Science Center Objects

On November 20, 2014, eight teams of fishery biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), U.S. National Park Service (NPS), and Florida International University (FIU) gathered for a one-day sampling event to collect non-native fishes from canals, ponds and ditches in Miami-Dade County, FL.

Typical habitats sampled during the Fish Slam

Typical habitats sampled during the Fish Slam. Biologists are using electroshocking boats to sample fishes in canals and borrow ponds

Non-native species have a long history in Florida. More than 145 non-native freshwater fish species have been recorded from Florida since the 1880s (USGS 2015). These range from species observed only once to species with established permanent populations in several locations across the state (FWC 2015, USGS 2015). South Florida has the greatest diversity of non-native fishes, with 46 species recorded from the Miami-Dade County area (USGS 2015), 17 of which have found their way into Everglades National Park (Kline et al. 2013). The status of non-native freshwater fish populations in the state, like the environments they inhabit, is continually in flux. It is important to know where these fishes are located to be able to study and manage them.

On November 20, 2014, eight teams of fishery biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), U.S. National Park Service (NPS), and Florida International University (FIU) gathered for a one-day sampling event to collect non-native fishes from canals, ponds and ditches in Miami-Dade County, FL. Teams used a combination of equipment and methods to capture fish, including minnow traps, dip nets, cast nets, and electrofishing with backpacks and from boats. The data collected provided a snapshot of the current status of non-native freshwater fish species in this area of south Florida.

Fish Slam teams gathered together to identify and preserve the fishes collected

At the end of the day, the teams gathered together to identify and preserve the fishes collected. Voucher samples were archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville

Specific goals for the event were:

1) To sample some of the numerous waterbodies in Miami-Dade County not normally sampled by biologists to document their non-native fish fauna, and 

2) To sample areas adjacent to sites where newly documented non-native fishes have been collected to determine if populations are established and/or spreading.

No new fishes unknown from south Florida were collected. Several species were found at new locations, the most notable being Nile Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus. This species is considered a reproducing, but not established species by FWC and according to the USGS-NAS database, the southernmost collection was from the Tamiami Canal (C-4) in 2011 (FWC 2015, USGS 2015). However, our team found it farther south in a Miami canal (C-100C).

All native species, along with two non-native species (grass carp and peacock bass), were returned alive. All data were entered into the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database (USGS 2015).

Sixteen species of non-native fishes and 19 species of native fishes were collected during the Fish Slam 2014

Sixteen species of non-native fishes and 19 species of native fishes were collected during the Fish Slam 2014

The participants of the 2014 Fish Slam were: Jesse Blanchard (FIU), Ross Boucek (FIU), Mary Brown (CNTS), Matthew Cannister (USGS), Erin Crandall (NPS), Zachary Fratto (NPS), Pam Fuller (USGS), John Galvez (USFWS), Kelly Gestring (FWC), Denise Gregoire-Lucente (CNTS), Jeff Kline (NPS), Matthew Neilson (CNTS), Darren Pecora (CNTS), Pam Schofield (USGS), Jessica Shulte (CNTS), Murray Stanford (FWC), Vanessa Trujillo (FIU), Raul Urgelles (NPS) and Kevin Whelan (NPS).

Special thanks to Barron Moody, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, for assistance with permits for this sampling event.

REFERENCES

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) (2015) Nonnative Freshwater Fish. Available via http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/freshwater-fish/. Accessed 12 January 2015 

Kline, J.L., W.F. Loftus, K. Kotun, J.C. Trexler, J.S. Rehage, J.L. Lorenz and M. Robinson (2013) Recent fish introductions into Everglades National Park: an unforeseen consequence of water management? Wetlands DOI 10.1007/s13157-012-0362-0 

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (2015) Nonindigenous aquatic species database. Gainesville, Florida. Available via http://nas.er.usgs.gov/. Accessed 12 January 2015