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Dr. Steven L. Powers

Associate Professor

Department: Biology
Office: 213 Life Science




Ph.D. University of Alabama
M.S. Eastern Kentucky University
B.S. Georgetown College

Research & Teaching Interests

My primary research interest is the evolution and ecology of stream fishes of the southeastern United States. Not only are fishes inherently interesting due to their high level of diversity, range of evolutionary novelties, and varied ecologies, they are also excellent model organisms for investigating evolutionary processes. For many fishes, confinement to small streams and low dispersal capability provide a natural setting for investigating their interaction with ecological variables, modes of speciation and biogeographic patterns. Dramatic sexual dimorphism present in several groups of fishes also indicates that sexual selection has played a major role in their evolution. Furthermore, the physical constraints of living in stream habitats have influenced the evolution of stream fishes and the communities to which they belong. My research has specifically answered and continues to answer questions of evolution, ecology, biogeography, systematics, and conservation. To answer such a wide variety of questions, I have employed many techniques, including assessments of genetic differentiation, molecular and morphological phylogenetic systematics, quantifying stream habitat and community structure, quantifying life history characteristics, quantifying and comparing microhabits of fishes, quantifying associations between habitat and morphology of fishes, developing methods for bioassessments, and testing biogeographic hypotheses.

Recent Publications

Powers, S.L., and D.R. Spruill. 2021. Habitat Partitioning and Associated Morphological Differences Among Three Species of Catostomidae (Teleostei: Actinopterygii) in the South Fork Roanoke River, Virginia. Virginia Journal of Science. 72:1-11.

Powers, S.L. 2020. Mugilidae: The Mullets. In: Warren, M. L, Jr. and B. M. Burr. Evolution and Ecology of North American Freshwater Fishes.  Johns Hopkins Press.

Spruill, D.R., and S.L. Powers. 2019. Microhabitat Comparison of Percina roanoka (Roanoke Darter) and Percina nevisense (Chainback Darter) in the Roanoke River. Virginia Journal of Science. 70:1-7.

Powers, S.L., and P. Whitlow. 2018. Microhabitat of the Chainback Darter, Percina nevisense (Actinopterygii: Percidae), in the Upper Roanoke River in Salem, VA. Banisteria. 50:10-14.

Thompson, D.A., S.E. Hargrave, G.J. Morgan, and S.L. Powers. 2017 Life-history aspects of Chrosomus oreas (Mountain Redbelly Dace) in Catawba Creek, Virginia. Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings. 57:1-10.

Gilbert, C.A., R.L. Mayden, and S.L. Powers. 2017. Morphological and genetic evolution in eastern populations of the Macrhybopsis aestivalis complex (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae), with the descriptions of four new species. Zootaxa. 4247(5):501-555.

Thompson, D.A., J.S. Bentley, and S.L. Powers. 2016. Life-history Aspects of Moxostoma cervinum (Blacktip Jumprock) in the Roanoke River, Virginia. Virginia Journal of Science. 66(4):391-401.

Powers, S.L. 2016. Intensive, regular sampling and removal of modest numbers of fishes shows no measurable impact on fish populations in three streams of North Georgia. Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings. 56:1-11.

Powers, S.L., S.E. Ahlbrand, B.R. Kuhajda, and K.E. West. 2015. Testing for Genetic Divergence Within and Among Isolated Populations of a Threatened Species in Georgia and Alabama, Percina aurolineata, Goldline Darter (Percidae). Southeastern Naturalist. 14(4):675-684.

Tarasidis, A., and S.L. Powers. 2014. Life-history Aspects of Thoburnia rhothoeca (Torrent Sucker) in Southwestern Virginia.  Northeastern Naturalist. 21(1):108-118.

Powers, S.L., B.R. Kuhajda, and S.E. Ahlbrand. 2012. Systematics of the Etheostoma cinereum (Teleostei: Percidae) species complex (subgenus Allohistium).  Zootaxa.  3277:43-55.

Barton, S.D. and S.L. Powers. 2010. Life-history Aspects of the Cherokee Darter, Etheostoma scotti (Actinopterygii: Percidae), an Imperiled Species in Northern Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist. 9(4):687-698.

Holder, D.S. and S.L. Powers. 2010. Life-history aspects of the Rainbow Shiner, Notropis chrosomus (Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae) in Northern Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist. 9(2):347-358

Edberg, K.M. and S.L. Powers. 2010. Life-history aspects of the Southern Studfish, Fundulus stellifer (Actinopterygii: Fundulidae) in Northern Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist. 9(1):119-128.

Powers, S.L. and M.L. Warren, Jr. 2009. Phylogeography of Three Snubnose Darters (Percidae: subgenus Ulocentra) Endemic to the Southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain. Copeia 2009(3):523-528.

Jolly, D.M. and S.L. Powers. 2008. Life-history aspects of the Coosa Shiner, Notropis xaenocephalus (Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae) in Northern Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist 7(3):449-458.

O’Kelley, C.T. and S.L. Powers. 2007. Life-history aspects of the Alabama Hog Sucker, Hypentelium etowanum (Actinopterygii: Catostomidae) in Northern Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist. 6(3):479-490.

Powers, S.L. and R.L. Mayden. 2007. Evolution, systematics and biogeography of the Etheostoma simoterum species complex (Percidae: subgenus Ulocentra). Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History. 25:1-23.

Lang, N.J., S.L. Powers, and R.L. Mayden. 2005. Conservation status of undescribed madtoms of the Noturus elegans species complex in the Upper Tennessee River system. Southeastern Naturalist. 4(4):585-596.

Mayden, R.L. and S.L. Powers. 2004. Biochemical systematics and species diversity in the Macrhybopsis aestivalis species complex from Gulf Coastal Rivers, with comments on species relationships (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). In: Vilano, M. and A. Bladeras (eds.). Homanaje al Doctor Andres Resendez Medina, Un Ictiologo Mexicano. Universidad Autonoma de Neuvo Leon.

Powers, S.L., R.L. Mayden, and D.A. Etnier. 2004. Conservation genetics of the Ashy Darter, Etheostoma cinereum (Percidae: subgenus Allohistium), in the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers of the southeastern United States. Copeia. 2004(3):632-637.

Powers, S.L. and R.L. Mayden. 2003. Etheostoma cervus: a new species from the Forked Deer River System in western Tennessee with comparison to Etheostoma pyrrhogaster (Percidae: subgenus Ulocentra). Copeia. 2003(3):576-582.

Powers, S.L. 2003. Modification of Index of Biotic Integrity for Russell Fork of upper Big Sandy River system, Kentucky. Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science. 64(1):6-11.

Powers, S.L., G.L. Jones, P. Redinger, and R.L. Mayden. 2003. Habitat associations with upland stream fish assemblages in Bankhead National Forest, Alabama. Southeastern Naturalist. 2(1):85-92.

Powers, S.L. and R.L. Mayden. 2002. Threatened fishes of the world: Etheostoma cinereum Storer, 1845 (Percidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 63:264.

Powers, S.L. and R.L. Mayden. 2002. Threatened fishes of the world: Percina aurolineata Suttkus & Ramsey, 1967 (Percidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 63:116.

Powers, S.L. and P.A. Ceas. 2000. Ichthyofauna and biogeography of Russell Fork (Big Sandy River - Ohio River). Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings. 41:1-13.

Roanoke College Ichthyological Collection

The Roanoke College Ichthyological Collection has nearly 500 species in over 5,000 lots representing over 36,000 specimens mostly from Virginia and neighboring states. Please email to request specimens for study.

Images from the Roanoke College Freshwater Fish Collection;colId=87731240;size=72