Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Biology


Streambed sedimentation is a persistent cause of impairment to the ecological condition of streams. The objectives of this study were to investigate 1) the effects of sedimentation and temperature on the use of streambed cover as a velocity refuge by juvenile brook trout in simulated winter flood conditions and 2) the effects of sedimentation, temperature, and time of day on cover use and social interactions of brook trout cohorts in low flow summer water conditions. Using artificial stream channels, experiments were conducted with wild juvenile brook trout collected from the North Fork Tye River, Nelson County, VA. Brook trout did not use streambed cover as a velocity refuge during winter flood simulations. Generalized linear mixed models were used to analyze cohort low flow conditions with sedimentation, temperature, and time as fixed effects and cohort as a random effect. Streambed cover use decreased significantly as temperature and sedimentation increased (p < 0.01). Aggression increased significantly as sedimentation increased (p < 0.01), decreased as temperature increased (p = 0.079), and decreased significantly throughout the day (p < 0.001). These results indicate streambed fine sediment deposition has adverse effects on salmonid carrying capacity through a reduction of juvenile rearing habitat availability and increased social stress.

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