Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Major Professor

J. Larry Wilson

Committee Members

Richard J. Strange, Patrick Rakes


The Pigeon River suffered major water quality degradation from 1908 through the 1980’s from paper mill effluent which resulted in the extirpation of many native fish species. Mill modifications have cleaned the effluent to the degree where some native species are recolonizing many areas of the river. In 2001, the Pigeon River Restoration Project was initiated to re-introduce native non-game species which have been unable to return of their own accord. In addition to relocation of selected suitable species, captive production of the tangerine darter (Percina aurantiaca) has been attempted since current translocation methods have proven impractical due to the small number found in the Pigeon River system. It is anticipated that, through hatchery propagation, sufficient numbers of tangerine darters might be produced for re-introduction. This method has seen limited success with other Percina species.

Using brood stock of tangerine darters collected from the Pigeon River above the paper mill, three attempts to spawn and propagate tangerine darters were conducted at the Conservation Fisheries Incorporated (CFI) facility in Knoxville, TN. In the first trial, no eggs were spawned; the second year produced approximately 290 eggs and larvae but relatively few survived. The third attempt produced approximately 331 eggs and larvae, resulting in approximately 85 juveniles, but grow-out was problematic; future propagation efforts will target optimum grow-out densities as well as determine the nutrition requirements for larval and juvenile tangerine darters.

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