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

Minnesota Project

Ecological and genetic characteristics of slimy sculpin in s...

July 2005 - June 2009


Participating Agencies

  • Cargill Fellowship
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

The Departments of Natural Resources in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have implemented “reintroduction” programs for sculpin Cottus spp. in streams in the Driftless Area Ecoregion of each state. The goal of these projects is to increase the distribution of sculpin by re-establishing viable, self-sustaining populations in trout streams where native populations are presumed to have been present historically, but were extirpated and unable to recolonize ( This effort will potentially restore an ecologically important species to these coldwater streams and provide an additional prey component for wild trout populations. Sculpin were successfully reintroduced to a southwest Wisconsin stream in the 1970s. However, the reintroduction programs were instituted with limited information about the ecological suitability of the streams selected for reintroduction. This study will investigate genetic characteristics, survival, prey availability, diet of slimy sculpin, and habitat of donor and recipient streams. Our goal is to determine characteristics of streams most amenable to establishing reintroduced populations and examine ecological exchangeability of the sculpin.

Research Publications Publication Date
Huff, D. D., L. M. Miller, and B. Vondracek. 2010. Patterns of ancestry and genetic diversity in reintroduced populations of the slimy sculpin: Implications for conservation. Conservation Genetics DOI 10.1007/s10592-010-0124-6. | Abstract December 2010
Huff, D. D., L. M. Miller, C. J. Chiziniski, and B. Vondracek. 2011. Mixed-source reintroductions lead to outbreeding depression in the second-generation descendents of a native North American fish. Molecular Ecology 20:4246–4258. | Abstract October 2011
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Huff, D. D. 2010. Examining genetic diversity, outbreeding depression, and local adaptation in a native fish reintroduction program. PhD Dissertation, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota. April 2010