Jespersen Award

 

Jespersen-awards-2016

University of Wyoming graduate students Lindsey Ciepiela and Alexander LeCheminant are the 2016 award recipients of the Dennis Jespersen Memorial scholarship, presented by WWF Executive Director Chamois Andersen and UW Professor Frank Rahal.

They received $575 toward their aquatics research for the Department of Zoology and Physiology. Dennis Jespersen was a fisheries biologists who died in an avalanche on Medicine Bow peak in the Snowy Range. This fund was created in his honor and intended for students to conduct cutthroat trout-related research. Ciepiela’s research is focused on determining the stream of origin and movement patterns of salmonids in the Upper North Platte River basin using otolith microchemistry. LeCheminant’s research is on movement dynamics and survival of hatchery-reared Colorado River cutthroat trout post stocking.

Lindsey-Ciepiela

 

Lindsey Ciepiela
Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Department of Zoology and Physiology
University of Wyoming

 

Stream of origin and movement patterns of salmonids in the Upper North Platte River basin using otolith microchemistry

Project:

The Upper North Platte River Drainage, located south of Saratoga, Wyoming, supports a nationally recognized fishery with 76 miles of the North Platte River and 11 miles of the Encampment Riving being classified as Blue Ribbon stream. The productivity of this fishery is thought to be dependent on accessibility to spawning habitat found in tributaries; however, the location of spawning tributaries and the extent to which they are used is largely unknown.

Therefore our research aims to estimate the stream of origin and movement patterns of salmonids located within the drainage using environmental markers located in a fish’s otolith. By determining the environmental signature found in a fish’s otolith and matching them back to environmental signatures found on the landscape we can determine where a fish has lived throughout its entire life.

Population specific information provided by this research will directly contribute to focus current and future restoration efforts, improve monitoring programs and help to prioritize management decisions improving the overall success and longevity of a nationally recognized wild trout fishery.

 

Alex LeCheminant
Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Department of Zoology and Physiology
University of Wyoming

Movement dynamics and survival of hatchery-reared Colorado River cutthroat trout post-stocking

taggingProject:

Colorado River Cutthroat trout (CRC) populations have declined significantly across their range. Currently, conservation populations of CRC occupy an estimated 11% of their historic range. In Wyoming, CRC are classified as a species of greatest conservation need (NSS2). Causes for decline include climate change, habitat degradation, and introduction of non-native salmonids that hybridize with CRC.

LaBarge Creek watershed, located in the Western Wyoming, has been the site of a large scale CRC restoration project since 1999. A fish barrier was constructed on the main stem of LaBarge Creek in 2002, aiming to exclude non-native fish from the system. Following the installation of the fish barrier, non-native fish were removed above the barrier via chemical treatments and mechanical methods. CRC stocking began in 2007 and continues currently. Despite consistent stocking efforts, it is unknown why CRC establishment has continued to fail.

This study will evaluate survival and emigration of stocked CRC in conjunction with multiple rearing/ stocking strategies. Fish movement will be monitored using Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags over a period of two years. By PIT-tagging fish, we will be able to monitor emigration from the system, the timing of movement, and whether emigration is related to shifts in environmental conditions. By comparing establishment between fish stocked at differing times/ sizes, we may also be able to identify an optimal rearing/ stocking strategy in an attempt to improve future management practices

 cutthroat trout