PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES OF FISHES TO STRESSORS ASSOCIATED WITH OIL AND NATURAL GAS DEVELOPMENT
With population growth increasing, one challenge facing managers is to balance resource use/extraction and wildlife conservation. Data collected from streams in the Wyoming Range indicate conductivity and temperature are greater in drainages with higher levels of ONG development; however, the ecological consequences of these activities are not fully understood. Very little is known on the stress physiology of non-game fishes that dominate most freshwater assemblages. Our objective was to measure changes in physiological responses of Mottled Sculpin (MSC; Cottus bairdii) and Mountain Sucker (MTS; Catostomus platyrhynchus) to stressors associated with ONG. We measured hormonal responses across a gradient of ONG development (e.g., temperature and salts) to examine how fishes experiencing increased stress respond physiologically using metrics such as: 1) glucose, 2) cortisol, and 3) immunocompetence. Preliminary results from 2015, suggest a significantly negative correlation between average baseline cortisol and in-situ specific conductivity for MSC, but no significant relationship was observed for MTS. Understanding how fishes respond physiologically to chronic stressors associated with anthropogenic activities will help improve conservation and best management practices, and allow us to better understand species’ adaptability.
Richard Walker (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Wyoming, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Geoffery Smith ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Utah State University, email@example.com ;
Annika Walters ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USGS Wyoming Coop Fish and Wildlife Unit, firstname.lastname@example.org;