MiniGrant List: 2006-2007

Museum archive

Enophrys lucasi

Title: Western Arctic Marine Fish Museum Voucher Database / Arctic Marine Fish Distribution and Taxonomy


Principal Investigators
Catherine and Anthony Mecklenburg
Pt. Stephens Research, Auke Bay, USA

Project goals
Phase I: The goal of this project was to conduct research using museum collections of preserved fish and collections from recent cruises to accumulate confirmed and reliable records of occurrence of Arctic marine fish species. Museum catalog numbers, species identifications, geographic coordinates and other collection data will be recorded in a database for evaluating historical distributions of fishes. Phase II: Expand the Arctic Marine Fish Museum Voucher Database to include data gathered in 2007 and January-June 2008 on historical collections in museums and fresh collections from recent research cruises, complete a publication on new and rare records of Pacific-Arctic fishes from data gathered through 2007, preserve and document voucher specimens collected by recent research cruises to the northern Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea, and prepare image and specimen data spreadsheets required by FISH-BOL for documentation of tissue samples.

Results (ongoing)

The first ArcOD edition of the database, along with the metadata report, was submitted to ArcOD on 4 July 2006. This edition comprises 3,102 records, an increase of 1,298 records since the database was initially created and reported for RUSALCA in late 2005. The second edition is nearing completion and will contain more than 700 additional records, for an estimated total of more than 3,800 records. Our research has resulted in major improvements to our understanding (as reported in literature) of the taxonomy and distribution of Arctic fishes. We continued to find numerous misidentified specimens in the museums. Examples of our findings include: At least one species reported in the literature to be abundant in Arctic Alaska (Arctic sculpin Myoxocephalus scorpioides) was found to be relatively rare in the region and more abundant off eastern Arctic Canada. For some species, virtually all Arctic specimens had been misidentified. All records of sturgeon poacher Podothecus accipenserinus from the Arctic were found to be veteran poacher P. veternus. We also identified species previously unreported from or rare for the western Arctic among new material. For example, a black snailfish Paraliparis bathybius collectedfrom the Canada Basin north of Alaska in 2005 is the first record of this species from the western Arctic. Progress was also made on the taxonomy of the most notoriously confusing western Arctic genera, but we have not yet reached consensus.  

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