Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Georgia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Jennings, C. A., E. W. Dilts, J. S. Shelton. and R. C. Peterson. 2010. Fine sediment affects on survival to emergence of robust redhorse. Environmental Biology of Fishes 87:43-53.


Robust redhorse (Moxostoma robustum) is a rare riverine sucker for which life history information is scarce. Spawning occurs over loose gravel substrate and eggs and larvae may be adversely affected by fine sediments among the gravel. A 2-year study was conducted to determine the threshold at which fine sediments are detrimental to successful egg incubation and larval emergence. Year 1 gravel treatments contained 0, 25, 50, and 75% fine sediments. Mean survival during Year1 ranged from 63.5% in the 0% fine sediment treatment to 0% in the 75% fine sediment treatment. The results also indicated an adverse affect threshold between 0 and 25 % fine sediment. Year 2 gravel treatments contained 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25% fine sediments. Mean survival during Year 2 ranged from 69.8% in the 0% treatment to 9.1% in the 25% treatment. Year 2 results also identified the 15% fine sediment treatment as the threshold at which survival begins to decline. Substrates at one known spawning area used by robust redhorse typically contain 25 to 50% fine sediment, but the spawning act is cleans some fines from the egg pocket. Whether the “cleaning” that results from the spawning act reduces the fines sufficiently to avoid adverse effects is unknown. According to our results, survival rates of robust redhorse eggs and larvae are predicted to be about 8.0% when fine sediment is > 25%.