Defense Date

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Stephen McIninch

Abstract

Constructed reefs are used successfully in marine systems to enhance spawning habitat; this study examines the effectiveness of constructed reefs in a tidal-freshwater river. Fish abundance, species diversity and richness, residency, water column position, reproductive guilds, and feeding guilds were analyzed on two constructed reefs in the tidal-freshwater James River and compared to silted regions representing the primary substrate in the river. Reefs were sampled using hydroacoustics, electroshocking, gillnetting, trawling, and egg mats. The constructed reefs had a greater proportion of fish that broadcast spawn over hard substrate and a trend of more overall individual, residential, and demersal fish. The results suggest that the reefs may be attracting a different fish community than their respective comparison sites, though additional research on the effectiveness of constructed reefs in tidal-freshwater rivers is recommended.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2012

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