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River pipefish (Syngnathus watermeyeri)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 172516007

A multidisciplinary conservation initiative to save South Africa's critically endangered estuarine pipefish Syngnathus watermeyeri from imminent extinction

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 172516007) - River pipefish - Awarded $10,704 on January 26, 2018

1. Field surveys

Establish the extant range and status of S. watermeyeri through intensive field surveys. Focus will be placed on estuaries where this species has been recorded previously. Where possible, localised populations will be studied using VIFE tags to ascertain population abundance, movement patterns, and life-history traits. In addition, information will be gathered on habitat and freshwater flows in the different systems.

2. Captive breeding

A captive breeding programme will be developed in partnership with Ushaka Marine World. A microsatellite library will be developed using next-generation shotgun sequencing, and used to create genetically maximally divergent breeding pairs. Details: Development of genetic resources; use genetic resources in captive breeding programme; release of genetically maximally diverse offspring into all estuaries where the species has been recorded previously.

Project document