Macrophyte re-establishment and deductive GIS modeling to identify planting locations for fish habitat enhancement projects
Fleming, Jonathan Paul
AdvisorDibble, D. Eric
Madsen, D. John
CommitteeNeal, J. Wes
Aquatic macrophytes are important components in structuring aquatic communities because they provide physical and biological functions that contribute to the stability of the ecosystem. Macrophytes provide the basis for the aquatic food-web and also provide habitat and refugia for aquatic fauna. In systems that lack macrophytes, anthropogenic re-establishment may be a feasible management approach to improve aquatic ecosystems. Understanding environmental factors that regulate colonization, dispersal, and persistence of aquatic macrophytes is pertinent to re-establishment efforts. The purpose of this study is to test hypotheses regarding success of macrophyte re-establishment efforts in Little Bear Creek Reservoir, Alabama using different macrophyte species, water depths, plant patch size and protection against herbivores at planting sites. In addition, a deductive GIS model is used to predict suitable areas to focus re-establishment efforts. Knowledge generated from hypothesis testing and application of GIS modeling provides novel information and tools for managing aquatic ecosystems.