POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWTI) – Douglas M. Carlson, a biology research associate at SUNY Potsdam, has released “Fishes of Northern New York and the Adirondacks,” a study published by Northeastern Naturalist.
The 50-page illustrated booklet is a complete guide to the fish species in the region, based on years of research by Carlson, a retired fisheries biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The report draws from fish surveys from the 1930s to the present, summarizing and interpreting the distribution of fish in the region. More than 100 fish species and two hybrids are documented in Northern New York, of which 80 percent are native. The book addresses challenges made by non-native species, which have caused changes in fish communities and resulted in the decline of native species.
“I hope that people can answer the question, ‘What’s special about Northern New York and the Adirondacks?’ I think they would find that in the Adirondacks, there are several special things about the fish, described in the book. It’s just higher elevation, with a simpler fish community, though. The lowlands, which I really wanted to draw attention to, has even more rich diversity. The rivers are largely intact and there’s not many changes, as with a lot of rivers of New York,” Carlson said. “St. Lawrence County has such a stronghold of this species richness, and specialized habitats that are still admirably intact. I like to say that the St. Lawrence County streams are really the best ones still in New York State, with unusual fish that are special to that area.”
Carlson lives in Copenhagen, NY and travels to SUNY Potsdam to conduct research alongside faculty and students at SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Biology. The study follows on his 2016 work, “Atlas of Inland Fishes of New York,” which he wrote while working for the DEC. He authored the new study with his daughter, Dr. Jane E. Carlson, an ecologist with the National Park Service.
In a new project funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Carlson is collaborating with Dr. Glenn Johnson to examine the distribution, spawning and habitat relationships of Mooneye, a threatened fish species in New York State, in the Oswegatchie River, according to the press release.