Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science in Biology


The effects of dams have long been investigated by aquatic ecologists. However, most of the research has focused on the physio-chemical changes when a lotic system is turned into a lentic system, dams as barriers to migratory fishes, and the influence of introduced species often stocked into reservoirs. It has not been until relatively recently that the upstream effects have been studied. The central theme here is that while the dam proper creates a barrier it is possible that the resulting zone of standing water may also fragment streams from an otherwise connected river system. Stream adapted species that encounter the reservoir may not tolerate the lentic environment or they may be preyed upon before re-colonizing the extirpated reaches. Our hypothesis is that there will be different fish assemblages in tributaries to free flowing streams versus those that are directly connected to the reservoir. We sampled 17 sites in the Barren River system in South-Central Kentucky in which there is a flood control reservoir. Sites were categorized as fragmented (streams that flow directly into the reservoir) or upstream and downstream controls (streams that flow into the free flowing Barren River upstream or downstream of the reservoir).


Medical Sciences