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

Chase, N., C.A. Caldwell, S.A. Carleton, and W.R. Gould, J.A. Hobbs. 2015. Movement patterns and dispersal potential of Pecos bluntnose shiner (Notropis simus pecosensis) revealed using otolith microchemistry. Canadian Journal if Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72:1575-1583.


Natal origin and dispersal potential of the federally threatened Pecos bluntnose shiner Notropis simus pecosensis were successfully characterized using otolith microchemistry and swimming performance trials. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr:86Sr) of otoliths within the resident plains killifish Fundulus zebrinus were successfully used as a surrogate to strontium isotope ratios in water and revealed three isotopically distinct reaches throughout 297 km of the Pecos River, New Mexico, USA. Two different life history movement patterns were revealed in Pecos bluntnose shiner. Eggs and fry were either retained in upper river reaches or passively dispersed downriver and followed by upriver movement during the first year of life with some fish achieving a minimum movement of 56 km. Swimming ability of Pecos bluntnose shiner confirmed upper critical swimming speeds (Ucrit) as high as 43.8 cm.s-1 and 20.6 body lengths.s-1 in 30 d post-hatch fish. Strong swimming ability early in life supports our observations of upriver movement using otolith microchemistry and confirms movement patterns that were previously unknown for the species. Understanding patterns of dispersal of this and other small-bodied fishes using otolith microchemistry may help redirect conservation and management efforts for Great Plains fishes.