Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Biological Science



First Advisor

Glenn R. Parsons

Second Advisor

Jan J. Hoover

Third Advisor

Richard Buchholz

Relational Format



Silver Carp have rapidly expanded their range exploiting vulnerable habitats, disrupting fisheries, and inflicting unknown ecological damage. These fish have continued to spread into the Middle Mississippi River and the Tennessee River Valley and great effort is being expended to prevent Silver Carp from entering the Great Lakes and expanding further into the Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee Rivers. Using boat-mounted cameras, we recorded in situ video of invasive Silver Carp, Hypopthalmichthys molitrix leaps to measure their horizontal distance, height, and angle of escape as well as their burst speed. Video tapes of fish leaps were obtained from populations of carp in Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois. Additionally, morphometric and environmental data were measured at each site. Carp reached mean leap heights of 124 cm with a maximum of 276.08 cm in Ramsey Creek, Missouri. Maximum horizontal distance reached was 482.34 cm with a mean distance of 207.02 cm. Burst speeds varied across the three study sites with significantly higher speeds in Missouri (628.4 ± 99.9 cm/s (n=10)) compared to Mississippi (471.2 ± 77.2 cm/s (n=42)) and Illinois (551.7 + 95.7 cm/s (n=35)). Total lengths of Silver Carp increased with decreasing latitude; 73.09 ± 11.05 cm (n=113) from Mississippi, 60.86 ± 4.1 cm (n=30) from Missouri, and 54.79 ± 9.3 cm (n=161) from Illinois. Our results documented the burst speed of Silver Carp across a range of sizes and areas, revealed that the leaping abilities of Silver Carp are greater than previously estimated, and demonstrated differences in leap characteristics across populations of carp.

Included in

Biology Commons



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