Freshwater ecosystems in North America face many threats including habitat degradation, fragmentation, and hydrological changes to the river system. This is especially obvious in Southern Appalachia region, which is a hotspot for freshwater biodiversity. Large inputs of sediment from coal mining and nutrients from agriculture degrade water quality. Dams and other stream modifications have led to changes in the habitat and hinder migration. Numerous native and endemic species have small isolated populations that are threatened by extinction. Recovery rates of species depend on numerous factors, including abiotic and biotic ecosystem factors and the natural history of the species. Species like the Yellowfin Madtom, Kentucky Arrow Darter, and Blackside Dace are increasing in population size and range due to the help from numerous organizations.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2017


Sherry L. Harrel

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences