Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Science


Biological Sciences


College of Natural & Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. John Jackson

Second Committee Member

Dr. Tsunemi Yamashita

Third Committee Member

Dr. Susan Colvin

Fourth Committee Member

Nicholas Feltz

Program Director

Dr. Thomas Nupp

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Sarah Gordon


Decreased habitat connectivity as a result of damming can lead to genetic isolation in fish communities, especially in highly migratory species. Sauger Sander canadensis is a migratory freshwater species native to the Arkansas River. Sauger are highly sought after by anglers during their annual spawning migration in late winter. In order to investigate the impacts Arkansas River dams on Sauger populations, fin clips were collected in the winters of 2019, 2020, and 2021 below eight dams in the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigational System (MKARNS). Fin clips were also collected from two reservoirs in Kansas to serve as distinct reference populations. DNA samples were processed and genotyped using nine microsatellite loci. Genetic differentiation (FST), allelic richness (AR), and heterozygosity were evaluated to determine differences among and between populations. It was found that there was moderate genetic differentiation (FST=0.06) between Pools 9 and 15 and between Pools 10 and 15 of the Arkansas River across five out of the nine loci. There were also signs of moderate differentiation between Pools 9 and 10 (FST=0.05). These results indicate that, despite the relatively recent construction of MKARNS, genetic differences are detectable in Sauger in some pools of the Arkansas River.