Title

Developing a Program for Long-Term Monitoring of Kentucky Lake Fish Communities: Where Do We Start?

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Aquatic Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Timothy Spier

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Globally, fish communities are being affected by numerous natural and anthropogenic mechanisms including habitat alteration and destruction, climate change, and the introduction of non-native species. Long term monitoring of an ecosystem's fish community, along with abiotic and biotic factors that influence the fish community, is crucial in determining the effects of these mechanisms and establishing effective management strategies. While there are existing fish community monitoring programs across the United States, a long-term monitoring program that includes non-game and non-commercial fish community dynamics has not been established within Kentucky Lake in Western Kentucky. The purposes of this research are to establish a power-based standardization of boat electroshocking sampling effort, to determine the most effective boat electroshocking settings based upon three key parameters (catch per unit effort, species diversity, and total lengths), and to develop a standardized sampling protocol for a long-term monitoring program. Four centrally located embayments within Kentucky Lake were sampled with a randomized block experimental design. Within each embayment, 6 separate electrofishing samples were obtained from randomly chosen 500-meter shoreline segments; each sample utilizing 1 of 6 different randomly selected electroshocking wave forms (15, 35, 55, 75, 95, and 115 Hz: 25% duty cycle). Each collected specimen was identified to species and total length of each specimen was obtained. Concurrently with Hancock Biological Station's bimonthly water quality/plankton surveys, this sampling protocol will be used for a long-term fish monitoring program that will track catch per unit effort, body condition, and species diversity of fish communities in Kentucky Lake.

Spring Scholars Week 2018 Event

Watershed Research Institute Symposium

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Developing a Program for Long-Term Monitoring of Kentucky Lake Fish Communities: Where Do We Start?

Globally, fish communities are being affected by numerous natural and anthropogenic mechanisms including habitat alteration and destruction, climate change, and the introduction of non-native species. Long term monitoring of an ecosystem's fish community, along with abiotic and biotic factors that influence the fish community, is crucial in determining the effects of these mechanisms and establishing effective management strategies. While there are existing fish community monitoring programs across the United States, a long-term monitoring program that includes non-game and non-commercial fish community dynamics has not been established within Kentucky Lake in Western Kentucky. The purposes of this research are to establish a power-based standardization of boat electroshocking sampling effort, to determine the most effective boat electroshocking settings based upon three key parameters (catch per unit effort, species diversity, and total lengths), and to develop a standardized sampling protocol for a long-term monitoring program. Four centrally located embayments within Kentucky Lake were sampled with a randomized block experimental design. Within each embayment, 6 separate electrofishing samples were obtained from randomly chosen 500-meter shoreline segments; each sample utilizing 1 of 6 different randomly selected electroshocking wave forms (15, 35, 55, 75, 95, and 115 Hz: 25% duty cycle). Each collected specimen was identified to species and total length of each specimen was obtained. Concurrently with Hancock Biological Station's bimonthly water quality/plankton surveys, this sampling protocol will be used for a long-term fish monitoring program that will track catch per unit effort, body condition, and species diversity of fish communities in Kentucky Lake.