Kansas State University
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Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

Jeffrey Eitzmann (2005)- Spatial and temporal patterns of blue suckers (Cycleptus elongatus) in the Kansas River, Kansas. (Mentor: Craig Paukert)

We studied the population dynamics of blue suckers (Cycleptus elongatus), a species in need of conservation, to determine spatial and temporal patterns in abundance and growth of this species. Pulsed DC electrofishing was used at 101 fixed sites to determine seasonal (e.g., spring, summer) distribution, and 302 random sites were sampled in summer to determine distribution and abundance throughout the river. A total of 71 fish were collected, with most of the fish between 600-700 mm total length. No fish less than 425 mm were collected with very few fish outside of this length. Higher abundance of fish was observed in the upper river reaches, and below a low-head dam in the lower river reaches. Although abundance was higher in the upper reaches, no difference in growth throughout the reaches was noticed. No seasonal trends in abundance were observed in the fixed sites for spring and summer. Blue suckers in the Kansas River had slower growth than other populations in the Great Plains, including the Neosho River, Kansas. No fish under age 4 were collected, which was common in other studies. Future research on early life history is needed to better understand the population dynamics of this rare fish.