The blackside dace, Chrosomus cumberlandensis, is a federally threatened fish species endemic to the Cumberland River system. Previous work done on this species has consisted of population surveys and one attempt at captive breeding with limited success. As a result, general stream characteristics for blackside dace habitat are well understood. Reproductive habitat, however, has been assessed only qualitatively and characteristics necessary for successful reproduction within these habitats are not known. Within streams, these fish spawn in gravel pits we observed to be generally clustered in certain areas suggesting there are specific reproductive microhabitat requirements for which no quantitative characteristics are known. Thus, we assessed the physical habitat of these reproductive nests and the immediate surrounding areas by measuring depth, stream flow, and nest temperature. The physical structure of these gravel nests was also assessed as this is likely important in egg development. Number of males utilizing nests, assumed to represent nest quality, was correlated with nest characteristics. These data suggest that, amongst the factors measured, flow is most important in determining nest location while depth is most important in determining nest success. Overall, these data are a critical component to current habitat restoration that will not only support reproduction but also enable survival, as well as aid any future attempts at captive breeding.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2012


Nicholas Santangelo

Mentor Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences