Skip to content Where Legends Are Made
Center for Freshwater Studies Apply to UA Make a Gift
cypress trees in river

Sipsey River Research


  • Heads in Appalachian Plateau
  • Flows mostly in Coastal Plain
  • Mostly free-flowing
  • Classic forested floodplain swamp in lower reaches
  • Excellent site for study of floodplain/main channel interactions in river with undisturbed hydrology

Sipsey River Facts

Major Physical Features ™

  • Relief (m): 229 ™
  • Basin area (km2 ): 2,044 ™
  • Mean discharge (m3 /s) (1929-1999): 23 ™
  • River order: 5 ™
  • Mean precipitation (cm/yr): 139 ™
  • Physiographic provinces: Southeastern Coastal Plain

Major Biological Features ™

  • Terrestrial biome: Eastern Deciduous Forest ™
  • Number of fish species: 83 ™
  • Number of endangered species: 0

Major Fishes

Spotted and longnose gars, American eel, gizzard and threadfin shads, blacktail shiner, tricolor shiner, pretty shiner, silver chub, mimic shiner, bluntnose and bullhead minnows, quillback, smallmouth buffalo, Alabama hog sucker, spotted sucker, river, golden and blacktail redhorses, redfin and chain pickerels, shadow bass, warmouth, bluegill, longear, redear, and redspotted sunfishes, spotted and largemouth basses, naked sand darter, southern sand darter, blackbanded darter, dusky darter, saddleback darter, Mobile logperch, and freshwater drum

Major Invertebrates

  • Mussels – 34 species, including southern fatmucket, yellow sandshell, little spectaclecase, Alabama orb, bleufer
  • Insects – Trichoptera – 51 species, including Cheumatopsyche patella, Hydroptila quinola, Ceraclera flava, Oecetis sphyra, Chimarra moselyi

Non–native Species

Eleven species of freshwater fishes have been introduced, three species (goldfish and grass and common carps) are exotic species

Sipsey River mapMajor Riparian Plants

Bald cypress, eastern cottonwood, swamp cottonwood, mockernut hickory, river birch, American hornbeam, American beech, southern red oak, water oak, live oak, American elm, yellow-poplar, sweetgum, American sycamore, American holly, red maple, blackgum, water tupelo, swamp tupelo, carolina ash

Download Sipsey River Facts as a printable PDF

Completed Research Projects

Visit the individual webpages below to learn about our research at Sipsey:

  • Sarah Pugh, Ph.D. Graduate (2007) – Invasive organisms
  • Tom Kennedy, Ph.D. Graduate (2009) – Life history strategies and food web dynamics of floodplain fishes
  • B. J. Weibell, Ph.D. Graduate (2007) – Insect production dynamics