Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
Master of Science (MS)
Sherry L. Harrel
Charles L. Elliott
Michael A. Floyd
The Kentucky Arrow Darter (KAD), Etheostoma spilotum, is an endemic species to the Upper Kentucky River Basin and is currently proposed for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The ecology and population status of this benthic species is poorly understood, so this study was designed to investigate the species’ movement capabilities, population dynamics, and overall ecology in two streams (Gilberts Big and Elisha Creek) in the Red Bird Ranger District, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky. Project objectives included quantification of movement patterns, identification of microhabitat use, and estimation of population size in both streams. Sampling was conducted during three seasons (spring summer, and fall) in 2013 utilizing a probabilistic sampling design, with a total of 752 microhabitat plots being sampled from 23 reaches across those seasons. Utilizing passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags for continuous tracking, movements of 121 KADs ranged from 28-4,078m in both up and downstream directions. Population estimates ranged from 80-1498 individuals but varied depending on stream and season, with the spring season yielding the lowest estimate. Habitat associations between occupied and unoccupied reaches and plots were compared both seasonally and across all seasons. Results suggested that pool habitats with cobble, higher mean depths, and lower composition of sand, gravel, and boulders were more commonly associated with KAD presence.
Copyright 2015 Jonathan Bradley Baxter
Baxter, Jonathan Bradley, "Distribution, Movement, and Ecology of Etheostoma spilotum (Gilbert), the Kentucky Arrow Darter, in Gilberts Big Creek and Elisha Creek, Red Bird River Basin, Clay and Leslie Counties, Kentucky" (2015). Online Theses and Dissertations. 337.