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Tiny fish can yield big clues to Delaware River health
Date:11/13/2007

Weve found bridle shiner in ponds formed by beaver activity, said Horwitz. Beaver were once extirpated or nearly extirpated in the region. Beaver have become re-established and numbers have been increasing, which may provide new habitats for the bridle shiner.

The results of the Academys studies, which will continue into 2008, will factor into the Delaware River Basin Commissions flow management plans for the river. Bridle shiner prefer slow-moving, shallow waters that flow over beds of aquatic plants. The Upper Delaware River region provides drinking water, supports a number of native fish species, and is popular for sport fishing and other recreational activities. Flow management can affect all these resources; in addition, flooding is a concern in some riverside communities.

Our goal is to develop management plans to protect the fish and its habitat, said Horwitz. Water flow and temperature in the Upper Delaware Rivers backwater habitats are key to doing this.

The historical status of bridle shiner in Pennsylvania is known mostly from early 20thcentury collections held at the Academy. The species was originally described by naturalist Edward Drinker Cope, who discovered the fish in a tributary of the Schuylkill River in Conshohocken, Pa., where it no longer occurs. Copes personal collection of fishes, reptiles and amphibians was bequeathed to the Academy in 1898.


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Contact: Carolyn Belardo
belardo@ansp.org
215-299-1043
The Academy of Natural Sciences  
Source:Eurekalert

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