NANFA-- North Bama collecting

Bruce Stallsmith (
Sat, 27 Jan 2001 18:22:06 -0500

I took advantage of today being a stupendously beautiful day (sunny, gentle
breeze, 50 F) and went to two local streams in the Huntsville, AL, area. I
went to Aldridge Creek in S.E. Huntsville, a badly vandalized stream
(channelized, that is) that empties into the Tennessee. I wanted to make
sure how easy it is to collect stonerollers, _Campostoma oligolepis_. I'm
helping to design a population genetics lab unit at the University of
Alabama in Huntsville which will use stonerollers as the populations. We
hope to be able to find some difference in mitochondrial DNA between fish in
a stream near our building on campus, and those in Aldridge Creek which is
about 12 km away, on the other side of a ridge system that defines the edge
of the Cumberland Plateau. Lucky for me, I found kazillions of stonerollers
in an accessible stretch of stream, and as a surprise bonus found what I
think are emerald shiners, _Notropis atherinoides_ (you'd think they'd be

I also visited West Limestone Creek in Limestone County to the west of
Huntsville, near the hamlet of Greenbrier. We've had a lot of rain, and the
creek was running high and fast. A parallel roadside ditch is currently a
slower, shallower channel and has lots of fish in it. I caught a Tuscumbia
darter in this ditch a while back and was hopeful, the closest I found to
that was two black darters, _Etheostoma duryi_ in fairly high color. I also
kept 3 orange-spotted sunfish, _Lepomis humilis_, and 5 _Fundulus
olivaceus_, the blackspotted topminnow. (I know that Martin is thinking they
must be F. notatus; honest to poop, these guys are truly black-spotted on
their dorsal surfaces.) This system should also contain Alabama Pygmy
Sunfish, which I have yet to snag there. I hope to be able to bring someone
else to help me pull a seine net later this spring; today I worked with a
heavy duty dipnet.

My big innovation on this trip was to take measurements of total dissolved
solids (TDS) with a meter I have; Aldridge Creek had a whopping 258 ppm of
TDS, and West Limestone Creek was surprisingly dilute at 58 ppm; temps of 10
C and 9 C, respectively.

I needed a day sloppin' around in the mud and got that; and I took some good
pictures too, I hope.

--Brue Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL

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