Date of Award

12-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Aquaculture, Fisheries, and Wildlife

Advisor

Foltx, Jeffrey W

Committee Member

Eversole , Arnold G

Committee Member

Lanham , J. Drew

Abstract

ABSTRACT
The intention of this study was to estimate population density, time of spawning, and fecundity of the turquoise darter (Etheostoma inscriptum) in Six Mile creek of the Clemson SC experimental forest. Population density estimates were conducted on 18 riffles within the lower 1,524 m of the creek starting 304.8 m above its confluence with Lake Issaqueena from January to April 2008. Density was determined using the Leslie Depletion method, and darters/m2 was calculated. Random point collection was performed From October 14 to November 13, 2008, and 301 specimens were measured and released to determine length frequency of the population. Further length frequency data was collected on 314 specimens from March 3 to 13 2009, and sex was determined. Sex ratio, fecundity, gonosomatic indices (GSI), and time of spawning were examined from January through late June 2009 by capturing and processing approximately 30 specimens per sample in roughly three-week intervals. Leslie depletion estimate of riffle density was 0.37 ± 0.16 darters/m2. E. inscriptum were present in all riffles sampled. Length frequency data from spring 2009 resulted in three age classes for females and four for males. In the spring, sex ratio favored females 1.8:1. Male weight and length were significantly larger than females. Peak GSI for males was the April 2 sample (1.1%), declining considerably by June 19 (0.4%). Peak GSI for females occurred in April followed by a decline in May. GSI continued to decline through June, when spawning appeared to end. Fecundity analysis showed a continuum of ova maturation during the spawning period, suggesting multiple spawns. Annual fecundity estimates ranged from 122 to 235 ova/yr.

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