Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Wildlife and Fisheries Resources

Committee Chair

Amy B. Welsh

Committee Co-Chair

Stephen DiFazio

Committee Member

Jeffrey Todd Petty


Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are a species of concern within their native range due to a historical loss of habitat, overfishing, and stocking of non-native salmonids. Road culverts have been recognized as an additional impediment to population persistence as movement between diverse habitat types has been identified as an alternative life-history strategy to maximize spawning and growth. Brook trout were genetically analyzed using a suite of 13 microsatellite loci above 7 culverts with varying levels of passability classified through a physical protocol. While most sites were not found to have losses in genetic diversity, populations above culverts with a high outlet drop were found to have significant population differentiation when compared to streams with passable culverts and streams without culverts. Additionally, restoration of an impassable road culvert on a second order stream (Beaver Creek) occurred in June 2011, potentially reestablishing connectivity between brook trout populations. Genetic assignment to 18 potential source populations identified 24 individuals (63%), of which six (25%) were found to be from source populations other than Beaver Creek within one year post restoration. The results of this study emphasize the importance of uninterrupted connection between populations and highlight the success of such restoration projects.