|A WEB SITE FOR NORTH AMERICAN CAVE FISHES
A proposal to the North American Native Fish Association
Aldemaro Romero1 & Ginny Adams2
1 Department of Biological Sciences
Arkansas State University
P.O. Box 599
State University, AR 72467
2 Environmental Science Program Coordinator
Department of Biology
University of Central Arkansas
Conway, AR 72035
This project is aimed at providing information to the general public about North American cave fishes in a dynamic, interacting way. Thus what we propose is to develop an informational web site while providing resources for better understanding the conservation status of these fishes.
Because of their habitat, cave fishes are among the most endangered and misunderstood species of fishes in North America. The public knows very little about their biology and the threats they are facing from overcollecting and water pollution.
Of the approximately 100 blind cave fish species/populations that have been reported in the literature (Romero and Paulson, 2001), 19 are found in North America, 7 in the United States and 12 in Mexico (Table 1). They represent a variety of families and almost all of them have a recognized conservation status at the state, national, or international level (Proudlove 2001). The most extreme of those cases in the Alabama cavefish (Speoplatyrhinus poulsoni) whose current population is believed to be less than 100 individuals making it one of the most endangered vertebrates in the world (Kuhajda and Mayden 2001).
In addition to the information for the general public written in a language that is accessible to all, the site will also contain additional resources for those who would like to learn more about this topic.
Table 1. Blind cave fish species/populations in North America (U.S. and Mexico)
1. Astyanax fasciatus species complex (Cuvier, 1819)
2. Prietella lundbergi Walsh & Gilbert, 1995
3. Prietella phreatophila Carranza, 1954
4. Rhamdia guatemalensis decolor Hubbs (1936)
5. Rhamdia guatemalensis stygaea Hubbs (1938)
6. Satan eurystomus Hubbs & Bailey, 1947
7. Trogloglanis pattersoni Eigenmann, 1919
8. Rhamdia macuspanensis Weber & Wilkens, 1998
9. Rhamdia reddelli Miller, 1984
10. Rhamdia zongolicensis Wilkens, 1993
11. Amblyopsis rosae (Eigenmann, 1897)
12. Amblyopsis spelaea DeKay, 1842
13. Forbesichthys agassizi Putnam, 1872
14. Speoplatyrhinus poulsoni Cooper & Kuehne, 1974
15. Typhlichthys subterraneus Girard, 1859
16. Ogilbia pearsei (Hubbs, 1938)
17. Poecilia mexicana Steindachner, 1863
18. Ophisternon infernale (Hubbs, 1938)
19. Cottus carolinae (Gill, 1861)
Features of the web site
The web site will be housed at the server of two different institutions: Arkansas State University and the University of Central Arkansas and linked to the NANFA homepage. In that way access should be permanent regardless of temporary glitches in either place.
The web site will contain the following features:
Introduction about cave fishes and their importance
Description and images of the different cave fishes species/populations found in North America
General distributional maps
Videos showing the locality/behavior of these species (when available)
A bibliography on North American cave fishes
An “ask a scientist” link by which anyone may ask questions about these fishes to be answered by a cave fish expert.
A “alert” system by which you can subscribe and receive via email news on blind cave fishes
A counter that will measure the number of visits to the site
Additionally the site will be bilingual (English and Spanish) in order to be accessible to people in both the U.S. and Mexico.
The web site will be intended to a wide range of publics from K-12 to fish enthusiasts, to cavers, to professionals involved in research and conservation. To that end the design will be based on a progressive deepening of the information. Thus we will start with rather basic information and as you want to know more, you keep clicking for further information. For example, a K-12 kid will not probably be interested in accessing the scientific literature on these fishes but professional probably will. Since the list of publications will be located in a link within the site, you will be taken there only if you want to by clicking in the respective hyperlink.
Once the web site is up, its existence will be publicized through bulletin boards and educational agencies in the U.S. and Mexico. A counter will be utilized to measure the number of visits to the site. We will also keep track of the number of people and geographic region that subscribe to the alert service as well as the requests for information, their number and nature.
At the end of the first year we will set up a simple site for subscribers and visitors to tell us how useful the site was for their purposes, how they used the information, and asking for any recommendations for improvements. We expect to repeat this survey on a yearly basis.
We expect to set the web site within three months of receiving funding. We expect this site to run indefinitely through our own efforts and those of our graduate students, so it will have continuity in time
Web development software (Flash) $238.65
Hiring of a web consultant for the development of the site $600
Miscellaneous expenses (phone calls, etc.) $100
Additional support: Arkansas State University and the University of Central Arkansas will be providing bandwidth, computing support, and will publicize the existence of this website through their respective public relations departments. In addition to the time and effort from the part of the two co-P.I.s for this project, we will be providing web updating with the support of staff and graduate students in our universities.
Kuhajda B.R.; Mayden R.L. 2001. Status of the Federally Endangered Alabama Cavefish, Speoplatyrhinus poulsoni (Amblyopsidae), in Key Cave and surrounding Caves, Alabama. Envir. Biol. Fishes 62:215-222.
Proudlove, G.S. 2001. The conservation status of hypogean fishes. Envir. Biol. Fishes 62:201-213.
Romero, A.; Paulson, K. M. 2001. It’s a wonderful hypogean life: a guide to the troglomorphic fishes of the world. Envir. Biol. Fishes 62:13-41.