Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Animal Science

Major Professor

David A. Etnier

Committee Members

Stephen E. Moore, Dewey Bunting


Over 200 collections of fishes have been made within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, revealing a Park ichthyofauna of 74 native and 5 introduced fish species. Abrams Creek, containing the most diverse ichthyofauna in the park, currently contains only 35 of its historical 67 fish species. This loss of species resulted from intentional poisoning of eh creek to improve habitat for rainbow trout and impoundment of the lowest 2.6 miles by Chilhowee Reservoir.

Abrams Creek also contains a very unusual ichthyofauna in its upper portion. Several species found above its 25-foot waterfall have not been found below it, and some are rare elsewhere in the Little Tennessee River system. A possible drainage history, supported by both ichthyological and geological data is theorized. Outlets for some of the streams now in the upper Abrams Creek system may have existed toward Little River and Parsons Branch or Tabcat Creek.

Possible environmental problems which might be faced by the Park's fishes are discussed. Although the streams in the Park are not subjected to problems such as waste water treatment or agricultural runoff, they are effected by such problems as acid rain and the possibility of global warming.

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