Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Biology (MS)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Jill Leonard


Burbot (Lota lota) is a freshwater fish that exhibits a circumpolar distribution and is found throughout northern longitudes of North America. It is considered an indicator species for climate change and has a substantial effect on the trophic system as it consumes fish throughout its life. Adult, spawning burbot were captured from the Sturgeon River, Pelkie, MI. Gametes were artificially fertilized and eggs were incubated until hatch in a laboratory setting. Throughout the first ten weeks of development larvae were sampled and photographed in order to measure various morphological features. Geometric and linear morphometrics were used to quantify body shape changes through development. Comparable samples were acquired from the Kootenai River, Idaho as well as various wild-caught populations from the Great Lakes. Significant differences (p<0.05) were present in both linear and geometric morphology between sample groups. Variability in my data may be caused by geographic separation, habitat types and environmental conditions that differ between populations. Great Lakes larvae were more variable in growth patterns during early development in comparison to Kootenai River, Idaho, potentially indicating flexibility to settle in different habitats or the ability to deal with varying environmental conditions present in the Great Lakes. Sample groups also showed similarities in growth patterns by the flexion stage indicating developmental stability by this time. Variability in larval burbot hatching, morphology, and developmental rates likely supports the persistence of this species throughout North America.

Access Type

Open Access

Justification for Restricting Access

I plan on publishing two original publications in the near future and would like these to be original content

Available for download on Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Included in

Biology Commons