Closer to Understanding Enigmatic Mussel Declines

Just by existing and eating, mussels improve water quality. They are filter feeders, which means they eat small pieces of organic matter that float past them. But mussels are dying, often in streams that otherwise seem healthy. Many streams that formerly supported diverse mussel communities now are essentially defaunated. These events are enigmatic because other…  More 

Susan Adams Receives National Rise to the Future Award

USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station aquatic ecologist Susan Adams received the 2019 Rise to the Future Jim Sedell Research Achievement Award. The award was presented during the Forest Service’s Rise to the Future (RTTF) awards reception in Washington, DC. The RTTF awards recognize outstanding individual and group achievements by natural resource professionals in the…  More 

Women In Science: Zanethia Barnett

The Women in Science series features women scientists from across the Southern Research Station (SRS) – their education, career paths, challenges, achievements, and inspirations. Meet Zanethia Barnett, a natural resource specialist from the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research in Oxford, Mississippi. Specializing in freshwater fauna and aquatic ecosystems, Barnett conducts her research in the lakes, streams,…  More 

Mystery Crayfish Highlights Conservation Challenges

On a recent sampling trip to the Bankhead National Forest in northwest Alabama a team led by U.S. Forest Service scientist Susie Adams scooped up a crayfish from a river flowing into the Lewis Smith Reservoir. The crayfish had a distinctive black, orange, and white color pattern on the tips of its largest claws, which quickly…  More 

Heat and Acid Could Squeeze Trout Out of Southern Appalachian Streams

A newly published research study that combines effects of warming temperatures from climate change with stream acidity projects average losses of around 10 percent of stream habitat for coldwater aquatic species for seven national forests in the southern Appalachians – and up to a 20 percent loss of habitat in the Pisgah and Nantahala National…  More 

Helping Aquatic Wildlife Managers Navigate the River of Streamflow Models

Streams in the southeastern U.S. are among the most ecologically rich in the world, but climate change, land cover change, and withdrawals threaten the health of their aquatic ecosystems. “Understanding how changes in streamflow affect aquatic wildlife is critical,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Peter Caldwell. “Many states in the Southeast recognize the urgency of the issue and…  More 

How Did the Fish Get Across the Road?

Early in the morning, a crew is gearing up for another day. Dip nets, waders, buckets, snorkeling gear and measuring devices are loaded into the truck. Off they go on another assignment—another stream to survey, monitoring equipment to install, aquatic organisms to inventory, stream crossings to photograph.  After a long drive back to the office, the…  More 

Science Synthesis: Climate Change and Warmwater Species

Warmwater animal species—including freshwater fish, snails, mussels, and crayfish—can be loosely defined as those that prefer fairly high temperatures.  Warmwater fish for example, have temperature preferences above about 77 degrees.  Still, there are upper limits to the temperatures even warmwater species can live with, beyond which physiological processes break down and susceptibility to disease increases. Climate…  More