Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Wildlife and Fisheries Resources

Committee Chair

J. Todd Petty

Committee Co-Chair

Patricia Mazik

Committee Member

Michael Shingleton


Climate change is expected to cause air temperatures to increase 2-5°C in the Appalachians throughout the 21st century. These air temperature increases will cause water temperatures to increase, and may negatively effect cold and cool water fish species. Brook trout are an important game fish and highly vulnerable species in West Virginia. The primary objectives of this study were to (1) construct and validate models relating stream water temperature to long6term climate data for 18 sites and (2) determine brook trout growth potential within sites of the upper Shavers Fork watershed that differ in water temperature regimes. Multiple linear regression was used to construct models capable of predicting site6specific maximum and mean water temperature on the basis of climatic variables, including: air temperature, humidity, and stream flow. Validated water temperature models were then used to backcast maximum and mean temperatures from 2001-2012. Fish Bioenergetics 3.0 was used with backcasted mean water temperatures to estimate growth potential at each site for small and large adult brook trout. Sites were categorized as small tributary (ST), large tributary (LT), cool mainstem (CMS), and warm mainstem (WMS). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine differences in growth between sites and seasons. Models predicting maximum and mean water temperature accounted for 82-95% of annual variation. Small adult growth is maximized in ST and LT sites, whereas large adult is maximized in CMS and WMS sites. Spring was the best season for growth, regardless of fish size or location. Specifically, CMS and WMS springs were the best site and season combination for growth. Summer had the lowest growth potential for all sites and sizes.