2016 Grant Report from Melanie Stiasnny

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2016 Grant Report from Melanie Stiasnny

Post by LewC »

Note: Melanie Stiassny, of the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, received a $1200 grant from the Jim Smith Fund, at the 2015 Extravaganza. On her next expedition to the Congo River, she planned to use the money to fund attempts to collect live Teleogramma obamaorum, a species she had described from a single preserved specimen. Here is her report from her 2016 expedition:

On my last Congo field trip, I returned to the Teleogramma obamaorum collecting sites in August, when water levels should have been seasonally low. However, thanks to the stochasticity (randomness) that is the result of ongoing climate change, water levels were extremely high. Apparently low water last year was in May! As a result, when we were there in August 2016, we were unable to collect anything of interest, and absolutely no T. obamaorum.

I will not give up, and have asked my Congolese students to keep an eye on water levels this year. Once they are low I will send a few of them to see if they can collect some specimens.

I am really sorry that I can’t report success from last summer’s expedition, made possible by your generous support, but I won’t give up, and will certainly let you know, with due acknowledgements for the OCA, once we succeed.

Many thanks for your support,

Melanie L.J. Stiassny
Axelrod Research Curator of Fishes, Department of Ichthyology and Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History
[J]MelanieUpdateFigure2016sm.jpg (50.48 KiB) Viewed 3546 times
In the bottom right of the figure is a photograph taken in August 2011 at one of the sites where we collected Teleogramma obamaorum. The photograph in the upper left was taken from the same shoreline in August 2017 during our recent attempts to recollect the species. As is clear from the contrast between the two photographs, the deepwater rocky habitats of T. obamaorum that were exposed in 2011 were immersed beneath many feet of water in 2017.
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