Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Chair

Jake Schaefer

Committee Chair School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 2

Kaitlin Baudier

Committee Member 2 School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 3

Matthew Wagner


Effectively sampling habitat with the proper techniques is essential for our understanding of the animals that use the habitat, both for individual species and entire species assemblages. Percina lenticula is a species of special concern in the state of Mississippi due to low numbers of historical records. This species is known to inhabit wood pile habitat in rivers, a habitat that has been under-sampled historically due to inefficiency with most commonly used gear. Seines are typically not effective at sampling wood piles, resulting in sampling bias underestimating the number of P. lenticula and potentially other species utilizing such habitats. This study used electrofishing techniques to sample wood piles near historical records of P. lenticula in the Pascagoula and Pearl River drainages to assess the status of the species and environmental predictors and species associations. We assessed wood pile size and complexity for differences in fish abundance, species diversity and evenness. We also assessed differences in overall fish species assemblages in these habitats due to variations in environmental factors, both in each wood pile and at the sites. We caught 21 P. lenticula, all from the Pascagoula drainage. We found Etheostoma histrio and Percina sciera to be positively associated with P. lenticula. Neither wood pile size nor complexity significantly influenced fish abundance, species diversity or evenness. We found water depth and velocity to drive species assemblage variation in the woody structure, and site size to drive assemblage variation of the sites.