FISH DIVERSITY NEAR DAM SITES IN GABON
In 2017 and 2018, we teamed up with The Nature Conservancy in Africa and Gabon’s Institut de Recherches Agronomiques et Forestières (IRAF) to survey the fish diversity around several proposed dam sites in that central African country. The expeditions yielded more than 10,000 preserved specimens and 2,000 DNA samples which are now accessioned in our collection. These samples have already resulted in the description of a new minnow species, a paper investigating potential impacts of dam development on the overall freshwater fish diversity of Gabon, and a paper exploring how dams might limit access to freshwater habitats for marine species that also inhabit Gabon’s rivers. Results from a DNA barcoding study, regional assessments and additional taxonomic studies will follow.
FRESHWATER SCULPINS OF OREGON
Many of our recent local expeditions target freshwater sculpins of the genus Cottus. More than a dozen nominal species of these small, benthic fishes occur throughout Oregon and adjacent regions of the Pacific Northwest, where they form important components of the freshwater ecosystem and cohabitate with numerous salmonid species. Despite decades of study in the mid-twentieth century by our former curator Carl Bond, many sculpin species lack clear diagnoses, and their true geographic, genetic and anatomical boundaries remain uncertain. New collections from across Oregon are allowing us to connect DNA samples and fresh specimens to the historical record archived in our collection, and thereby investigate the biodiversity, taxonomy and biogeography of these enigmatic animals with unprecedented detail.