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Tuesday, January 26 • 11:00am - 11:20am
Diet Overlap of Shovelnose Sturgeon and Pallid Sturgeon In The Upper Missouri and Lower Yellowstone River

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AUTHORS: Addie Dutton, MT Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Montana State University-Department of Ecology; Christopher Guy, USGS MT Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Montana State University-Department of Ecology; Eric Scholl, Montana State University-Department of Ecology; Nate Beckman, Montana State University-Department of Ecology; Wyatt Cros, Montana State University-Department of Ecology

ABSTRACT: A conservation propagation program was implemented in the late 1990s for the federally endangered pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus because the species was not recruiting in the Missouri River. The conservation propagation program has been successful and several studies suggest that the survival of stocked pallid sturgeon in the Upper Missouri River is relatively high. The high survival of stocked fish has prompted the question of whether too many fish have been stocked. Thus, the purpose of this study was to describe the diets of pallid sturgeon and the closely related shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus in the Upper Missouri River, between Fort Peck Dam and Lake Sakakawea, and the Lower Yellowstone River, and subsequently use these data in a resource-allocation model. We compared the diets of pallid sturgeon varying from 297 mm to 1003 mm and shovelnose sturgeon varying from 209 mm to 853 mm. Chironomidae and Baetidae numerically dominated the diets of shovelnose sturgeon (n=100), while Chironomidae and Ephemerellidae were most abundant in pallid sturgeon diets (n=104). Given these similarities, diet overlap between the species was very high (Pianka = 0.99). No shovelnose sturgeon diets contained fish; however, 32 pallid sturgeon diets contained fish, where the smallest pallid sturgeon to consume fish was 350 mm. These data suggest that pallid sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon have very similar diets and that competition could be a concern if resources are limited.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Emerald B