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Fifty fish biologists from 15 organizations participated in a three-day Fish Chat and Slam event in South Florida on November 5-7, 2019.
Fifty fish biologists from 15 organizations participated in a three-day Fish Chat and Slam event in South Florida on November 5-7, 2019. The one-day Fish Chat, held in Miami, Florida, at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, provides an opportunity for participants from different agencies and institutions to engage in a discussion/dialogue about ongoing and future projects. Topics presented included catchability, biotic resistance, early detection and rapid response efforts, dietary niches, and updates on the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database tools. The two-day Fish Slam event took place in nearby Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties where 32 freshwater sites were sampled for non-native fishes. Sampling gear included electrofishing boats, backpack electrofisher, minnow traps, cast nets, seines, dipnets, and hook and line. Twenty-five species of non-native fishes were collected or observed. This is the eleventh Fish Slam event since the program began in 2013. For general information on Fish Slam events, please see the webpage for the Florida Non-native Fish Action Alliance.
Significant collections include a juvenile clown knifefish, Chitala ornata, collected in Miami-Dade County, a new county record. This collection suggests the species has successfully reproduced and has expanded its range south from known populations. Redhead cichlid, Vieja melanura, were also collected south and west of known established populations during the slam event.
To follow up on our previous eradication of the bay snook, Petenia splendida, from Pinecrest Gardens in south Miami, we surveyed the location and confirmed there were no specimens in the gardens two years post-eradication.
Fish Slam events link research institutions such as museums and universities with federal, state, and local government agencies that possess expertise and field equipment to collect non-native fishes, providing unique access to specimens for these institutions. This slam, representatives from the Florida Museum, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science participated. Non-native fishes were tissue-sampled for DNA collections, and then preserved for future research. Some specimens were frozen and later processed for skeletal collections.
Data from these collections are available in publicly-accessible databases, such as (https://www.vims.edu/research/facilities/fishcollection/ and http://specifyportal.flmnh.ufl.edu/fishes/).
Native species, along with two non-native species (grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella and butterfly peacock bass, Cichla ocellaris), were returned to the wild alive per the requirements of our scientific collectors’ permit. All field observations of non-native species were entered into the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database.
Participants of the November 2019 Fish Slam
The participants of the November 2019 Fish Chat and Slam were: Lad Akins (Frost Museum), Mark Barton (FIU), Josh Bauer (USACE), Kate Bemis (VIMS), Ken Blick (USFWS), Chelsea Bohaty (USACE), Tony Brady (USFWS), Mary Brown (USGS), Jorge Buening (USFWS), Shawn Clem (Audubon), Andy Dehart (Frost Museum), Cedric Doolittle (USFWS), Allison Durland Donahue (UF), Deb Epperson (USGS), Jessica Fair (USACE), Peter Flood (FIU), Jonathan Freedman (CNT), John Galvez (USFWS), Kelly Gestring (FWC), Sam Goss (Audubon), Lee Grove (FWC), Scott Heidler (Frost Museum), Jeff Hill (UF), Eric Hilton (VIMS), Howard Jelks (USGS), Brenna Kays (FIU), Jeff Kline (NPS), Jon Lane (USACE), Bill Loftus (CNT), Ian Markovich (USACE), Lee Martin (Audubon), Cayla Morningstar (CNT), Jon Moore (FAU), Ian Pfingsten (USGS), Justin Procopio (CNT), Zach Ransom (Frost Museum), Jacob Rasner (Frost Museum), Kristen Reaver (USGS), Rob Robins (FM), Guido Herrera Rodriguez (FIU), Sorilis Ruiz-Escobar (FM), Kahlil Russell (VIMS), Pam Schofield (USGS), Randy Singer (UMMZ), Gabe Somarriba (FM), Kyle Thayer (UF), Joel Trexler (FIU), Nick Trippel (FWC), Quenton Tuckett (UF), and Vanessa Trujillo (Deering Estate).
Institutional acronyms: CNT – Cherokee Nation Technologies; FAU- Florida Atlantic University; FIU – Florida International University; FM – Florida Museum; FWC – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; NPS – National Park Service; UF – University of Florida; UMMZ – University of Michigan Museum of Zoology; USACE – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; USFWS – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; USGS – U.S. Geological Survey; VIMS - Virginia Institute of Marine Science
We are grateful to our professional colleagues who volunteered their time and efforts to make Fish Slam successful. Special thanks to Kelly Gestring (FWC) who served as field coordinator, Barron Moody (FWC) for assistance with permits, and the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science for hosting Fish Chat.
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