Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Fluvial Fishes Lab Accomplishments 2017

Oprah Winfrey said the “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”   At this year's end I chronicle the many transitions, accomplishments, and beginnings in the Fluvial Fishes Laboratory at Virginia Tech.  This past summer, technicians Skylar Wolf and Hae Kim, graduated and began graduate programs at Oklahoma State University and West Virginia University, respectively.  In March, Jason Emmel accepted a position as Fisheries Biologist with Solitude Lake Management, LLC.  
Farewell for Jason Emmel (top, left) with (from left to right) Zach Martin, Joe Schmitt, Hae Kim, Skylar Wolf, Corbin Hilling Katie McBain, Jess Jones, and Don Orth. 

Joe Schmitt is now a USGS pathways intern in addition to Virginia Sea Grant Fellow; he passed his preliminary exams this summer, scheduled a spring defense, and assists with field research on Lake Erie.  Corbin Hilling won the Department award for outstanding GTA, and Hae Kim won the Skinner Award from the American Fisheries Society.  I continue to expect and see great work from the many students and associates that work in the lab.  Other awards received are indicated in photos below.

Annual College Awards Banquet.  Skylar Wolf, Corbin Hilling (Outstanding GTA), Joel Snodgrass (Dept. Head), and Hae Kim.
Eric Hallerman presents check for Robert Ross Graduate Scholarship to Jason Emmel.
Eric Hallerman presents Robert E. Jenkins Undergraduate Scholarship to Skylar Wolf.
Eric Hallerman presents check for Robert Ross Graduate Scholarship to Corbin Hilling.
Skinner Memorial Travel Award Winners in Tampa, Florida.  Hae Kim and former Hokies Dan Weaver and Michael Moore.
The lab members made numerous presentations for the Virginia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, New River Symposium, World Recreational Fishing Conference, Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the Invasive Catfish Symposium.  Many other talks were given wherever and whenever someone asked about fishes, such as the Master Naturalists and James River Rats.
In July, I attended the World Recreational Fishing Conference.  Click here or tweets about the conference   See photo of poster at this link.

World Recreational Fishing Conference poster session.  Background

Teaching Ichthyology continues to be the most fun activity and all lab members participate.  Every year the number of members grow in Ichthyology on Flickr and Virginia Tech Ichthyology public group on Facebook.  Students develop their voice and develop a Becoming an Ichthyologist digital story.  View one of these.  This year some favorite principles of teaching were shared on The Fisheries Blog -- see the Nine principles for instructors to help students learn.

Joe Schmitt, Jason Emmel, and Zach Moran with 40 kg Blue Catfish. 
Papers and Reports

Carey, C., D. Orth and V. Emrick. 2017. Biological surveys for the Fries Hydroelectric Dam Project in the upper New River, Virginia. Final Report to TRC Solutions, Reston, Virginia. Conservation Management Institute, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, College of Natural Resources and Environment, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg. VTCMI-Technical Report-03-2017.  

Dickinson, B.D., S.L. McMullin, D.J. Orth, and J.R. Copeland.  In press. Trotline catch rates vary by hook and bait type in the New River, Virginia. Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.     

Hatcher, H.R.M.J. Moore, and D.J. Orth. 2017.  Spawning observations of Clinch Dace in a mountain stream.  The American Midland Naturalist 177:318-326. 

Hilling, C.D., S.L.Wolfe, J.R. Copeland, D.J. Orth, E. M. Hallerman. In press.  Occurrence of two non-indigenous catostomid fishes in the New River, Virginia. Northeastern Naturalist

Hilling, C.D., A.J. Bunch, R.S. Greenlee, D.J. Orth and Y. Jiao. In press. Natural mortality and size structure of introduced Blue Catfish in Virginia tidal rivers. Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Martin, Z.P., S. Ciparis, P.L. Angermeier, and D.J. Orth. 2017.  Impact of mining effluent on fish populations.  Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, Blacksburg, Virginia.  87 pp. 

Moore, M.J., E.M. Hallerman, and D.J. Orth. 2017. Densities and population sizes of Clinch Dace Chrosomus sp. cf. saylori in the upper Clinch River Basin in Virginia. Copeia 105(1):92-99.   doi:

Moore, M.J., D.J. Orth, and E.A. Frimpong. 2017. Occupancy and detection of Clinch Dace using two gear types.   Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management  8(2):530-543.  Link to press release 

Orth, D.J., Y. Jiao, J.D. Schmitt, C.D. Hilling, J.A. Emmel, and M.C. Fabrizio. 2017.  Dynamics and role of non-native Blue Catfish Ictalurus furcatus in Virginia's tidal rivers.   Final Report, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Henrico, Virginia.  129 pp.

Orth, D.J. 2017. How I got where I am.  American Currents 40(4):21-24.  To subscribe. 

Orth, D.J. 2017.  Beautifully Grotesque Fish of the American West.  Book Review   Pacific Northwest Quarterly 108:36-37

Schmitt, J.D., E.M. Hallerman, A. Bunch, Z. Moran, J.A. Emmel, and D.J. Orth. 2017. Predation and prey selectivity by non native catfish in an Atlantic slope estuaryMarine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 9(1):108-125.  Doi: 10.1080/19425120.2016.1271844 
Caitlin Carey, Research Associate, with Muskellunge captured on the New River.
New video media were created for a variety of purposes
Undergraduate students Hunter Hatcher, left, and Allison Mosley, second from right, help Michael Moore, second from left, and Donald Orth count and identify fish collected from a southwest Virginia stream before safely returning them to the  stream. Photo by Valerie F. Orth.   see press release. 
Rebecca Bourquin, MS student, studies the population genetic differentiation of the Clinch Dace in relation to barriers. 
Chanz Hopkins, field and lab assistant with the Fluvial Fishes Lab, worked on the biological surveys for the Fries Hydroelectric Dam Project in the upper New River, Virginia.  
Chanz Hopkins with a recent darter capture.
New projects for 2017

E.M. HallermanM.H. Schwarz, and D.J. Orth.  Commercial production of selected native freshwater ornamental species.  Award from NIFA, Southern Regional Aquaculture Center.    Project will develop captive production protocols for Rainbow Darter Etheostoma caeruleum and Mountain Redbelly Dace Chrosomus oreas.  Sara Sweeten and Caitlin Carey will lead this effort.

Integrative Science and Solutions for Freshwater Systems: Concept Paper - A plan to build a signature-strength in Freshwater Systems.  Virginia Tech Global Systems Science Destination Area. This is a multi-investigator effort to enhance an interdisciplinary program whereby a holistic perspective of freshwater systems can permeate into VT-shaped students and bridge the gaps among water-relevant biophysical, social sciences, and the arts.

P. Bugas, M. Pinder, V. Kells, D. Wheaton, C. Hilling, and D. Orth. A Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of VirginiaJohns Hopkins University Press.   Field guide will fulfill a longstanding need in nature education. Central and Southern Appalachians are unrivaled in the U.S. for aquatic species diversity, which makes this regional field guide extremely important.  The book will teach the beginner how to identify the families and reliably identify the most common species with field characteristics.

Post-doctoral research associate, Sara Sweeten, displays a Jefferson salamander she raised in captivity. 

In addition to student essays (example),  we frequently post fish-related articles on Chesapeake Catfish, Virginia Tech Ichthyology, and elsewhere.

Catfish Now!
Lab challenge: Guess who is older!  the catfish or the boy?

Virginia Tech Ichthyology
Cheers to 2018!  If interested,  join Virginia Tech Ichthyology on Facebook and follow Fluvial Fishes Lab on Twitter @donaldorth

I don't always think it was a good year.  But 2017 was awesome. Cheers to the new year.