Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Kaminski, Richard M.

Committee Member

Avery, Jimmy L.

Committee Member

D’Abramo, Louis R.

Committee Member

Grado, Stephen C.

Committee Member

Kröger, Robert

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


I estimated yield, population metrics, production costs, and evaluated consumer acceptability and nutritive content of crayfish (Procambarus clarkii, P. zonangulus) harvested from moist-soil wetlands in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) during springs 2009-2011. I also compared nutrient and sediment concentrations and loads exported from moist-soil wetlands and nearest agriculture fields in the MAV during winters 2010-2012. Daily yield of crayfish from moist-soil wetlands was 2.4 kg (wet) ha-1 (SE = 0.50; 95% CI = 1.3-3.4). When graded by size, yield of large crayfish (> 30 g) from wetlands dominated by P. clarkii was four times greater (P < 0.05) than yield of large crayfish from wetlands dominated by P. zonangulus. Crayfish harvesting costs (2013 US dollars [$]) ranged from $405.69 ha-1 to $917.88 ha-1 and breakeven selling prices ranged from $3.74 kg-1 to $8.49 kg-1. Consumer acceptability, proximate composition, and total fatty acid content of P. clarkii did not differ (0.73 > P > 0.11) between crayfish harvested from moist-soil wetlands and rice-crayfish culture fields in Louisiana. Although selling prices likely will not compete with prices for crayfish harvested from Louisiana rice fields ($2.75 kg-1; 2012 US$), harvesting crayfish from moist-soil wetlands may enhance recreational opportunities while increasing awareness of ecosystem benefits of these wetlands. Although concentrations (mg L-1) of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) in runoff from moist-soil wetlands and adjoining croplands did not differ (P = 0.95), concentrations of total and particulate phosphorus, nitrate-nitrogen, and total suspended solids were 42, 52, 86, and 89% lower (P < 0.03) in runoff from moist-soil wetlands. However, the load (kg ha-1) of SRP from moist-soil wetlands was six times (P = 0.08) greater than load from croplands. Estimated loading rate of total phosphorus from moistsoil wetlands (2.36 kg ha-1 year-1) was greater than the rate reported by regulatory agencies in Mississippi (1 kg ha-1 year-1), but field replication is needed to verify these results. Nearly 80% of the total loads exported from moist-soil wetlands occurred during < 30% runoff events. Retention of runoff from storm events may reduce phosphorus loss from moist-soil wetlands while not interfering with conservation objectives.