Date of Award

5-1-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Zoology

First Advisor

Heist, Edward

Abstract

Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) is a commercially and recreationally important species, with a native range that extends over 22 US states. This is a large, long-lived, highly mobile riverine species that has been negatively impacted by habitat fragmentation, historic overharvest, and hatchery supplementation. Dams are the primary cause of habitat fragmentation, blocking migration routes, flooding spawning grounds, and isolating populations. A common management action to mitigate the impacts of habitat fragmentation and maintain harvestable populations is hatchery propagation and stocking. Reduction in stock size, isolation of populations, and stocking can all negatively impact the genetic integrity of Paddlefish. I evaluated the impacts of isolation and hatchery supplementation on the effective population size (Ne) of Paddlefish as well as the range-wide genetic structure of Paddlefish.

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