Date of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Quinton Phelps


Barrier presence in river systems has been documented to impact fishes. Low head dams specifically are frequently occurring barriers in riverine environments. Well supported impacts of these structures on fishes include diminished movement, reproduction, and habitat availability. Longitudinal patterns in riverine fish communities have long been researched to ascertain dynamics and display interactions. The need for research becomes more critical when factoring in impacts of barriers and detrimental invasive species. Knowledge of fish communities can inform fisheries biologists and aid in improved management practices for recreational and ecologically important species, as well as invasive species. The Neosho River-Grand Lake system in Kansas and Oklahoma is a world-renowned fishery for multiple species, the most notable of which are Paddlefish Polyodon spathula. Invasive carp presence in the system (i.e., Bighead Carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella) is a direct threat to the native fish community present. Little standardized fisheries sampling has been done in the Kansas portion of this river system in the past few decades; I conducted standardized sampling to inform questions posed about the fish community. My research sought to determine the status of invasive carp present throughout the Neosho River-Grand Lake system, document the fish community of the system in Kansas, and examine for community composition distinctions by geographic region along a longitudinal gradient. Results indicated a low-density population of diploid, potentially reproducing Grass Carp present throughout Kansas, with fish exhibiting high longevity and fecundity. Bighead Carp specimens obtained from Oklahoma were long-lived and extremely fecund. The fish community dataset generated a wealth of knowledge on sportfish infiltration from reservoirs, imperiled fishes, and apparent impacts from low head dams. Information from this study will aid in future management and direct new research in the suppression of invasive carp and investigation of imperiled fishes.


fish community, Bighead Carp, Grass Carp, longitudinal gradient, sportfish, SINC, T&E, Neosho River system, Neosho River-Grand Lake system

Subject Categories

Aquaculture and Fisheries


© Ethan John Rasset

Available for download on Thursday, May 01, 2025

Open Access