Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Colorado
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Colorado Project

Evaluation of Myxobolus Cerebralis Distribution and Infection Severity in Labarge Creek

July 2023 - June 2026


Participating Agencies

  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department

The overall goal of our project is to provide an evaluation of the current distribution and infection severity of MC in the LaBarge watershed above the fish migration barrier. Understanding the distribution of the parasite and disease severity will be essential to formulating future management options.
In year 1, we will address disease levels in wild fish and use eDNA sampling to identify the distribution of MC and the density of TAM production. These data are an essential first step in evaluating the spatial distribution and disease severity in LaBarge Creek and will help guide future sampling and research efforts. The use of eDNA could reduce sampling effort and cost in the future and reduce the need to sample rare or sensitive fish populations. They will also be immediately useful to managers for decisions relative to the stocking of CRC.
In year 2, we will evaluate the spatial distribution and relative disease risk, using caged sentinel CRC. We will collect data on the prevalence of infection, disease severity, and TAM production during the experiment. These data will compliment the field data from the first season and provide a more nuanced examination of MC disease severity and risk. The spatial component will be especially useful in future decisions about CRC reintroduction.
Finally, we propose to conduct a laboratory study to correlate disease severity to TAM exposure and compare these results to disease severity and TAM production estimates from LaBarge Creek. Laboratory exposures will allow a more controlled initial exposure and we can compare these data to the field observations and caging, allowing for more precise inferences on MC disease risk in LaBarge Creek.
Our proposed study will be useful in management decision making, especially in identifying areas that may be more suitable for reintroduction or mitigation to allow reintroduction.