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Swimming Performance of the Threatened Leopard Darter in Relation to Road Culverts

Abstract
We investigated the relationship between swinming performance of the leopard darterPercinn pantherina evaluated in the laboratory and current velocities measured at the ends ofcorrugated-pipe and open-box culverts through road crossings. We tested leopard darters at eachof six current velocities ranging from 0 to 60 cmls and measured burst frequency and distance.We uscd analysis of variance (ANOVA) to analyze burst frequency and total distance coveredduring a 10-min period and found that at a current velocity of 25 cids, fish swam more frequentlyand for greater total distances than at higher or lower velocitics. When a nested ANOVA was usedto remove variation duc to individual fish, we found that distancesof individual bursts also differedsignificanlly and that fish in intermediate velocilies had longer bursts. Current velocitics in boxand pipe culverts tcnded to be higher than the velocitics measured in the lab, and sevcral crossingshad structural barriers, in addition to high current velocitics. Although there is no evidence thatculverts act as long-term barriers to n~igration or dispersal of leopard darters, they may preventmigratory activity during certain years, thereby negatively affecting localized populations.
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Date
1999
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