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ESR 34:349-355 (2017)  -  DOI:

Experimental analysis of reintroduction strategies to conserve the vulnerable plains topminnow Fundulus sciadicus in Nebraska

David A. Schumann1,5, W. Wyatt Hoback1,6, Keith D. Koupal2,*, Casey W. Schoenebeck1,7, Steven C. Schainost3, Tammy L. Wilson4

1Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2401 11th Avenue, Kearney, Nebraska 68849, USA
2Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Kearney Field Office, 1617 1st Avenue, Kearney, Nebraska 68847, USA
3Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Alliance Field Offices, 299 Husker Road, Alliance, Nebraska 69301, USA
4Department of Natural Resource Management, South Dakota State University, Box 2140B, 1390 College Avenue, Brookings, South Dakota 57006, USA
5Present address: Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture, Mississippi State University, Box 9690, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762, USA
6Present address: Entomology and Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, 127 Noble Research Center, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-3033, USA
7Present address: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 23070 N Lakeshore Drive, Glenwood, Minnesota 56334, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Plains topminnow Fundulus sciadicus are endemic to the Great Plains (USA), and because of declines in their geographic range and local abundance, are granted protection throughout their native range. Experimental reintroductions were conducted to improve conservation techniques and enhance the long-term outlook for plains topminnow persistence in Nebraska. Reintroductions were attempted at 17 extirpated stream reaches using low and high founder densities (no. of fish per suitable area) and during 2 seasons (spring and fall) to identify successful techniques for future conservation efforts. Reintroduced populations were sampled monthly (excluding winter) for 2 yr to monitor population persistence. Repeated presence-absence data was used to estimate persistence probabilities (1 - extinction probability), which we used to compare reintroduction strategy treatments. Plains topminnow were recaptured at 76% of reintroduction locations (1456 total individuals) and reproduction was observed at 35% of those sites. Catch rates at reintroduction sites varied substantially (range: 0 to 30.78 ind. per 100 m). The influence of season and founder density were minimal. Population persistence was more likely at sites stocked in fall at higher densities; however, wide confidence intervals suggest that individual site characteristics may more strongly influence population persistence. Similar population outcomes regardless of reintroduction strategy provide managers flexibility when making conservation decisions.

KEY WORDS: Reintroduction · Plains topminnow · Strategy · Season · Founder density

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Cite this article as: Schumann DA, Hoback WW, Koupal KD, Schoenebeck CW, Schainost SC, Wilson TL (2017) Experimental analysis of reintroduction strategies to conserve the vulnerable plains topminnow Fundulus sciadicus in Nebraska. Endang Species Res 34:349-355.

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