MANTA Noon Seminars

A person giving a lecture in a room of people. The Seminar sessions include a variety of topics, including conservation ecology from local to worldwide scales. Attend one of these presentations and enjoy a trip to the ends of the world, an education on the local stream conditions, or get a preview of the newest installation at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Below is the agenda for upcoming sessions and short summaries of each.

All Seminars take place at:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
C-1 Conference Room (unless noted otherwise)
Tawes Office Building
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland

2018 Seminars

January 18, 2018

A Comprehensive Approach to Understand Wild Fish Health

Heather Walsh
USGS Leetown Science Center

Fish are often used as biomarkers of environmental changes and respond in multiple ways. Research based on wild fish surveys and monitoring work provides useful information that is applicable to real world issues, and provides region-specific normality and health anomalies.

For example, in the Chesapeake Bay drainage, smallmouth bass have experienced disease and mortality, yet the cause remains unknown. Long-term monitoring studies have identified factors which may contribute to disease such as contaminants, immunosuppression, pathogens and water quality.

In an effort to better understand disease in wild fish, multiple techniques such as in situ hybridization, gene expression analyses and laser capture microdissection can be used. Development of these techniques can also be applied in other fish health studies and provide a comprehensive approach to exploring causes of disease.

February 15, 2018

Floodplain Restoration

Jim Morris, P.E.
Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson

In this presentation, the methodology of floodplain restoration will be presented in its historic and geologic consequences, benefits and challenges in the contemporary landscape. Basic total maximum daily load (TMDL) computations will be presented for a project in Washington, DC comparing the various protocols including the floodplain restoration-specific TMDL crediting calculations (Protocol 3) for floodplain restoration projects, and how this approach can apply to the TMDL goals for the Chesapeake Bay.

March 15, 2018

Improving Understanding of Maryland River Chub Populations: Synopsis of a Five Year Study of Nesting Ecology

Stanley Kemp, Ph.D
University of Baltimore

River chub are an interesting and important component of Maryland’s warmwater fish community. Through construction of nesting habitat which other gravel nesting species share, they are considered to be a keystone species. River chub populations and their nest associates are vulnerable to watershed disturbance, and are missing from many urbanized streams in Maryland. A key ingredient in the construction of effective restoration and protection strategies is accurate knowledge of species’ habitat needs and stressors. For river chub, like many freshwater species, there is much information relevant to their conservation that needs to be documented.

This talk will focus on Maryland’s populations of river chub, their importance, and their nesting ecology. A synopsis of research conducted on the nesting ecology of three local river chub populations will be presented, in conjunction with potential application to stream and watershed restoration science. This will include data on nesting sites and characteristics, nest associates, and the vulnerability of river chub nests to high flows. Underwater videos of river chub nesting activities from our study populations will be presented.

April 19, 2018 TBD

May 17, 2018 TBD

2017 Seminars

October 12, 2017

Development and Application of Sequencing and Molecular Technologies to Evaluate Wild Fish Health and Augment Fisheries Management

Luke R. Iwanowicz, Ph.D
Research Biologist
Leetown Science Center

For the last few decades, investigators at the National Fish Health Research Laboratory, Leetown Science Center have investigated health issues of native and naturalized fishes in the mid/eastern United States.

Traditionally, this research has included classical necropsy-based endpoints and culture-based microbiological methods. While these methods are still implemented, advances in sequencing technologies have enhanced development opportunities and increased the portfolio of relevant analyses in non-model fish species.

Here we present the application of these methods and give examples of how they have been used to identify and discover host biomarker genes and novel viruses. In addition, we will present the concepts, sample collection workflow and analysis of environmental surface water samples for eDNA research relevant to ongoing research regarding the federally endangered dwarf wedgemussel (Alasmidonta heterodon).

November 9, 2017

Early Life History of Freshwater Fishes in the Sucker Family: A Case Study of Sympatry in Southern Appalachia

Tomas J. Ivasauskas, Ph.D.
Natural Resources Biologist
Resource Assessment Service
Department of Natural Resources

Suckers (Catostomidae) are a fish family that is of high conservation concern but has received relatively little attention from the scientific community. Because fish mortality is usually highest during early life stages (i.e., larval and juvenile), it is important to develop an understanding of factors affecting fish during this critical period. The upper Hiwassee River system in North Carolina supports seven sympatric species of native suckers, including six species of redhorses (Moxostoma). This includes the Sicklefin Redhorse (Moxostoma sp.), an imperiled species with a restricted distribution. Efficiency of three techniques for sampling larval fish (drift netting, light trapping, and visual surveys) was evaluated. Phenology, ontogeny, and growth were estimated and compared among sucker species using genetic barcoding for species identification and by implementing a novel index of larval fish development. Swimming ability was studied via laboratory experiments, where water velocity was precisely controlled and swimming behavior of larval and juvenile suckers was observed. The predation effect of a non-native species, Blueback Herring (Alosa aestivalis), was also examined; Blueback Herring stomach contents were examined visually and via genetic barcoding coupled with next-generation sequencing. The methods employed in this study addressed sampling considerations for larval and juvenile fishes and demonstrated the effectiveness of genetics-based techniques for identifying cryptic samples. These findings are currently being used to guide the conservation of Sicklefin Redhorse and other suckers in North Carolina. They are relevant to biologists in Maryland because seven species of suckers are native to the state. Furthermore, the methodologies can be widely applied to other fish taxa, in order to obtain a better understanding of early life stages and to better inform management and conservation.