Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, J. Brian

Committee Member

Dorr, Brian S.

Committee Member

Rush, Scott A.

Committee Member

Hunt, Kevin M.

Committee Member

Hopper, George M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Scaup (Aythya spp.) are suspected of consuming substantial quantities of fish from Arkansas commercial baitfish and sportfish farms. We investigated the foraging ecology and depredation impact of scaup on farms by surveying ponds and collecting scaup during two autumn-winters (2016-2018) in Arkansas. Scaup abundance and fish they consumed were highly variable between winters. More scaup were present and they ate more fish during the second winter (2017-2018) than the previous winter. In the second year, there were an estimated 874,941 scaup use-days and 18% of Lesser Scaup diet was fish. We found that scaup use of ponds was more likely in colder winters and on larger Golden Shiner, Fathead Minnow, and Lepomis spp. ponds stocked at high densities. These results will inform stakeholders on the extent of losses of fish to these birds, and methods to efficiently allocate resources for timely harassment of scaup from fish ponds.