Spatiotemporal Dynamics Of Interstitial Sediments And Mussel Populations In The South Toe River

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael J. Thompson (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Michael Gangloff

Abstract: Sedimentation impacts freshwater biodiversity but quantifying interstitial sediment composition can be challenging. The South Toe River (STR) is a headwater of the Tennessee River in western North Carolina that supports endangered Appalachian elktoe mussels. As part of a project to assess the impacts of road construction on this stream, we are monitoring interstitial sediment composition using freeze-cores. Mussel populations and instream habitat were quantified at six sites in the STR. Freeze cores were collected using iron tubes and dry ice. Sediments adhering to each tube were removed, dried, sieved and weighed. We computed the proportion of fine sediments (<125um) and gathered mussel data for each site. Interstitial sediments contained significantly more fines at one site immediately downstream of Little Crabtree Creek (LCC). Elktoe populations at sites downstream from LCC declined between 2013 and 2015 and while 2016-2017 surveys revealed populations at two sites are recovering, mussel populations at the site immediately downstream from LCC are continuing to decline. These data suggest sediment impacts to mussels in the STR are localized and most populations are recovering. However, continued sediment inputs into LCC and the STR will likely have negative impacts on mussel populations in downstream reaches.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Thompson, M. (2018). "Spatiotemporal Dynamics Of Interstitial Sediments And Mussel Populations In The South Toe River." Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2018
Appalachian elktoe, Sedimentation, Highway Construction, Freeze Cores

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