Effects of macroinvertebrate availability, diet, and habitat on reintroduction success of slimy sculpin in Southeast minnesota
Rebecca J. Bronk, Conservation Biology Graduate Program, University of Minnesota, 200 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave, St Paul, MN 55108 and Bruce Vondracek, USGS, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 200 Hodson Hall, 1980 Folwell Ave, St Paul, MN 55108.
Slimy sculpin are benthic fish that were historically widespread across southeast Minnesota. Their habitat has been disturbed by sedimentation of the streambed by agricultural practices and local populations were extirpated from many streams. In 2001, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources began a reintroduction program to protect the species and restore the biotic community of coldwater trout streams. Success of sculpin reintroduction has varied. We are investigating the effects of prey availability, diet, and habitat on sculpin abundance and biomass across 10 streams in Minnesota's reintroduction program. We are interested in determining which factors contribute to the establishment of sculpin populations, so that we may better understand this species and increase the success of reintroduction efforts.