Emerging Trends in a Long-Term Fish Dataset: Implications for the Future in Central Appalachian Headwaters

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 9:20 AM
Miller (Statehouse Convention Center)
Ross Andrew , Fisheries and Wildlife, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
K.J. Hartman , Wildlife and Fisheries Resource Program, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Headwater streams provide pristine habitat for numerous organisms.  Changes in these habitats may therefore cause a proportional change in biotic populations greater than one would normally expect.  We have used a long-term brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis dataset which includes both fish and habitat data to explore patterns and relationships over the last 10 years in 25 headwater streams in West Virginia, USA.  Several patterns have emerged, such as a correlation in drought and juvenile trout recruitment.  Also, we report spatial patterns of brook trout distribution which may help managers identify areas of concern.  Additionally, these data can help forecast effects of future disturbance and impacts caused by anthropogenic pressures and/or climate change.  We highlight the value of long-term datasets for their ability to show patterns and consistency useful for both research and management in variable ecosystems such as headwater streams.