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Jason Vokoun

Center Director and Associate Professor

 

Current Research

Headwater/Coldwater Streams and Brook Trout:

  • Conservation/Landscape genetics
  • Resource selection and abundance-habitat modeling
  • Stream temperature modeling

 

 

This research is using brook trout as a focal species regarding the status of coldwater stream habitat in Southern New England. Land development and resulting habitat alteration and fragmentation have often been associated with population declines, and climate change raises concern for the persistence of this coldwater species in the region. We have been using genetics to understand fine-scale population structuring within headwater networks, and are beginning research investigating among watershed landscape relatedness and associated fragmentation. Our temperature modeling has revealed the importance of localized groundwater inputs in these small streams, particularly in interpreting climate change threats to thermal suitability.

Historically Fished and Unfished Largemouth Bass:

  • Respirometry
  • Angling vulnerability
  • Population dynamics modeling
  • Recreational Catch/Creel monitoring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The objectives of this project are to understand differences in behavior and physiology of historically fished and unfished populations of largemouth bass, and ultimately, the potential for unfished populations to contribute to the management of largemouth bass fisheries. Largemouth bass have been at the center of recent research exploring the potential population effects of recreational angling in the context of fisheries induced evolution. Much of this work has been performed using artificially selected strains and small ‘hatchery pond’ experimental populations. This project is intended to provide crucial comparisons and contrasts using wild populations that vary in angling history. We are currently measuring resting metabolic rates and angling vulnerabilities of individuals from four populations that were transferred from their birth populations to a common pond within the state hatchery system.

 

Bridle Shiner Conservation, Habitat Use and Detection:

  • Occupancy estimation modeling
  • Conservation genetics
  • Sampling gear comparison/detection probability estimation
  • Resource selection modeling

 

Bridle Shiner Notropis bifrenatus carry special distinctions ranging from state endangered, threatened, and regionally rare throughout their native range. A species of conservation concern in Connecticut, they were relatively common in early surveys up into the 1960s using seines. In the 1980s-90s, Bridle Shiner were only detected at 8 locations, using backpack electrofishing, down from 56 known historic locations. We have used the occupancy modeling framework to reveal drastic differences in detection probabilities between seines and gears in the highly-vegetated habitats used. We are currently revisiting all known historic locations and have ‘rediscovered’ populations thought extirpated at some sites- although a decline is still evident. Currently, we are establishing informative microsatellite loci for the species and will be exploring population structuring.

 

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Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Center
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4087