Faculty Advisor

Dr. Daniel Ressler

Start Date

27-4-2021 12:00 AM

End Date

27-4-2021 12:00 AM

Description

The body condition of an animal is an indicator of their health based on their size and weight. Assessing body condition can be useful for evaluating populations and tracing ecological disturbances. This study assessed the body condition of brook trout in the Loyalsock Creek watershed after Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011. The storm brought heavy rainfall to central Pennsylvania and triggered a catastrophic flood that disrupted the streams and trout populations. Fish populations were surveyed annually at 30 sites in the Loyalsock Creek watershed from 2011 to 2020. Fish were electroshocked, following procedures from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the weight and lengths were recorded for trout individuals. Body condition was predicted with Fulton’s condition factor and a relative weight equation. The overall body condition of the brook trout populations declined considerably after the flooding event. Brook trout had the lowest body condition in 2013, two years after the flood. Condition improved over the 10-year period, but overall body condition has still remained below the median body condition in 2011. This study revealed how predicting body condition reveals how animal populations respond and recover from ecological disturbances. The brook trout populations in the Loyalsock Creek watershed were strongly impacted by Tropical Storm Lee, and it will take several more years for the populations to recover from this catastrophic flood.

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Apr 27th, 12:00 AM Apr 27th, 12:00 AM

Assessing the Body Condition of Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in the Loyalsock Creek Watershed

The body condition of an animal is an indicator of their health based on their size and weight. Assessing body condition can be useful for evaluating populations and tracing ecological disturbances. This study assessed the body condition of brook trout in the Loyalsock Creek watershed after Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011. The storm brought heavy rainfall to central Pennsylvania and triggered a catastrophic flood that disrupted the streams and trout populations. Fish populations were surveyed annually at 30 sites in the Loyalsock Creek watershed from 2011 to 2020. Fish were electroshocked, following procedures from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the weight and lengths were recorded for trout individuals. Body condition was predicted with Fulton’s condition factor and a relative weight equation. The overall body condition of the brook trout populations declined considerably after the flooding event. Brook trout had the lowest body condition in 2013, two years after the flood. Condition improved over the 10-year period, but overall body condition has still remained below the median body condition in 2011. This study revealed how predicting body condition reveals how animal populations respond and recover from ecological disturbances. The brook trout populations in the Loyalsock Creek watershed were strongly impacted by Tropical Storm Lee, and it will take several more years for the populations to recover from this catastrophic flood.

 

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