Committee Chair

Schorr, Mark S.

Committee Member

Nelson, Charles H.; Spratt, Henry G.; Johnson, Paul D.


Dept. of Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


A total of 20 sites in five Ridge and Valley streams located in Chattanooga, Tennessee were sampled May 8, 1998 to June 18, 1998 using quantitative and qualitative macroinvertebrate sampling techniques. All streams sampled were part of the Tennessee River drainage system and eventually contribute to Nickajack Reservoir. The 20 sites were second to fourth order streams with drainage areas of 3.8 to 46.9 (km2) and elevations of 195 to 232 (m). Sites with different percentages of agricultural, urbanized and forested land-use were selected to best evaluate the resulting impacts of urbanization and other anthropogenic activities on the invertebrate community and over-all water quality. Characterizations of stream sites were made using indexes commonly used to qualitatively compare invertebrate assemblages including the total number of taxa (richness), and the number of families of insects belonging to the orders Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT taxa richness). Qualitative sampling efforts collected 76 family level taxa with individual sites ranging from 21 to 41 and a mean of29.8 (SD= 5.1). The EPT taxa index resulted in site scores ranging from 3 (poor) to 16 (good) with a mean of 7.4 (fair) (SD= 3.7). This wide range of scores indicates portions of the local watersheds are healthy while other portions are quite degraded. Differences in stream sites were explored more fully by quantitative analyses of 22,613 invertebrates collected in 79 Hess samples. Field collections showed marked differences in taxa richness, mean abundance, and percent taxa composition across study sites. Habitat conditions and benthic indices varied between sites within study streams. This study revealed relationships between benthic indices and water quality, habitat conditions and land use. Relationships between watershed land use and instream substrate ( cobble and fine sediments) are evident. Portions of local watersheds are quite degraded while other sections approach "reference-stream" quality. The sub-watersheds of Black Creek, Mountain Creek and Ninemile Branch show more degradation of water quality and habitat in the lower reaches than in the upper, less developed portions. The upper Black Creek study site indicated the best assemblage of invertebrates in the study, while Friars Branch and the lower Ninemile Branch sites showed the poorest, most degraded communities. Significant correlations (P


I would like to express my gratitude to a number of people, without whose support, guidance, and patience this thesis and my experience at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga could not have been possible. Dr. Mark Schorr, my major professor, has gone above and beyond the call of duty in assisting me with the project design, field collection, statistical analysis, and review of this work. I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with such an energetic and enthusiastic field biologist. I am also grateful to the rest of my thesis committee, Dr. Charles Nelson, Dr. Henry Spratt, and Dr. Paul Johnson for their input and encouragement throughout this project. Thanks to Drs. Nelson and Johnson, Ryan Evans, Bo Baxter, and Dr. David Etnier for assistance in identification of insects, snails, and other aquatic invertebrates. I would like to acknowledge Doug Fritz and the City of Chattanooga, Department of Public Works, Stormwater Management Section for the financial support they offered to this project. Sincere appreciation is extended to Evan Crews and Jeannie Long, my urban stream project partners, who contributed a great deal to my study. They spent time picking up bugs when their attention should have been focused on their own fish studies. They should be commended for putting up with me day in and day out in the creeks and around the lab. I appreciate the blood they lost and clothes they tore while bushwhacking through the poison ivy and briar thickets on riparian land use transects. The conscious effort of the whole field crew to avoid shocking and trampling through "my riffles" before I could collect a Hess is acknowledged and appreciated. I would like to thank Jennifer Backer for giving me the encouragement and confidence to come back to graduate school. Her unsolicited help in field collections relieved many of my duties and allowed me to concentrate more on the benthic portion of the study. I will always give Amy Wales, of the Tennessee Valley Authority, credit for my first exposure to the fascinating life that exists under the rocks and in the riffles of our southeastern streams. I still remember the first time I was able to assist her in a benthic bioassessment and the amazement I had that life in the creek was so diverse and beautiful. Thanks for her knowledge and patience as a friend and supervisor when I had so many questions about fish, bugs and sampling protocols. I would like to pass on my extreme appreciation and affection to Ginny Nichols, who agreed to marry me even though I was planning to quit my job and go back to school. She has made many sacrifices so that I could enjoy my education and concentrate more fully on my academic endeavors. Although she did not always understand what I was talking about or why I was complaining, she continued to listen, and that is a quality which I admire and sets her apart from most. Final heartfelt thanks are extended to my parents, Charlotte and Jack Freeman, who played more than a genetic role in the sculpting of my interests and the formation of my dreams. With them as parents, my exposure to science was inevitable and I am forever grateful for the support they showed in my education and my career and for the many sacrifices they made so that I could take the time to pursue the interests that I enjoy.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Marine benthic ecology; Water quality biological assessment--Tennessee--Chattanooga; Watershed restoration--Monitoring


Water Resource Management

Document Type

Masters theses




x, 78 leaves



Call Number

LB2369.2 .F733 1999