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The movements and reproductive success of re-introduced darters in the Pigeon River, TN

by Harrison, Virginia Anne

Abstract (Summary)
The Pigeon River has a history of degraded water quality that lasted nearly seven decades, from 1908 until the 1970s, thereby resulting in the loss of many native species. In recent years, recovery efforts have been initiated by numerous agencies to re-introduce selected fish and other aquatic species. Three species of darters (gilt darter Percina evides, bluebreast darter Etheostoma camurum, and blueside darter E. jessiae) were reintroduced into the river in 2001-03; re-introduction of a fourth species, the stripetail darter (E. kennicotti) began in 2003. Since 2002, these species have been monitored by snorkel surveys for movements and reproductive success. In addition to the two release sites, 23 sites deemed suitable as potential darter habitat were identified between Newport and Denton, Tennessee. Eighteen sites were upstream of the release site for gilt darters and five sites were downstream. Snorkel surveys of 21 of these sites were conducted in the summer and fall of 2003; two sites were inaccessible due to high, fast water resulting from unusually high summer precipitation. Habitat characteristics were recorded at these sites to define preferred habitat of the darter species. The gilt darter was the only species observed during snorkel surveys in 2003 and they were found to have moved 0.3 km upstream and 3.7 km downstream from the release site. The movements of gilt darters could have been influenced by abundant precipitation. The presence of untagged adults, juveniles, and young-of-the-year (YOY) indicated successful reproduction. Long-term monitoring efforts will determine if reproductive success will be perpetuated. iv
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

School Location:USA - Tennessee

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:darters fishes habitat selection tennessee

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