Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Jacob Schaefer

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences


Fragmentation divides continuous habitat into smaller patches. Fragmentation can also produce smaller populations of species, because fragmentation can split a population into smaller groups. Both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems suffer from fragmentation. There are a variety of fishes that live along marsh, each depending upon the marsh for protection, food, and sometimes even competition. Species richness of fishes can be altered due to marsh fragmentation. I predict islands with a larger patch index should have a higher species richness of fishes. For this study, fish assemblages at 20 islands of marsh were sampled in the months of June and July of 2016 with two 5m pulls of a 9.1 × 1.2 m bag seine. A total of 3305 fishes, representing 34 species, and 190 Farfantepenaeus aztecus and 18 Litopenaeus setiferus were collected across all samples. A drone was used to take aerial images of the smaller islands of marsh and Google Earth was used for the larger islands to determine the patch size and fragmentation index of each island. I found a positive relationship between species richness and patch area. I also found that there was not a significant effect of fragmentation index on the species richness.

Included in

Biology Commons