Dustin Lynch, Aquatic Ecologist, AR Natural Heritage Commission
Darters: Living Jewels in Arkansas Streams
Darters are the hummingbirds of the fish world because of their bright, flashy colors and rapid movements. Despite their astonishing diversity of colors, patterns, and forms, darters are easily overlooked due to their tiny size and that they live at the bottom fast flowing mountain streams. About 50 species occur in Arkansas, with new species still being described. Unfortunately, a host of issues ranging from pollution, sedimentation, rising stream temperatures, and habitat fragmentation have led to sharp declines in many species. See Dustin’s remarkable photos of these living jewels as you learn about the challenges they face and the efforts by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission to conserve them.
Dustin Lynch holds a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and a M.S. in zoology from Oklahoma State University. Before starting his job at the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC), he worked as a post-doctoral research associate and collections manager at the Oklahoma State University Collection of Vertebrates, overseeing the renovation and re-curation of ~500,000 specimens in the museum’s fish, reptile, and amphibian collections. Current research projects include conducting aquatic species inventories of the 75 ANHC Natural Areas; monitoring populations of federally endangered, threatened, and imperiled darters; gathering data on poorly known primary burrowing crayfish; and trapping insects for a statewide inventory of aquatic insect species.
The Little Rock Audubon Center is located on the southeast side of Little Rock at 4500 Springer Blvd., just minutes from downtown. Take I-440 to exit 1, Springer Blvd. Go south (left) on Springer Blvd. Cross the railroad tracks, then look for the center and Audubon Arkansas sign on the right.