SREL Reprint #0491




Fish Diversity in Adjacent Ambient, Thermal, and Post-Thermal Freshwater Streams

Robert W. McFarlane



The Savannah River Plant area is drained by five streams of various sizes and thermal histories.  One has never been thermally stressed, two presently receive thermal effluent, and two formerly received thermal effluent from nuclear production reactors.  Sixty-four species of fishes are known to inhabit these streams; 55 species is the highest number obtained from any one stream.  Thermal effluent in small streams excludes fish during periods of high temperatures, but the streams are rapidly reinvaded when temperatures subside below lethal limits.  Some cyprinids become extinct in non-thermal tributaries upstream from the thermal effluents after extended periods of thermal stress.  This extinction is similar to that which follows stream impoundment.  Post-thermal streams rapidly recover their fish diversity and abundance.  The alteration of the streambed and removal of overhead canopy may change the stream characteristics and modify the post-thermal fish fauna.

SREL Reprint #0491

McFarlane, R.W. 1976. Fish diversity in adjacent ambient, thermal, and post thermal freshwater streams. p. 268-271. In Thermal Ecology II, edited by G.W. Esch and R.W. McFarlane. CONF 750425. ERDA Symposium Series.

To request a reprint