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Etheostoma exile: Current Distribution and Breeding Protocol

Etheostoma exile is currently endangered in Pennsylvania. To confirm or correct the status of E. exile, a survey of known localities (Presque Isle Bay, Misery Bay, Lake Pleasant, etc.) will be done starting in fall 2   . Densities will be determined by transects every 1   meters at different depth intervals ( .5m, 1. m, 1.5m, etc.). We will repeat these surveys in spring 2  1 at known spawning sites. Spawning activity in the wild will be videotaped. During summer 2  1, examination of historical sites using snorkel or SCUBA will be done to look for any relict populations. In fall 2   , we will collect a total of 5  specimens from all the different sites. Habitat, substrate, depth, flow, pH, dissolved oxygen, etc. will be taken in order to mimic their natural habitat in the lab. These parameters will be rechecked in the spring and adjusted accordingly. Tools will be purchased along with acrylic material to build four custom aquariums in a recirculating system. We will try to duplicate the natural environment as closely as possible. A chiller and custom filter will aid in the replication of the natural environment. During this time period the fish will be acclimatized to captivity and introduced to frozen and prepared foods. The fish will be cooled from late 2    until spring 2  1 to simulate natural winter conditions. The photoperiod and temperature will be increased slowly in accordance with natural conditions. Spawning should take place in the spring to summer 2  1. Breeding behavior in captivity will be recorded on video. In late summer 2  1 to spring 2  2 the fry will be raised and over wintered. If funding continues for the second year of the project, we will breed the fry (F1 generation) in spring 2  2 to ensure fertility. From the data gathered in this study, a recovery plan could be implemented for the Iowa darter. The first important step in that program is the breeding of the darter in captivity, and the ensuring fertility of the offspring.

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Surveillance and Monitoring

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