Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Sherry L. Harrel

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Charles L. Elliott

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Third Advisor

Amy Braccia

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences


The spatial and temporal variation in fish distribution, assemblage structure, and habitat associations were investigated in relation to the available macrohabitats (riffle, run, or pool) in Gilbert's Big Creek and Elisha Creek, 2nd and 3rd order streams, respectively, located within the Red Bird River watershed in southeastern Kentucky. A total of 7,662 individuals were captured; 3,038 from Gilbert's Big Creek (21 species) and 4,624 from Elisha Creek (19 species). The most prevalent species overall in both streams was the creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus). Most fish species were distributed in the middle sampling sites in the spring, the lower sites in the summer, and the middle sites in the fall for both streams. Species richness increased from the upper to the lower sections of both streams during all seasons. Darter species (Etheostoma and Percina) selected riffles and runs while avoiding pools; whereas cyprinids selected pools while avoiding riffles and runs. Elisha Creek produced more total individuals; but overall the distributions, assemblage structures, and habitat associations exhibited by the fish communities in both Gilbert's Big Creek and Elisha Creek were very similar to what has been reported for the same species within their geographical range.