Committee Chair

Schorr, Mark S.

Committee Member

Van Horn, Gene; Aborn, David


Dept. of Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Black Creek is a third-order Ridge and Valley stream (Tennessee River drainage) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Most ofBlack Creek's watershed is forested (ca. 71% in 1991 ). However, increasing urban development, particularly along the riparian landscapes, could impact the stream's ecological health. I assessed fish assemblages (biotic integrity), water quality, instream habitat, and riparian land-use features at eight sites in Black Creek, May-June 2000. Water quality conditions (temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity) were favorable for stream fishes, but some level of habitat degradation (bank erosion, sedimentation, loss of riparian vegetation) was observed at all sites. Electrofishing samples yielded a total of29 species and 9,178 fish. Index ofbiotic integrity (IBI) scores ranged from 30 to 42, corresponding to IBI ratings of "poor" to "fair," respectively, at the individual sites. The IBI score was negatively correlated with sediment depth in the stream (r = -0.727, P = 0.041) and the percentage of urban land use in the riparian zone (r = -0.739, P = 0.036). Urban land use was negatively correlated with the dissolved oxygen concentration (r = -0.888, P = 0.003). Findings from this study document the negative effect of urban land use on biotic integrity in a Ridge and Valley stream, and provide baseline data for community planning, bioassessment, and mitigation projects.


My sincere gratitude is extended to many individuals and organizations for their technical, financial, and moral support. First and foremost I wish to thank Dr. Mark Schorr for providing me the invaluable experience of working beside an incredibly intelligent, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic field biologist, and for providing additional opportunities to gain field experience while assisting in limnology and ecology labs. Noteworthy is his endless patience, encouragement, and constructive criticism during the research design, data collection, statistical analysis, thesis evaluation, and preparations for scientific presentations. I extend a special thanks to my thesis committee members, Dr. Gene Van Horn and Dr. David Aborn, for their encouragement when I needed it the most and advice in reviewing earlier manuscripts; and Dr. Gary Litchford for his unending support, assistance in obtaining site GPS readings, and my study site map. I am also grateful to The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) for supporting student research; the Tennessee Valley Authority for providing drainage areas, watershed land-use data, and ecoregion-specific index of biotic integrity (IBI) computer software; and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Aquatic Research Institute for providing pertinent research data. I am grateful to Doug Fritz and the City of Chattanooga, Department of Public Works, Stormwater Section for providing funding for the Urban Stream Project, thus supporting my research assistantship and field work. I am also thankful to those students who began the Urban Stream Project and provided a base for my research project: Evan Crews, Paul Freeman, and Jeannie Long. My field-work team (Chris Trundle, Jason Hill, Megan Ezell, and Jason Sharrett) is to be commended for their long hours of hard work, fortitude, and wonderful sense of humor. I am grateful to Katie Duffy for teaching me how to construct a Power Point presentation and Jason Houck for building the land-use map. I will always thank Dr. Bernie Benson, UTC Secondary Science Education professor, for my pursuit of higher education, and for giving me the inspiration and encouragement to dream big and to follow my dreams. I would not have been able to take time away from my job to complete my classwork or to conduct my research, without the support and enduring patience of my employer and co-workers. Thank you to my best friends, Pam and Ernie Stevens, for your encouragement, support, and compassion. My heartfelt gratitude goes to my family: to my parents for instilling a love of other living creatures and an appreciation of the natural world; to my siblings for listening without comprehending; to Scott for his encouragement in all of my endeavors; and to my children for their sacrifices and understanding during the times I needed to study when I wanted to play with them instead. Thank you, Skyler, for writing the transect numbers in foreign languages and mathematical code and for sharing a few days with me in the streams. Finally, thank you God for providing a fascinating world filled with wonder and amazing beauty - with You anything is possible.


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.




Water quality biological assessment--Tennessee--Chattanooga; Fish populations--Tennessee--Chattanooga; Urban watersheds; Fishes--Habitat; Stream ecology


Tennessee River


Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment

Document Type

Masters theses




ix, 65 leaves



Call Number

LB2369.2 .P444 2002