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Nathaniel P Hitt


Leetown Science Center

Office Phone: 304-724-4463
Fax: 304-724-4465
ORCID: 0000-0002-1046-4568

11649 Leetown Road
Kearneysville , WV 25430

Supervisor: Stephen P Faulkner
Artificial Intelligence (AI) isrevolutionizing ecologyand conservation by enabling species recognition from photos and videos. Our project evaluates the capacity to expand AI for individual fish recognition for population assessment. The success of this effort would facilitate fisheries analysis at an unprecedented scale by engaging anglers and citizen scientists in imagery collection.This project is one of the first attempts to apply AI towards fish population assessment with citizen science.
Brook trout is a species of conservation concern in the eastern US. In 2016, we evaluated brook trout movement patterns in response to food and cover treatments in an experimental stream system using RFID monitoring techniques at the USGS Leetown Science Center in Kearneysville, WV. Brook trout were tagged with 12mm HDX Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags and monitored with Multi-Antenna HDX Readers within each experimental stream riffle. We collected associated data on stream temperature using HOBO temperature loggers (Onset Pro V2) and water quality parameters such as dissolved oxygen, conductivity and pH (YSI Professional Plus multiparameter instrument).
This Data Release includes records of stream temperature during summer months of 2019 (10 sites) and records of Blue Ridge sculpin (Cottus caeruleomentum) weight for fish held in experimental enclosures for 45 days during the temperature sampling period (5 sites).
Rapid advances in video technology are enabling new strategies for species abundance estimation. Here we provide estimates of fish abundance derived from video data collected in a series of stream pools in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (n=41). Two 360-degree cameras were simultaneously used at each pool site where 15-minutes of underwater footage was collected. Environmental data are provided describing pool morphology, canopy cover, and fish cover (boulders, large woody debris, and undercut banks).
Climate change affects seasonal weather patterns, but little is known about the relative importance of seasonal weather patterns on animal population vital rates. Even when such information exists, data are typically only available from intensive fieldwork (e.g., mark-recapture studies) at a limited spatial extent. Here, we investigated effects of seasonal air temperature and precipitation (fall, winter, and spring) on survival and recruitment of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) at a broad spatial scale using a novel stage-structured population model. The data were a 15-year record of brook trout abundance from 72 sites distributed across a 170-km-long mountain range in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA....
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