Since the 1980's invasive carp have been expanding their range northward up the Mississippi River. Consisting of four species, grass carp (Ctenophaygodon idella), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), bighead carp (H. nobilis), and black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus), these fish have the potential to naturalize and expand into large Mississippi River tributaries like the Minnesota River (MNR). Thus, understanding the likelihood of naturalization in these tributaries is vital in guiding prevention or mitigation efforts. This study evaluates the environmental suitability of the Minnesota River, the largest tributary to the Mississippi in Minnesota, for invasive carp. Environmental suitability for invasive carp is modeled using a two-stage framework. The first stage models the climatic suitability of the river with the NicheA model algorithm. The models were then refined using higher resolution MODIS remotely sensed data in the MaxEnt model algorithm. MaxEnt model results were connected to different floodplain inundation levels on the Minnesota River to forecast at risk backwaters. While variable, models forecast suitable habitat for all four species of invasive carp in the Minnesota River watershed. Combined, these data can be used to inform prevention and mitigation strategies for invasive carp management efforts in the Minnesota River watershed.


Phillip Larson

Committee Member

Matthew Kaproth

Committee Member

Luis Escobar

Committee Member

John Krenz

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences


Science, Engineering and Technology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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