Date of Graduation

Summer 2018


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Sean Haher


fish, land use, communities, agriculture, urbanization, spatial scale

Subject Categories

Biology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


Stream fish communities in the Ozarks are structured via a number of different mechanisms, including basin, stream size, and human land use. The purpose of this study was to understand the structuring mechanisms of stream fish communities in southern Missouri. I compiled 48 years of historical fish collections performed by the Ichthyology class at Missouri State University consisting of 140 sites. I resampled 45 of these sites in summer of 2016. First, I tested whether communities are different between basins and stream size. Next, I tested associations of land use at three spatial scales to local fish communities. Last, I used historical collections to determine occupancy of species through time. Contemporary fish communities were used to answer basin, stream size, and land use structuring questions. Bray-Curtis dissimilarities demonstrated that communities in the modern data were different between basin, but not different in relation to stream size. I used Bray-Curtis again to calculate dissimilarity of land use composition at each spatial scale, then compared that to the communities with Mantel tests. Mantel tests showed that differences in land use were associated with differences in fish communities at all three spatial scales. Historical data were used to create logistic regressions for occupancy of each species to determine if presence is increasing or decreasing. Logistic regressions showed many species in decline, especially darters and minnows. This points to a need to more fully understand how fish communities in the Ozarks are impacted by human activities.


© Stephanie Marie Sickler

Open Access