Photos by Chris Scharpf at the 2002 NANFA Convention in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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On Thursday night, Doug Sweet of the Belle Isle Aquarium gave a terrific talk on mussel biology, conservation and captive care. He also brought trays and trays of mussel shells for us to examine. Here we see (back to front) Neal Foster (MI), Ellen Webster (NY) and Nick Zarlinga (OH) looking over the shells.

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Mark Binkley (OH) had just returned from Haiti, where he did some fish collecting. He set up a tank to show off one of the species he collected, mountain mullet (Agonostomus monticola). I took about a dozen of photos of these fish, but this is the best I could do -- they never stopped swimming!

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The biggest surprise for me was when we arrived at the University of Michigan's Exhibit Museum of Natural History. In the lobby there was a fabulous exhibit highlighting Michigan's fishes. One of the exhibits featured a nice write-up on NANFA and a copy of American Currents. I had no idea that NANFA had been included, and certainly did not expect to see my home address on display in a world-famous museum!

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One of the talks at the meeting was about the decline -- and in some cases, extinctions -- of ciscoes and whitefishes in the Great Lakes. Here are three of the extinct ciscoes, as well as the extinct blue pike, on display in the Exhibit Museum rotunda.

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Deep in the bowels of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is its impressive fish collection. I forget how many species it houses (thousands). Some, like this one -- the phantom shiner (Notropis orca), of the Rio Grande in New Mexico -- are extinct.

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I handed Charlie Nunziata (FL) my camera and struck this pose while holding Notropis orca. I am smiling because I am having a good time at the convention, not because Notropis orca is extinct
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Not only did Dr. Gerald Smith give us a tour of the University of Michigan fish collection, he treated us to munchies and beer! Here Linda Zarlinga (OH) and Rob Carillio (OH) enjoy a cold one under the watchful gaze of a shark and remora.

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Kick seining in the Huron River. From left to right: Todd Crail (OH), Ron Humbert (IL), Mark Binkley (OH), Claus Sutor (IL), Bob Hrabik (MO) and Matt Ashton (OH).

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Just some of the fishes we caught in the Huron River. Shown here are longnose gar, northern hog sucker, blackstripe topminnow, largemouth bass, creek chub, blacknose dace, and spotfin shiner. Nineteen other species were caught or seen at this site.

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Meeting co-host Bob Muller waves his aquarium net in triumph during our outing to Patterson Lake.

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Dr. Gerald Smith shows Nick Zarlinga (OH) how to tell the difference between a blacknose shiner and a blackchin shiner, both of which we sampled from Patterson Lake.

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A scene during the banquet on Saturday night. The bearded gentlemen in the center of the picture is Paulo Petry, the Brazilian ichthyologist who entertained and amazed us with his fascinating -- and extremely graphic -- after-dinner talk and slide show on the first documented case of a candiru swimming up a guy's willy.

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Ever pull a 100-foot seine? We did, on Lake Erie. Around 17 species were sampled, most of them exotics: carp, goldfish, alewife, and tons and tons of round goby.

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Our first seine pull through Lake Erie pulled up this carp, shown here with Doug Sweet who, seconds after we put the camera down, gave the carp a big fat kiss on the lips!

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