Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Stephen McIninch


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.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2012