Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Correa, Sandra B.

Committee Member

Neal, J. Wesley

Committee Member

Rush, Scott A.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


While there is a clear link between riparian forests and freshwater organisms, floodplain forests are seldom investigated due to difficulties in sampling structurally complex and periodically inundated habitat. This lack of research has led to large knowledge gaps that hinder our understanding of the conservation value of these unique, complex ecosystems for inland fisheries. Therefore, I aimed to determine how bottomland hardwood forests influence fish taxonomic, functional diversity and food web structure. I hypothesized that fish taxonomic and functional diversity are driven by forest complexity and the aquatic food web structure is driven by terrestrial carbon sources, specifically forest vegetation. Results indicated a higher taxonomic diversity and functional richness in the floodplain forest and that this forest type provides thermal refugia for fish assemblages. Contrary to my prediction, phytomicrobenthos were a primary carbon production source driving some or all of the aquatic food web in a complex floodplain–river system.


Mississippi State University