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Recovery Strategy for Cultus Pygmy Sculpin (Proposed)

13. Knowledge Gaps

Little is known about the ecology of Cultus pygmy sculpin, the environmental factors that affect abundance and distribution, and the threats to this species. Meeting conservation goals will require addressing several knowledge gaps. The gaps fall into three main categories, as outlined below.

Basic Biology

  • Taxonomic status and phylogenetic relationships,
  • Habitat use and requirements by life stage (e.g., population distribution within the drainage; differential use of particular tributaries), and in particular spawning habitat and how it differs from C. aleuticus.
  • Which habitats are most likely to be limiting for different life stages,
  • Life history information,
  • Diets,
  • Causes of mortality (e.g., temperature, pollutants, predation, siltation of incubation habitat, etc.),
  • Factors limiting population growth.

Threat Clarification

  • Status of key habitats and potential threats to these habitats,
  • Effect of present and future human activities and prioritization of threats.

Population Abundance and Dynamics

  • Current population abundance of Cultus pygmy sculpin,
  • Natural population fluctuations of Cultus pygmy sculpin,
  • Current and historic trends in abundance.

Basic knowledge of the natural history of this species is severely limited. Significant gaps exist with respect to taxonomic status relative to C. aleuticus, population demographics, critical habitat, and tolerance to changes in physical habitat.