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Thesis - University Access Only
Master of Science (MS)
Natural Resource Management
sandhills, glacial relict fishes, fish, south dakota, habitat, ecology
Native stream fish zoogeography has changed substantially across North America during the last century as habitat degradation, stream fragmentation and introductions of nonnative species have led to numerous extinctions, extirpations and altered distributions. Insufficient information regarding imperiled species often results in reactive, rather than proactive, management, and knowledge of species status and ecology is critical in identifying conservation priorities. South Dakota populations of three dace species (northern redbelly dace Chrosomus eos, finescale dace Chrosomus neogaeus, and pearl dace Margariscus margarita) are relict of Pleistocene Glaciation and are isolated from the northern core of their distribution, but little information exists regarding their distribution or abundance in South Dakota. We used previous and current fish collection records along with a current habitat assessment to assess the status and co-occurrence of these three dace species and to assess the status of two other state listed species (blacknose shiner Notropis heterolepis, plains topminnow Fundulus sciadicus). We also quantitatively described fish assemblage patterns throughout southwestern South Dakota. Finally, we investigated regional variability of pearl dace population characteristics. We sampled fish and habitat in 42 stream reaches within the White, Little White, and Keya Paha river basins during 2010-2012 and compiled previous collections from South Dakota and Nebraska. Additionally, we re-sampled four pearl dace populations in order to estimate ages and quantify population demographics. We detected four of five target species and found that each target species was limited to two Major Land Resource Areas in South Dakota, both of which contain springfed streams that are not present in neighboring drainages. Fish assemblages were primarily structured by stream size and habitats that support relict dace species tended to have higher species richness and diversity than other sample reaches. We documented regional variation in pearl dace growth and condition. This study updates the distribution and status of conservation listed species, identifies landscape level habitat filters, and provides insight into fish assemblage patterns in springfed Great Plains streams. Furthermore, our results were used to identify specific tributary streams as conservation priorities and as candidates for continued research efforts.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Fishes -- South Dakota
Fishes -- Conservation -- South Dakota
Pearl dace -- South Dakota
Finescale dace -- South Dakota
Number of Pages
South Dakota State University
Copyright © 2013 Eli Felts
Felts, Eli, "Ecology of Glacial Relict Fishes in South Dakota's Sandhills Region" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 350.