Analyzing the presence of navajo bluehead sucker (Castomus discobolus) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) in small streams on the Navajo Reservation
Bluehead sucker, Castomus discobolus, an endemic species found in northern New Mexico and Arizona, is critically endangered due to their small initial populations, the introduction of nonnative species such as brown trout (Salmo trutta), and poor watershed management. Understanding the relationship between the native bluehead suckers and invasive brown trout can inform management actions in the future. For this project, we visited 300 randomly selected sites along Whiskey Creek on the Navajo Nation in northern New Mexico. Our objective was to assess the relative abundance of individuals of each species at sites visited. At each site, a Smith-Root B-12 backpack electrofisher was used to capture bluehead suckers and brown trout.
Of the 300 sites visited, 52 supported only bluehead suckers, 12 supported only brown trout and 5 had co-habitation of brown trout and bluehead suckers. Preliminary results indicated an inverse relationship between the frequency of bluehead suckers and brown trout in Whiskey Creek.