Date of Graduation

Fall 2020


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Quinton Phelps


Fish and macroinvertebrate response to restoration and conservation efforts varies in regards to the size and structure of the system (e.g. headwater streams in WV versus large rivers such as the Mississippi River). This project reviews fish and macroinvertebrate rebound in treated acid mine drainage (AMD) streams in WV as well as macroinvertebrate drift patterns in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. AMD is a product of a chemical reaction resulting in an acidic water outflow from mining sites, which may harm aquatic life. As a response, passive AMD treatment systems have been installed. I tested the effectiveness of remediation by sampling water chemistry, macroinvertebrate populations and fish populations. Five streams were sampled both upstream and downstream of where passive treatment systems have been installed, resulting in a control and treated site for each stream. Sampling consisted of water quality grab samples, kick-netting and backpack electrofishing. I found no differences existed in water quality, macroinvertebrates, and fishes between upstream control and downstream treatment locations, suggesting remediation efforts were successful in restoring these stream ecosystems. Macroinvertebrate drift patterns in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers were reviewed with implications for Scaphirhynchus sturgeon conservation. Specifically, sturgeon survival may be influenced by macroinvertebrate availability. I examined macroinvertebrate catch rates longitudinally, laterally, and vertically to assess drift patterns. The average number per day of drifting dominate invertebrate taxa (i.e., Diptera, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera) ranged from 6.8 million/d to 36.4 million/d. I found that catch rates of drifting macroinvertebrates differed among reaches, dates, and position in the water column. Furthermore, the interaction of the spatial variables (i.e., depth and reach) coupled with the temporal variable (i.e., date) best describes variability in macroinvertebrate catch rates throughout our study. Efforts to increase macroinvertebrate habitat may provide additional prey resources to Scaphirhynchus sturgeon. Thus, the section of river from the Missouri River confluence downstream to the Mosenthein Island complex is unchannelized and may be a good candidate for habitat restoration. Increasing macroinvertebrate abundance and diversity may positively influence Scaphirhynchus sturgeon.


macroinvertebrates, restoration, conservation, Scaphirhynchus, Mississippi River

Subject Categories

Biology | Natural Resources and Conservation | Population Biology | Sustainability | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


© Madison C. Cogar

Open Access