Skip Navigation

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

  • Virtual Nebraska Logo

Virtual Nebraska

Educational Modules

Wetland Biology

Biological Inventories


Wetlands vary in size, depth, substrate composition, chemistry, nutrient availability and inflow and outflow of water. Due to these and many other environmental factors wetlands, in general, often support great diversity in fish populations. The structure of many wetland communities offers areas of shallow water and protective vegetation ideal for breeding and raising young. There is often abundant nutrient flow generated from the decomposition of wetland plants and animals. The water may be a rich nutrient source in itself, hosting abundant populations of planktonic organisms. While some wetlands support tremendous biological diversity, others are sparse in diversity. These areas may represent unique habitats. Their collection of components may make the habitat suitable for only a few species whose specialized adaptations will permit survival. Several fish species throughout the state exhibit strong habitat specificity. This means that they have very limited tolerances for variation in their habitat. Slight alterations may put some species at risk of extirpation (becoming locally extinct). It is difficult to present a list of fish commonly seen in the wetlands of Nebraska because there are so many influencing factors to consider. Rather than over-stating fish species' distributions, I am rather inclined to refer you to some free literature supplied by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Full color literature describing Nebraska's endangered fish are available in pamphlet form. Identification guides in full color with habitat information and statewide distribution are also available upon request.