Larval Fishes

During his time as curator of our collection, Dr. Doug F. Markle collected extensive series of freshwater ichthyoplankton throughout Oregon. The collection represents the world's largest assemblage of freshwater ichthyoplankton from Oregon. That series includes the specimens used to describe the morphology and development of the larvae of the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri), a formerly endangered species endemic to the Willamette Valley. A large portion of the collection originated from a multi-year collection event of the Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon to understand early life history traits of the endangered Shortnose and Lost River suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris and Deltistes luxatus).

One of our current curators, Peter Konstantinidis, has integrated ichthyoplankton systematics, taxonomy and identification into his research and is one of the world's few experienced ichthyoplankton taxonomists below the typical age of retirement. With the support of undergraduate volunteers, he has recently completed the transfer of Dr. S. L. Richardson’s ichthyoplankton holdings from formalin to 70% ethanol, and located the metadata and cruise reports that were assumed to be lost. Further, he also established contact with Prof. Su Sponaugle (Oregon State University, Dept. of Integrative Biology) and Prof. Robert Cowen, director of Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) (Plankton Ecology Lab), and transferred the immense ichthyoplankton material from HMSC to OSUIC for accessioning in the collection.

In addition to their extensive use in research, our ichthyoplankton collections support the only annual ichthyoplankton identification course for students and professionals (FW 529) worldwide, and a comprehensive online course in ichthyoplankton evolution and systematics (FW 528).

Photo from Bruce Mundy

Sally Richardson

Among the fishes that Oregon State University Ichthyology Collection absorbed from the School of Oceanography was a large ichthyoplankton collection that formed the basis for many important studies of fisheries management, larval ecology and taxonomy. These early holdings are linked to Sally L. Richardson (pictured left), one of the first women in the field of larval fish research. At her time at Oregon State University (1971 – 79). Richardson rose from a Research Associate to Associate Professor-Senior Research (Collette, 1986), and became the most recognized woman in the field of ichthyoplankton research. Her contributions encompass taxonomic, ecological and fisheries-related themes. After her time at OSU, Dr. Richardson moved to the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory at Ocean Springs, Mississippi. She later assisted the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) to identify countless fish larvae that are now an integral part of the MCZ collection. Sadly, Sally succumbed to a heart attack on her way to the 10th Annual Larval Fish Conference in Miami, Florida in 1986. To honor her substantial contribution to the ichthyoplankton field, the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society established the Sally L. Richardson Award for the best student paper presented at their annual meetings.