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Dahle, S.P. 2001. Studies of the Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka) life history and distribution in Minnesota. M.S. Thesis, University of Minnesota. 75 pp.


The Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka) was reportedly common in headwater prairie streams throughout the central United States (Tabor 1998). Its historic range extended from central Missouri and Kansas to southeastern South Dakota and southern Minnesota (Bailey and Allum 1962). Stream surveys conducted in Kansas and Missouri during the early 1990's indicated that the Topeka shiner's distribution and abundance in these states had vastly declined during the previous 25 years (Tabor 1998). Although it was already known that this species? distribution had declined in parts of its range (Minckley and Cross 1959; Bailey and Allum 1962; Pflieger 1971; Eddy and Underhill 1974), the magnitude of the more recent declines was unexpected. Since this discovery, interest in and concern for this native prairie minnow has intensified. During the 1990's, surveys were conducted across the Topeka shiner's range to determine its status. Surveys of the Topeka shiner in Minnesota suggested that this species was ?far more common in [this state] than was once thought? (Hatch 2001). This was not the case in other parts of this species? range however, so on January 14, 1999, the Topeka shiner was listed as federally endangered.

Studies of Topeka shiner life history and distribution were initiated in Minnesota during May 1997 and concluded during August 2000. Much of the 1997 and some of the 1998 data were published by Hatch (2001) and Hatch and Besaw (2001). The remaining data were included in this thesis. This thesis was written in manuscript format to simplify the transition to publishing. Each chapter contains its own introduction, methods, results, discussion, and literature cited sections. Chapter 1 discusses the Topeka shiner's distribution, habitat-use, and seasonal abundance in Minnesota. Chapter 2 analyzes their demography, growth, and reproductive effort, and Chapter 3 provides a volumetric analysis of this species? diet. The goal of these studies was to provide detailed life history and distribution information to evaluate this species? status in Minnesota and facilitate rangewide research and recovery efforts.

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