Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Wildlife and Fisheries Resources

Committee Chair

J. Todd Petty.


I examined the spatial variation in brook trout population dynamics and juvenile recruitment potential in the upper Shavers Fork watershed, West Virginia. The objectives of my research were to (1) identify physico-chemical factors contributing to the spatial variation in the abundance of juvenile brook trout within small basin area stream reaches, (2) quantify patterns of brook trout distribution, movement, and post reproductive demographic parameters across multiple spatial scales, and (3) place the upper Shavers Fork watershed brook trout population along the continuum of watershed-scale metapopulation models. I sampled brook trout population size structure, physical habitat, and water chemistry at the reach- and watershed-scale. The results of my research showed that (1) both water quality and physical habitat influenced the spatial variation in juvenile recruitment potential within small basin area stream reaches, (2) small basin area tributary networks played an important role in structuring the upper Shavers Fork brook trout population, and (3) the brook trout population within the upper Shavers Fork watershed reflects a complex mosaic of elements found in metapopulation, source-sink and patchy population models.