Assessing extent of gene flow and phylogeographic patterns among imperiled coldwater crayfish (Orconectes eupunctus) populations in the Black River drainage of Missouri.
August 2010 - August 2011
- Missouri Department of Conservation
This proposed project addresses uncertainties associated with conservation status designations in Missouri (and Arkansas), as well as the decline of a species currently designated as imperiled. MDC frequently uses conservation status designations listed in Missouri Species and Communities of Conservation Concern (MSOCC; Missouri Natural Heritage Program 2009) to drive management and policy decisions, and to advise cooperating state and federal agencies in their management and policy decisions. However, MSOCC crayfish designations are largely based upon insufficient or nonexistent distribution, abundance and population genetics data. One example is the imperiled coldwater crayfish (Orconectes eupunctus); a species for which no distribution or population genetics studies have been conducted. Recently the coldwater crayfish has also been eliminated from a significant portion of its range in Missouri and Arkansas. We propose to estimate the distribution of the coldwater crayfish, determine the extent of gene flow among the known populations, and assess phylogeographic patterns for the species to enable an accurate assessment of its conservation status. Study results will enable MDC and other agencies to base conservation management and policy decisions on sound data, and identify factors associated with the decline of this species, which will lead to identification of conservation/management alternatives.