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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

SPAWNING MIGRATION PATTERNS OF SICKLEFIN REDHORSE IN BRASSTOWN CREEK**

Abstract

The sicklefin redhorse (SFR; Moxostoma sp.) is a species of special concern previously considered for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Once abundant, this species inhabited much of the Hiwassee and Little Tennessee River basins but today exists in < 20% of each occupied basin. In Georgia, it is only known from Brasstown Creek in the Hiwassee River system in Towns County. SFR spawn in fluvial habitats and migrate long distances upstream, beginning its upstream migration in March and arriving to spawning grounds by mid-April. Disruption of spawning behavior can negatively affect populations. Because this species displays fidelity to spawning sites, changes to the environment can affect SFR spawning success. Many aspects of the migration remain poorly understood including residence time in spawning grounds and sex-specific differences in migration patterns. Because of greater mortality rates for males estimated from an earlier study and previous field observations, we hypothesized that males would arrive earlier to and have a longer residence time in spawning grounds. Researchers monitored the creek over a four-month period (March through June) using passive integrated tag (PIT) antenna detection arrays, deployed at two sites approximately 4.6 river km apart, to assess the duration of the SFR migration. In mid-April, a modified fyke net captured additional SFR to insert passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags. A bank of 12-volt deep cycle batteries was replaced weekly to power the arrays, and arrays were checked for malfunctions. Data was download from arrays monthly. Spawning time duration will be based upon the first tag detection and last tag detection for individual SFR at the most downstream array. This research will aid biologists in better understanding SFR movement patterns within the spawning season.

Acknowledgements

Young Harris College, Dr. Johnathan Davis, Brett Albanese, GA DNR

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