Natural Resources, School of



Brenda M. Pracheil

Date of this Version

Fall 11-2010


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Natural Resource Sciences (Applied Ecology), Under the Supervision of Professor Mark A. Pegg. Lincoln, Nebraska: November 2010
Copyright 2010 Brenda May Pracheil


The Order of fishes containing paddlefish and sturgeon has been named the most endangered group of organisms on the planet by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Population trajectories of paddlefish, whose native range is entirely encompassed within the United States of America, are currently unknown, although the IUCN has considered them to have a high extinction risk in the wild. The declaration of the vulnerability of paddlefish to extinction, coupled with the global plight of other sturgeon species create urgency to establish population and species-level population trajectories. Moreover, this declaration creates a great need for swift management and conservation plans to prevent further species decline and loss. In this dissertation, I use multi-scale analyses ranging from local (Nebraska and South Dakota) to nearly range-wide (all states except Montana and North Dakota) to examine paddlefish population dynamics, and movement.