Theses and Dissertations


Name: Phillips, Bryan W.

Degree: MS

Chair: Carol E. Johnston


University: Auburn University

Location: Auburn, Alabama

Date: 2001

Pages: 112

Keywords: Stream fish assemblage,impoundment,land-use,fish fauna


Fish assemblages from a historical pre-impoundment survey of the Bear Creek system (Tennessee River drainage) were compared with the fish assemblages from recent collections, approximately thirty years after the historical survey of the system. Evidence from similarity indices indicate that fish assemblages at numerous sites have drastically changed since the historic survey. Many of these changes may be related to four impoundments constructed since the 1968 survey. Diversity indices, species richness, and evenness of the fish assemblages showed little change, although there appeared to be variation at many sites. Similarity between fish assemblages showed the greatest differences between historical and contemporary samples, which suggests that changes to the fish fauna were mostly from shifts in faunal composition. Fish assemblages showed a gradient of similarity to historical collections downstream of impoundments, which suggests that there are recovery gradients for fish assemblages with distance from impoundments. Fish assemblages were dissimilar to historical collections immediately downstream of impoundments, but by 10 to 20 km were increasingly similar to historical collections. Several species exhibited declines in persistence since the historical collections. Land-use analysis showed that some fish assemblages were influenced by land-use practices, but relationships between certain land-uses and assemblage similarity were weak. Impoundments had the strongest influence resulting in changes in the fish assemblage of the Bear Creek system, with land-use having at least some role in influencing the changes. Other anthropogenic influences may have been a factor influencing the changes, but these factors were not considered for this study. This study showed that a unique fauna has been imperiled possibly due to the construction of impoundments and anthropogenic influences.

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