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1 January 2016 Challenges to Reintroduction of a Captive Population of Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka) into Former Habitats in Kansas
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Topeka Shiners (Notropis topeka) representing two genetically distinct and geographically separated Kansas populations have been under continuous culture and study in 0.045-ha experimental ponds at the University of Kansas Field Station since 2002. Experiments in earthen ponds undertaken from 2002 to 2009 established that Topeka Shiners are capable of surviving and reproducing in static artificial habitats, which at the field station are akin to isolated stream pools or farm ponds typical in this part of the Great Plains. Variables included the addition of various substrate types, sizes, and their location within ponds, and also the numbers of adult Topeka Shiners stocked at the beginning of each spawning season. Behavioral and predatory associations with several other fish species, which sometimes included the addition of Orangespotted Sunfish (Lepomis humilis), Green Sunfish (L. cyanellus), and Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), also were examined. The work demonstrated that while Topeka Shiners can be maintained and will reproduce in ponds under certain conditions, their behavior, net reproduction, and survival can be substantially influenced by the other fish species. Although formal experiments ended in 2009, both populations continue to be maintained separately in 12 ponds with only minimal care. One of the populations, taken originally from Willow Creek (Wallace County, KS), is now considered extirpated in the wild, thus its remaining members likely exist only at the field station. With respect to the state recovery plan for this species, should authorities resolve to re-introduce this relict population somewhere into its former and highly restricted range in the upper Smoky Hill River watershed, the task will be complicated by factors including severe declines in surface water flow and availability leading to loss of habitat there and in other portions of western Kansas in recent decades.
Scott W. Campbell, Cody S. Szuwalski, Vernon M. Tabor and Frank deNoyelles "Challenges to Reintroduction of a Captive Population of Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka) into Former Habitats in Kansas," Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 119(1), (1 January 2016).

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