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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Charles R. Berry Jr.


Relationships between growth rates of three fish species and stream morphology, riparian type, and fish community structure were examined in South Dakota wadeable streams during summer 2002 and 2003. Study sites represented all physiographic provinces in South Dakota and a variety of riverine conditions. Fish studied are common to low order warm water streams and have wide distributions. Mean back-calculated total length at age was estimated from scale annuli for creek chub, Semotilus atromaculatus, green sunfish, Lepomis cyanellus, sand shiner, Notropis stramineus. Correlation analysis was used to examine the relationship between independent variables and mean annual growth increment (distance between annuli) of the previous year. Cohort growth increments that were significantly correlated with several variables were examined with forward stepwise-multiple regression. Age-1 sand shiner growth was significantly correlated with % cobble substrate (r = 0.504; P = 0.046). Age-2 sand shiner growth was correlated with % substrate embeddedness (r = 0.816; P < 0.001), bank angle (r = 0.533; P = 0.019), incised height (r= -0.518; P = 0.028), and % fine gravel (r = -0.589; P = 0.008). Only % substrate embeddedness contributed significantly to a multiple regression model (r2 = 0.67; P < 0.001) of age-2 sand shiner growth. Age-0 creek chub growth was correlated with bank angle (r = -0.909; P = 0.032), bankfull width (r = 0.963; P = 0.009), % non-woody riparian cover (r = -0.898; P = 0.039), and % bare riparian zone (r = 0.908; P = 0.033). Age-1 creek chub growth was correlated with bank height (r = 0.866; P = 0.012) and % brush (r = -0.842; P = 0.018). Age-3 green sunfish growth was correlated with % embeddedness (r = 0.957; P = 0.010) and % brush (r = 0.913; P = 0.030). Small sample size prohibited analysis of creek chub and green sunfish growth with multiple regression models. In general fish growth was correlated with few variables. Stream morphology and riparian variables were correlated with fish growth. Fish growth was not correlated with community abundance. These data suggest abiotic factors influence fish growth in prairie streams. Paucity of correlates supports the paradigm of prairie streams as variable systems influenced by stochastic events.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fishes -- South Dakota -- Growth
Stream ecology -- South Dakota
Riparian plants -- South Dakota
Fish communities -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (page 40-49)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2004 Nathan M. Morey. All rights reserved.