EEB events: Thursday seminar: Development and implementation of freshwater species recovery in Alabama: Dr. Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson, Program Supervisor, Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Sponsored by the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Frederick M. Gaige Fund
In 2005 the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) created the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center (AABC) to address conservation needs of Alabama’s rarest riverine species. Initial efforts focused on a $3 million dollar refit of the former USGS Claude Harris National Aquaculture Research Center and construction of new facilities to launch the recovery program. Regional recovery planning documents were completed simultaneously to coordinate efforts of multiple federal, state, and private conservation groups.
Alabama rivers host some 95 federally listed or candidate species, including the richest mollusk and crayfish species assemblages in the world. However, many once wide-ranging species are now restricted to single or very few occurrences. The primary goal of the AABC is to establish new populations of critically rare species. This is achieved through captive propagation and reintroduction/repatriation of conservation targets into unoccupied watersheds within their historical ranges. Reintroduction efforts are currently underway with 15 mollusk species, with numbers exceeding 52,000 individuals since 2010. All initial reintroductions are persisting, but additional stockings are anticipated to successfully establish self-reproducing populations.
Additionally, because the most basic biological requirements of these species are often unknown, the AABC supports primary research efforts (e.g., systematics, environmental physiology, life history, toxicology) by partnering with universities and other government research laboratories. Cooperative efforts also extend towards habitat recovery in selected Alabama watersheds. Specifically the Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) work cooperatively with the ADCNR to provide habitat and water quality data (GSA) and administrative support (USFWS). The Alabama Clean Water Partnership (ACWP) links water quality, habitat information to promote on-the-ground watershed protection in critical watersheds.
Alabama’s aquatic fauna has suffered greatly from modern habitat perturbations, to an extent observed in few other places. However, with continued diligence and progress toward our goals, we have hopefully witnessed the last extinction for the foreseeable future and recovery is a real possibility for some species that are now critically endangered.
Host: Professor Diarmaid ÓFoighil
Coffee and cookies will be served at 4 p.m.
Caption: Alabama Lamp mussel (Lampsilis virescens) reintroduction into Bear Creek, Colbert County, Ala.
Location: 1200 Chemistry