Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Study 1:Post-drought survey of freshwater mussels in the Saline and Smoky Hill rivers with emphasis on the status of the Cylindrical Papershell (Anodontoides ferussacianus) in Kansas. The Cylindrical Papershell (Anodontoides ferussacianus), considered a “Species in Need of Conservation” in Kansas, historically occurred across much of the state; however, recent studies suggest that the species is currently restricted to the upper Smoky Hill-Saline River Basin, and a survey emphasizing the status of the Cylindrical Papershell conducted in 2011 suggested its conservation status be elevated to endangered. Continuing drought since the completion of the 2011 survey raised concerns regarding the status of the Cylindrical Papershell. The objectives of this study were to evaluate possible drought-related changes in Cylindrical Papershell populations and to evaluate the status of this species in Kansas. Timed, tactile searches were conducted at 19 sites on the Saline River and 21 sites on the Smoky Hill River between July and August 2015. Thirty of these sites were revisited from the 2011 survey. In 2011, 24 live Cylindrical Papershell were observed among 11 sites. Declines in Cylindrical Papershell abundance were observed in 2015, with 10 individuals observed at 3 sites. The species occurred at low abundances across a limited geographic range comprised of highly fragmented habitat. Abundance of Cylindrical Papershell per site declined significantly (t=5.19, df=10, p < 0.001) between 2011 and 2015. Study 2: Effects of lowhead dams on growth of the Pimpleback (Quadrula pustulosa) in the Neosho River, Kansas. In Kansas, few studies have investigated freshwater mussel growth rates or variables that might influence growth. Lowhead dams are reported to alter variables thought to influence freshwater mussel growth, including water temperature and primary productivity. Annuli deposited in freshwater mussel valves can be used to estimate age, growth, and recruitment. The objective of this study was to evaluate differences between individual growth characteristics of Pimpleback upstream and downstream of lowhead dams in the Neosho River, Kansas by comparing von Bertalanffy growth function parameters. Pimpleback mussels (Quadrula pustulosa) were collected near 3 lowhead dams in the Neosho River of southeastern Kansas and aged by counting internal annuli. Likelihood ratio tests were used to compare von Bertalanffy growth function parameters between upstream and downstream samples at each lowhead dam sampled. Results of likelihood ratio tests suggested no significant difference in growth between upstream and downstream samples.


Dr. William Stark

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type



© 2017 Andrew T. Karlin


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