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Do stream road crossings contribute to habitat fragmentation of crayfish?
Research Core Areas:
Infrastructure for roads is one cause of anthropogenic habitat fragmentation. Habitat fragmentation puts populations at a greater risk of extinction than habitat loss without fragmentation (Brook et al., 2008). Culverts, which are pipes built under roads to allow for passage of water, may act as common barriers in habitat fragmentation of aquatic systems. Previous research suggests that flow rates of streams through culverts may serve as a mechanism for habitat fragmentation via selective filtering of species (Foster & Keller, 2011), but the extent to which culverts influence habitat fragmentation has not been fully explored. This research will illustrate if culverts do, in fact, contribute to habitat fragmentation. Crayfish will be used as a model organism due to their role as benthic keystone species in freshwater systems.