The Relationship Between Shoreline Development and Resident Fish Communities in Lake Martin, Alabama
Type of Degreethesis
Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
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Many reservoirs in the southeastern U.S. have experienced an increase in human development along its shorelines. This development often includes armoring the shoreline with either bulkheads or riprap to reduce erosion and protect property. My objectives were to examine how human shoreline development affects the fish community in Lake Martin by quantifying fish abundance and species composition, as well as abundance and species composition of larval fish, aquatic macroinvertebrates, zooplankton, and to quantify water quality characteristics at four different shoreline habitat types (bulkhead, riprap, bulkhead with riprap at the base, and undeveloped). I found no differences in abiotic factors or lower trophic levels that I measured. However, fish abundance and community structure did differ significantly among shoreline habitat types. Fish abundances were highest at sites containing riprap while species richness and species diversity both tended to be highest at undeveloped sites.