Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) is a popular and versatile sport fish with wide distribution. Fisheries management of the species is generally nebulous due to the additive role of environmental factors, genetics, social interactions, and alternative reproductive tactics in determining bluegill growth. Size structure could be further influenced by angling pressure: large parental males are more susceptible to harvest than smaller cuckolders. The systematic removal of large individuals through angling can result in stunted populations via fisheries induced evolution (FIE). In southeastern Kansas, bluegill from popularly fished impoundments are projected to have smaller sizes compared to isolated or inaccessible impoundments from the same region. The goal of this study is to characterize the genetic diversity of Kansas bluegill from 10 southeastern populations and detect potential fisheries-induced evolution suspected from long-term harvest. A total of 100 individuals were sampled from ten small impoundments in southeast Kansas. Five impoundments were identified as having high angling pressure and five as low angling pressure. All individuals were genotyped using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) collected by restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (RADseq). We were not able to find evidence of FIE, although analyses are limited by the lack of a reference genome. Most of the genetic variation occurs within Bluegill populations, rather than between them. We could not detect any genetic differences between fished and unfished populations. Findings suggest the observed changes in size structure are likely a function of plastic or environmentally driven genetics.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Biology

First Advisor

Peter B. Berendzen, Chair, Thesis Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 48 pages)