Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Natural Resource Management

First Advisor

Brian D. S. Graeb


Fish Assemblage, Great Plains, Homogenization, Population dynamics, Prairie streams, South Dakota


Biodiversity is declining globally, especially in in aquatic systems. Prairies are one of the most endangered ecosystem types in North America, and their conversion into agriculture or development as a result of urbanization has had negative effects on prairie stream fish communities. Continued monitoring of fish assemblage change and the population dynamics of prairie stream fishes will provide researchers and managers with valuable information needed to detect and mitigate past and future negative impacts on prairie stream aquatic ecosystems. Sampling was conducted in the mainstem and tributaries of the Grand, Moreau, Cheyenne, Bad, and White rivers within western South Dakota. We assessed the current fish assemblage within each river basin, quantified fish assemblage change through comparison with historical records, assessed biotic homogenization across the region, and assessed the population dynamics of five common western South Dakota prairie stream fishes. In several river basins, we found that there been little change to the common species present, although, some less common species have been lost (n=5) and there has been 15 species additions as a result of range expansions. Our results suggest that biotic homogenization has occurred and it is likely that western South Dakota streams are at an intermediate step in the homogenization process. Population dynamics varied across populations for all species. Channel Catfish growth was slower than species standards but was similar to other nearby prairie populations. Mortality was generally low across all populations, especially for adult fish, fish up to age 25 were present. Catch curve residuals greater or less than -1/1 were observered for at least one age class in each Channel Catfish and Flathead Chub populations, suggesting that Channel Catfish and Flathead Chub recruitment is variable across the region. Growth, recruitment, and mortality varied across all populations for all cyprinid species. Western Silvery Minnow, Plains Minnow, and Sand Shiner populations all exhibited high mortality and were short lived, nearly all individuals sampled were age-3 or less. This information provides a baseline for future researchers across the region and valuable insights into the population dynamics of several common prairie stream fishes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Stream ecology -- South Dakota.
Aquatic ecology -- South Dakota.
Fish populations -- South Dakota.
Biotic communities -- South Dakota.
Ecosystem management -- South Dakota.
Freshwater biodiversity conservation -- South Dakota.


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright