Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Forestry and Environmental Conservation
Aquatic ecosystems are among the most threatened in the world due to anthropogenic alterations to the natural landscape and native biotas. Identifying the local and landscape-level environmental factors that influence the occurrence of endemic species can help protect aquatic ecosystems by facilitating predictions of where hybridization or replacement with generalist species may occur across the landscape. The need for such predictions is pronounced for black bass species in the southeastern United States. Bartram’s Bass (Micropterus sp. cf. coosae) is a provisional species of conservation concern. Allelic frequencies of Bartram’s Bass in Savannah River reservoirs and tributaries have been quantified via several surveys since the mid-2000s. Despite recent advances, our understanding of the distribution and habitat correlates of Bartram’s Bass remains patchy. In this study, I infer patterns of occurrence between Bartram’s Bass, Alabama Bass, and Largemouth Bass in tributaries of the upper Savannah River basin. I assess differences in landscape level effects and proximity to reservoirs on the occurrence and co-occurrence of these black basses. Our objectives for Chapter 1 were to 1) compare two common methods for sampling Bartram’s Bass and other riverine black basses to aid in assessing their distribution and abundance (2) estimate detection probability and occupancy probability of Bartram’s Bass as well as the covariates that affect these estimates (3) use multivariate analysis to identify ecological correlates of Bartram’s Bass, native Largemouth/Florida Bass, nonnative Alabama Bass, and their hybrids. Our objectives for Chapter 2 were to determine if co-occurrence of Largemouth Bass and Bartram’s Bass is driven by species interactions, abiotic variables, or a combination of these factors.
Cox, Caroline, "Patterns of Occurrence of the Black Basses in the Upper Savannah River Tributaries of Georgia and South Carolina With Emphasis on Bartram’s Bass Micropterus sp. cf. coosae" (2022). All Theses. 3961.
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