Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Genetic and landscape level threat assessments and status review of the Candy Darter (Etheostoma osburni)


September 2018 - August 2019


The Candy Darter, an endemic fish of the New River drainage of Virginia and West Virginia, has experienced range reduction and introgressive hybridization with the introduced Variegate Darter. The Candy Darter is currently undergoing review as a candidate for the U.S. Endangered Species Act. This study is documenting the extent of introgressive hybridization, and the existing threat of extinction for this species.
The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR).
Our results will have direct management and conservation implications for the Candy Darter. Results from the proposed study will provide (1) current data on the introgressive hybridization issue, (2) data on genetic diversity and population genetic structure, (3) a review and compilation of published and unpublished literature on the ecology of the species, and on range reduction based on historic and recent data, and (4) a landscape level threat assessment for the historic and current range of the Candy Darter using GIS-based methods.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 55

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 670

Scientific Publications: 1897

Presentations: 4193



  • Stuart WelshCo-Principal Investigator
  • Brin KessingerStudent

Funding Agencies



Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey