Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2012


Invasive species have had a major impact all over the world in their introduced ranges. In the U.S., none has been more obvious than the Asian carp species Bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix). Famous for their jumping abilities, these carp have also had a detrimental effect on many of our native fish species by out competing them for food sources. Asian carp are found in many of our central waterways and reside within the same range as one of our nation’s endangered fish species, the Pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus). This is why it is important to assess what kind of impacts these invasive carp might have on Pallid sturgeon. The thesis objective is to determine if Asian carp have any direct or indirect impacts on Pallid sturgeon. Previous studies were reviewed and the data was placed in a table and used to determine the diet overlap Asian carp might pose on sturgeon and its food sources. Four shared food sources or consumption of zooplankton by Asian carp of 25% or more of the amount the studied species were considered as an overlap. Parasites were determined by the chance of infecting sturgeon by being present in their waterways. If present in the range of Pallid sturgeon, the consumption of copepoda was determined as a possibility of being infected with the parasite Asian tapeworm (Bothriocephalus acheilognathi). What was found was Asian carp did not appear to pose much of a direct threat to sturgeon but could have an impact on some of its food fish. The parasite Asian tapeworm may also affect sturgeon and its food fish.