In the 2012 President's Budget Request, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is terminated. As a result, all resources, databases, tools, and applications within this web site will be removed on January 15, 2012. For more information, please refer to the NBII Program Termination page.
The objective of the Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters. Fish, insects, algae, plants and other aquatic organisms can act as biological indicators, providing accurate information about the health of waterbodies such as lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, estuaries, and coral reefs.
The presence, condition, and numbers of the types of these plants and animals reflect current conditions, as well as changes over time and cumulative effects. Through direct observation and monitoring, scientists can identify problems and stressors in aquatic ecosystems.
The OneFish community directory is a fishery projects portal and participatory resource gateway for the fisheries and aquatic research and development sector worldwide. Freshwater fisheries topics are subdivided into a number of categories and subtopics. Resources for each topic include: documents, websites, projects, news, events, mulitmedia, jobs, institutes, and discussions.
Fishes (superclass Agnatha, superclass Chondrichthyes, and superclass Osteicthyes)
What is a Fish? Fishes are vertebrates belonging to any of three taxonomic groups: superclass Agnatha, class Chondrichthyes, and superclass Osteicthyes. Fishes with bony skeletons and fins are members of superclass Osteicthyes, while fishes with skeletons formed of cartilage are members of class Chondrichthyes. Fishes such as lampreys that lack jaws are members of superclass Agnatha
Fishes include familiar animals such as Catfishes (order Siluriformes) and Salmons (order Salmoniformes). Thought of as "cold-blooded," fishes are ectotherms, meaning they are unable to regulate their own body temperature independently of the temperature of their surroundings. Fish characteristics include anatomy adapted for aquatic life including gills, streamlined body shape, fins, and skin covered by scales. Reproduction strategy among fishes can vary, ranging from bearing live young to egg laying.
Ecological Importance of Fishes Fishes play several important roles in aquatic ecosystems. As consumers, they help regulate populations of aquatic organisms they prey upon, including aquatic invertebrates, plants and algae, and other fishes and smaller animals. Scavenging fishes contribute to water quality by removing decaying organic matter from the ecosystem as they feed. As prey items, fish, fish fry (juvenile fish), and fish eggs are consumed by a variety of predators, both terrestrial and aquatic.
Fishes of the Southeastern United States The southeastern United States is home to an unparalleled diversity of temperate freshwater fishes. Within southeastern U.S. states including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky, there are 530 freshwater fish taxa, representing 66 percent of all freshwater species in North America (Hamilton, 2003). The Southeast has approximately 485 known species of native freshwater fishes, representing 27 taxonomic families (Walsh, Burkhead, and Williams, 1995). Of those 27 families, five have the greatest diversity: perches, minnows, madtoms and bullhead catfishes, suckers, sunfishes and basses. Freshwater species diversity can be attributed to the abundant major river systems in the region, including the Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland, and Mobile Rivers and tributaries.
In Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee, freshwater and marine fish species number as follows: in Alabama, there are 340 species including 12 exotic species; in Kentucky, there are 263 species including 14 exotic species; in Mississippi, there are 253 species including 13 exotic species; in Tennessee, there are 307 species including 10 exotic species [source: NatureServe Explorer Database].
For more about marine and freshwater fishes of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee, refer to the NBII catalog query for fishes on our "Fishes Web Resources" page listed on the navigation menu at left.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System [on-line database]. Available http://www.itis.gov. (Accessed April 2009).
NatureServe. 2008. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. (Accessed: May, 2008).
Walsh, S. J., N. M. Burkhead, and J. D. Williams. 1995.
Southeastern freshwater fishes
. Pp. 144-147 In: E. T. LaRoe, G. S. Farris, C. E. Puckett, P. D. Doran, and M. J. Mac (eds.).
Our living resources: a report to the nation on the distribution, abundance, and health of U.S. plants, animals, and ecosystems
. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Service, Washington, DC. 530 pp. Retrieved September 15, 2009 from Southeastern Fishes Council Web site: http://www.sefishescouncil.org/.
Eastern Brook Trout
[Photograph: Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture]
Eastern Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis
Description:Freshwater trout species.
Life History:Spawns during day in late summer (in north) or fall. Eggs hatch in 47 days at 10 C, in 165 days at 2.8 C. In Ontario, alevin emergence occurred over a 71-day period, coinciding with the spring thaw and an episodic pH depression (Snucins et al. 1992). Sexually mature in 2-3 years (also reported as first year for males, 2nd year for females). Only small percentages of returning migrants actually spawn; post-spawning mortality generally is low (Stearley 1992).
Habitat:Clear cool well-oxygenated creeks, small to medium rivers, and lakes. May move from streams into lakes or sea to avoid high temperatures in summer. Preferred temperature 14-16 C; does poorly where water temperature exceeds 20 C for extended periods (see Sublette et al. 1990). Spawns usually over gravel beds in shallow headwaters but also may spawn successfully in gravelly shallows of lakes if spring (groundwater) upwelling and moderate current, or nearby surficial inflow (Quinn 1995), are present. Eggs buried in nest in gravel. In Ontario, eggs were buried at 7-20 cm in bottom substrate (Snucins et al. 1992).
Distribution:Native to most of eastern Canada from Newfoundland to western side of Hudson Bay, south in Atlantic, Great Lakes, and Mississippi River basins to Minnesota and (in the Appalachians) northern Georgia; introduced in western North America and temperate regions in many other parts of the world.
Status:Introduced populations of brook trout have contributed to the decline of native fishes, amphibians, and invertebrates in cold streams and lakes in western North America (see Adams et al. 2002). Prevention of further invasion has become a major concern (Adams et al. 2002).
Fishbase is a searchable global database of fish species information.
FishBase on the web contains practically all fish species known to science. Search over 28,000 fish species by common name, scientific name, ecosystem, or country. Or, use the search feature to find tools, maps, or references.
Description:Sea lampreys are eel-like fish with a sucker mouth.
Life History:Sea lampreys are parasites. They suction their mouths onto other fish, feeding on the blood and fluids of their host. The introduction of sea lampreys has been linked to the decline of many native fish in the Great Lakes.
Distribution:Native to coastal regions of the Atlantic Ocean and ascend freshwater rivers to spawn.
They have spread to all the Great Lakes since the opening of the Welland Canal in 1921 (map).