Past Research with the Missouri Cooperative Research Unit

 

Evaluation and Validation of eDNA as a Detection Tool for Asian Carp

Environmental DNA (eDNA) has promise as tool for detecting Asian carp.  This is an environmental surveillance method in which DNA material from an organism that is released into the environment (water) through slime, skin cells, urine, or feces, and can be detected in a species-specific manner.  The detection of the DNA material in the water samples is currently being used as an early warning indicator for the presence of bigheaded carps in Michigan, Illinois, and in portions...

Development of Reference Reaches for Missouri Streams

Streams and their biota are influenced by in-stream habitat alterations, as well as disturbances occurring at a landscape level.  The past two centuries have seen immense growth in urban and agricultural development, resulting in highly degraded stream conditions and subsequent losses in aquatic biodiversity.  We summarized landscape-level disturbance metrics for 92,500 headwater stream segments in Missouri, a size class greatly underrepresented in our existing stream biota databases.  We selected metrics detrimental ....

Development and Validation of Models to Assess the Threat to Freshwater Fishes from Environmental Change and Invasive Species

Freshwater ecosystems of the western US deserts are among the most threatened in North America. Our project will develop and validate a suite of threat indicators for desert fishes using the Lower Colorado River Basin (LCRB) as a model system for future regional threat assessments. The analytical framework developed will be readily applicable to other regions and Fish Habitat Partnerships. We are conducting ...

Developing Conservation Priorities to Protect Fish Biodiversity in the Lower Colorado River Basin

Non-native introductions and habitat alteration have substantially changed the native fish fauna in the Lower Colorado River Basin. Identifying the areas that have the highest loss of native fish diversity (or highest increase in non-native fish diversity) can help identify areas that resource managers may focus on for conservation. Although anthropogenic activities often influence ecosystem processes and biotic communities, rarely are they integrated into conservation planning .....


Evaluation of Humpback Chub Translocations and Native Fish Community Restoration in Grand Canyon Tributaries

We examined humpback chub response, in terms of growth and body condition, apparent survival, and dispersal, following translocation of approximately 300 individuals annually in June 2009, 2010, and 2011 into Shinumo Creek, a tributary stream of the Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park.  Therefore, we also evaluated trophic structure of the Shinumo Creek fish community to determine potential diet overlap among native and non-native fishes.  Growth of ...

Food Web Dynamics in Bright Angel Creek, Grand Canyon: Implications for Native Fish Conservation

Non-native trout removal is being conducted by the National Park Service and other stakeholders to restore and enhance native fish communities in Bright Angel Creek (BAC), Grand Canyon. To assess resource availability and evaluate the effects non-native brown (BNT) and rainbow (RBT) trout have on the food web in BAC, we sampled fish, benthic invertebrates, and drifting invertebrates seasonally from November 2010 to September 2011. Food habits of BNT and RBT were evaluated from stomach samples ...

Distribution and Habitat Selection of Largemouth Bass Related to Artificial Habitat Structures in Table Rock Lake

Deteriorating reservoir fish habitat is a concern throughout the US so the Missouri Department of Conservation and cooperators placed approximately 1,600 structures (trees, stumps, and rock piles) throughout Table Rock Lake, Missouri to improve fish habitat for largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and other species. Our objective was to determine movement and habitat selection of largemouth bass and to determine if these fish select for the augmentation structures within the lake. Sixty largemouth bass ...


Managing the Nations Fish Habitat at Multiple Spatial Scales in a Rapidly Changing Climate

We are using downscaled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models and projected land use models to identify how future climate and land use will impact the vulnerability of fish and fish habitat at national, regional, and local scales.  The future climate simulations for air temperature and precipitation are being used to assess water temperature, stream flow, and....

Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

Building on past assessments of how climate change and other stressors are affecting ecosystems in the United States and around the world, we approach the subject from several perspectives. First, we review the observed and projected impacts on biodiversity. Next, we examine how climate change is affecting ecosystem structural elements as related to the fluxes of energy and matter. People experience climate ....

Thermal conditions and stream habitat associations for fishes at Ozarks National Scenic Riverways

We will refine a habitat classification for Ozark streams and make it more biologically relevant by incorporating information on water temperature.   Mapping physical habitat and water temperature is the first step at identifying possible biotic responses to climate change and other disturbances.  Therefore, we will then link the thermal mapping with ....


Seasonal Habitat Selection of Niangua Darters

Understanding temporal and spatial habitat relationships is important to the recovery of the federally threatened Niangua darter Etheostoma nianguae, and other imperiled freshwater fishes, particularly in the face of projected climate and land use change.  We evaluated microhabitat selection of adult Niangua darters at three Missouri Ozark stream reaches (mean= 503 m).  Each reach was snorkeled (mean= 2.9 m/min) to identify Niangua darters locations where we measured nine instream habitat variables believed to be important to Niangua darter ...

Conservation Planning For the Upper Colorado River Basin

This project builds on previous and on-going research we have been conducting on fish communities in the Lower Colorado River Basin.  Aquatic systems across the nation are perhaps the most endangered ecosystems and the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) is no exception.  There are only 14 native fish species in the UCRB and most have declined in their range and abundance in the last 100 years.  Adverse impacts include modifications to natural flow regimes, physical habitat, stream temperatures and other human-induced agents . ....

Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on North American Inland Fisheries

Aquatic biota is particularly vulnerable to climate change and its associated effects, but these effects, both distributional and physiological, will differ by species and region.  Approximately 50 percent of available cold and cool water fish habitats are expected to disappear with projected doubling of atmospheric CO2, while warm water fish habitat is expected increase by 31 percent. Inland fish species, and their associated fisheries, are especially vulnerable to climate changes, both distributional and physiological, because they have ....

 

The role of tributaries on ecosystem recovery of the Missouri River

Tributaries provide important habitat for spawning, rearing, feeding and refuge of big river fishes but river alteration may affect how fish use these systems.  This study investigates seasonal patterns of fish abundance, species richness, and big river fish presence in two tributaries of the Missouri River in Missouri. The Osage River is altered by a hydroelectric dam and engineering structures while the Gasconade River is free-flowing for 482 river kilometers (rkm), resulting in different discharges and water temperatures....


 

Past Research with the Kansas Cooperative Research Unit

Sand Dredging Effects on Fish and Fish Habitat in the Kansas River

Sand and gravel are essential materials for construction, and high-quality material is often found in rivers and streams. However, instream dredging may have adverse physical effects by altering the instream habitat and fragmenting the natural river. These alterations include head cutting, streambed degradation, and channel widening. Not only can dredging alter physical habitat needed by native fishes, but can create a behavioral barrier for migrating fish by creation of deepwater, low velocity areas may inhibit upstream migrations of native fishes. In the Kansas River, sand dredging has resulted in bank erosion, riverbed degradation, and channel widening....