Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Charles R. Berry, Jr.


The Topeka shiner Notropis topeka is a small (< 75 mm) minnow that inhabits prairie streams in several north central plains states. Once widespread and abundant throughout its historic range, the Topeka shiner is now found only in isolated populations. Because of an 80% reduction in occurrence throughout their range, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Topeka shiner as endangered in January 1999. At the time, limited information on habitat preferences and dist1ibution existed for this species in South Dakota. The objectives of this study were to measure local habitat features and water quality conditions at the reach scale at Topeka shiner study sites, create a model using these data to determine favorable habitat conditions, and identify fish species commonly associated with Topeka shiners. Fish and habitat data were collected at 61 tributary sites of the James, Vermillion, and Big Sioux rivers from June through September in 1999 and 2000. Sample sites in 1999 were based on historic Topeka shiner records in the South Dakota Natural Heritage Database. Sample sites in 2000 were based on a draft GIS model identifying potential Topeka shiner streams. Fish were collected with seines between block nets and standard procedures were used to measure physical and hydrological features of stream reaches. Cyprinids dominated the fish community for each river basin during both sample years. Insectivores and omnivores were the dominant trophic classes for each river basin for both sample years. Fish community associations for Topeka shiners were based on two stepwise logistic regression models: abundance of individual species at each site and presence or absence of individual species at each site. The abundance model indicated that Topeka shiners were most commonly associated with orangespotted sunfish Lepomis lutrenis and tadpole madtoms Noturns gyrinus. The presence/absence model showed that Topeka shiners were typically associated with red shiners Notropis lutrenis, tadpole madtoms Noturns gyrinus, black bullheads Ameiurus melas, and bigmouth shiners Notropis dorsalis. Habitat preferences were based on three stepwise logistic regression models: physical habitat water quality, and substrate composition at the reach scale. The physical habitat model indicated that Topeka shiners are associated with stream reaches that had low animal use, overhanging vegetation, stream bank vegetation comprised of sedges/rushes, low depositional zones, and run macrohabitat. The water quality model did not indicate any favorable or preferred conditions. The substrate model indicated that Topeka shiners are associated with stream reaches that had fine gravel or cobble substrates. The results of my study will lead to a better understanding of Topeka shiner distribution and habitat, and aid federal and state agencies in making management decisions that provide for protection and preservation of this species.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Notropis--South Dakota
Topeka shiner--Habitat--South Dakota
Topeka shiner--South Dakota--Geographical distribution


Includes bibliographical references (pages 87-95)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright 2001 Carmen M. Blausey.