Theses and Dissertations

Title: Hydro-peaking Impacts on Growth, Movement, Habitat Use and the Stress Response on Alabama Bass and Redeye Bass, in a Regulated Portion of the Tallapoosa River, Alabama.

Name: Earley, Laurie

Degree: MS

Chair: Rouse, David

Resides: FAA Library

University: Auburn

Location: Tallapoosa River, Alabama

Date: 2012

Pages: 134

Keywords: Micropterus henshalli, Micropterus coosae, Growth, Stress, Telemetry


Altered flow regimes caused by dam construction and operation can affect aquatic organisms in a variety of ways. The Tallapoosa River, in east-central Alabama, has been extensively impounded for flood control, navigation in the Alabama River, hydropower and water supply. None the less, the river still supports an important sport fishery. There has been previous research on the Tallapoosa River studying fish community responses to the altered flow regime. However, there has been minimal work on sportfish, including the black bass found within the river system. The objective of this research was to investigate the impacts of the altered flow regime on growth, movement, habitat use and the stress response on Alabama Bass Micropterus henshalli and Redeye Bass Micropterus coosae.

Dams and altered flow regimes may impact growth of aquatic organisms. Using incremental growth techniques, annual growth of Alabama Bass and Redeye Bass in the Tallapoosa River was evaluated in response to variation in flow regime. Age was the best explanatory variable that described growth in all models, although flow variables were included in more than half the models. Growth was higher for age-1 fish in years with less flow variation; however growth was similar among years for age-2 and age-3 fish. Overall growth rates for Alabama Bass and Redeye Bass were higher in the unregulated sites, than either regulated sites. Alabama Bass had higher growth rates than Redeye Bass at the Middle and Lower sites; however growth was similar between species the upper site. From this study it appeared that growth was not severely impacted by the altered flow regime.

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