Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Anne Axel

Second Advisor

Tom Jones

Third Advisor

Jayme Waldron


The crayfish Cambarus veteranus is near extinction in its historic range of the Upper Guyandotte River watershed. The biggest threats to C. veteranus are mining and road construction. Mining has been a continuous activity in the southern coalfields where the crayfish has historically been found, yet little is known about how much land cover change the practice has done to the region. Crayfish act as important organisms within aquatic ecosystems and without them, those systems are often degraded. Quantifying the change in land cover is important to understanding threats to C. veteranus for future protection of the crayfish and its habitat. Using twelve Landsat satellite images from 1973-2013, I performed a supervised land cover classification to track land cover change within the Upper Guyandotte River watershed. There was an overall 5.5% change in land cover with a significant decreasing trend in forested area over time. In addition to overall land cover changing, three, out of seven, subwatersheds where C. veteranus was historically found saw significant decreasing trends in forested area as well. The last known location of C. veteranus is within one of those three watersheds. This increased disturbance from mining likely explains the near extinction of Cambarus veteranus. Without further protection and monitoring the land cover, the crayfish is likely to go extinct within its native West Virginia range.


Crayfish culture - West Virginia.