https://doi.org/10.1002/nafm.10589
Doll, J. C., C. J. Wood, D. W. Goodfred, and J. M. Rash. 2021. Incorporating batch mark-recapture data into an integrated population model of Brown Trout Salmo trutta. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. https://doi.org/10.1002/nafm.10650
Evans, H. K., A. J. Bunch, J. D. Schmitt, F. J. Hoogakker, and K. B. Carlson. 2021. High-throughput sequencing outperforms traditional morphological methods in Blue Catfish diet analysis and reveals novel insights into diet ecology. Ecology and Evolution 11:5584-5597.
Grieshaber, C. A., W. G. Cope, T. J. Kwak, T. N. Penland, R. J. Heise, and J. M. Law. 2021. Survival and contaminants in imperiled and common riverine fishes assessed with an in situ bioassay approach. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.5104
Rachels, K. T. 2021. Exploring legacy data sets to infer spatial and temporal trends in the ictalurid assemblage of an Atlantic Slope river. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. https://doi.org/10.1002/nafm.10652
Ricks, B. R. 2021. If you bring fish home, you have to clean them. Wildlife in North Carolina 85:16-21.
Rudershausen, P. J., S. M. Lombardo, and J. A. Buckel. 2021. Linking historical changes in salt-marsh coverage to lost production of a nektonic bioindicator. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 13:131-139.
Submitted by the NCAFS Newsletter Review Team
Stories of Interest
Native catfish, salamander receive protections as endangered species
Carolina Madtom elevated to Federal Endangered
New home for Dwarf Wedgemussel
Greg Cope and Art Bogan discuss plans for mussels impacted by I-540
Don’t eat the fish
Appalachian State researchers report elevated metals in Broad River fish
Fish farms: aquaculture industry in North Carolina
WRAL documentary explores NC aquaculture
Changes to NC flounder season
Two week harvest season for recreational anglers
Proposed entangling net ban for NC fisheries
Commercial fishing advocates discuss proposal
Red tide has left hundreds of tons of dead fish in Tampa Bay
Summer blooms not typical, cause unknown
Western drought impacts fish populations
Trout fisheries impacted by warming waters
Amid the pandemic, Senegal women find hope in fishing
An intimate look at challenges facing women in the fishing industry in Senegal
Faroe Bank Cod severely depleted
Brexit: How has leaving the EU impacted Scotland’s fishing industry?
Seafood exports subject to costly delays
What Netflix’s Seaspiracy gets wrong about fishing
You should watch the very popular documentary, and then fact check it extensively
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]life.org 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.