2014-09-09. Biologists try to dig endangered pupfish out of its hole.

posted Sep 11, 2014, 6:56 AM by Alan Gould

For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 7. Excerpt: Scientists estimate that fewer than 100 Devils Hole pupfish remain in their Mojave Desert home, but a conservation biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, is giving important guidance in the efforts to rescue them by establishing a captive breeding program. Considered the world’s rarest fish, with one of the smallest geographic ranges of any wild vertebrate, the tiny pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis) – about one-inch long as an adult – neared extinction in spring 2013 when populations dropped to an all-time low of 35 observable pupfish. ...the species is considered critically endangered. ...The pupfish is found only in a limestone cavern in the Devils Hole geothermal pool, about 60 miles east of Death Valley National Park. ...The oxygen-poor water in Devils Hole stays a toasty 92-93 degrees Fahrenheit, around the upper limits of temperature tolerated by most fish. A study published last month found that climate change is contributing to the warming of the water in Devils Hole, negatively affecting the ability of eggs to hatch and larvae to survive. Pupfish populations also may have declined due to reductions in food supply and genetic diversity.... http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/09/09/endangered-devils-hole-pupfish/. By Sarah Yang, UC Berkeley News Center.