Date of Award

12-1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Animal Science

Major Professor

David A. Etnier

Committee Members

Dewey Bunting, Arthur C. Echternacht

Abstract

This thesis reports the findings of an ichthyofaunal survey of the upper Cumberland River drainage in Scott, Campbell, and Claiborne counties, Tennessee. This drainage lies on the Cumberland Plateau in northeastern Tennessee and has been impacted by extensive coal mining activity in the region. Present in the drainage are five listed species of primary concern to this study, Phoxinus cumberlandensis, Ericymba buccata, Notropis rubellus rubellus, Etheostoma baileyi, and Etheostoma sagitta. An additional species found in this drainage, Etheostoma nigrum susanae, is being considered for protected status. Field work for this survey was conducted mainly during May-August 1996 and May-August 1997. Collections by other investigators are also included. Collections cover the majority of steams in the drainage and both seining and electrofishing were employed. A total of 161 collections are included and the findings are presented in the annotated listing of species followed by a discussion of taxonomic and zoogeographical considerations. Included are maps showing locality records for each species occurring in the drainage.

The results of this study reveal a relatively rich upper Cumberland River fish fauna. Of the 58 species that potentially occur in the drainage, 44 were substantiated by collection records. Four of the five species (Phoxinus cumberlandensis, Notropis rubellus rubellus, Etheostoma baileyi, and Etheostoma sagitta sagitta) appear to have relatively healthy, viable populations in this drainage. The remaining species (Ericymba buccata) appears to be in decline and threatened with extirpation form the drainage. Etheostoma nigrum susanae is of extremely restricted occurrence in the drainage.

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