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Wednesday, October 19 • 10:20am - 10:40am
Fisheries. Prevalence of Intersex Condition in Fishes Inhabiting the Upper Tennessee River System

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AUTHORS: J. Brian Alford, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture; Debra L. Miller, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

ABSTRACT: We investigated the prevalence and severity of intersex condition in male Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Greenside Darter, and Banded Darter in tributaries of the Upper Tennessee River watershed. During March 2015, we found 6% occurrence of intersex (oocytes present in testes) in male Largemouth Bass (N = 28, Tennessee and Nolichucky rivers) and Smallmouth Bass (N=2, Nolichucky River) combined at 2 of 5 sites sampled. In May-June 2015, we found no evidence of intersex in male darters sampled in shallow riffles of the Nolichucky River at sites heavily-impacted (HI) and least-impacted (LI) by agriculture and urban land use and point-sources of pollution. Occurrence of intersex in male Smallmouth Bass (N=75) was high in the Little Pigeon, Pigeon, and Nolichucky Rivers. Fish collected from LI sites had similar prevalence (88%) as those from HI sites (85%). However, severity of intersex was mild and did not differ between site classifications. Mean hepatosomatic index for males and females was low and did not differ between site classifications (HI = 0.83, LI = 0.80). We attempted to discern a baseline level of intersex in fishes by sampling in sites thought to be little impacted by endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDC) from agriculture and point-source effluents from wastewater treatment plants. However, it may be that (1) freshwater sites cannot avoid pollution from EDC (e.g., via atmospheric deposition or low-level, chronic runoff), (2) that the baseline level of intersex in Smallmouth Bass is just high, or (3) that other confounding factors need to be discovered.

Wednesday October 19, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am
Riverview A

Attendees (6)