Master of Science (MS)
First Committee Member
Frank van Breukelen
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Fifth Committee Member
Number of Pages
Pupfish from the genus Cyprinodon are among the most endangered groups of fishes on the planet, with nearly 40% of species being threatened with extinction. These pupfishes are often assumed to be the most temperature tolerant of all fish, coping with temperatures as low as 0 °C and as high as 44 °C. However, conflicting data exist and certain measures of thermal tolerance are not markedly higher in pupfish compared to common game fish. Pupfish egg production and growth has been known to be hampered at temperatures well below what they apparently experience in nature. I addressed why eggs fail to hatch at high temperatures using reciprocal transplant experiments and measurements of oxygen consumption over the course of development. Parental thermal history appears to influence successful hatching more than egg incubation temperature. Eggs which are reared at the ecologically relevant temperature of 33 °C exhibit altered and unusual oxygen consumption patterns compared to eggs incubated at a lower temperature. I employed a capture-mark-recapture study and field experiments in a dynamic and hypervariable creek environment (Salt Creek, CA) to determine whether individual pupfish which experience temperatures as high as 40 °C survive long-term. Pupfish in Salt Creek appear to colonize warm environments during the spring when conditions can be favorable for growth and reproduction; however, these fish risk death by desiccation and heat exposure if they remain in warm environments during the summer months.
ash meadows; cyprinodon; devils hole; pupfish; salt creek; thermal ecology
Environmental Sciences | Medical Physiology | Physiology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology
Jones, Alexander, "Thermal and Developmental Ecology of Pupfish, Cyprinodon" (2017). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 2992.