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Tuesday, January 26 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
Lake Sturgeon Reproductive Ecology In The Upper Mississippi River

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AUTHORS: John Buszkiewicz*, Southeast Missouri State University; Sara Tripp, Missouri Department of Conservation; Quinton Phelps, Missouri Department of Conservation; Dave Herzog, Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT: Lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens is a fish species which is currently protected from harvest and considered rare in the Upper Mississippi River and endangered in Missouri. Habitat fragmentation and overexploitation has led to historic population declines. Even though management efforts have been effective in assessing population increases through stocking programs, spawning success in the Upper Mississippi River has historically been undocumented. Since the presence of embryos or larvae has previously been unconfirmed in this region, the three main objectives of this project were to identify lake sturgeon spawning aggregations, confirm the presence of embryos or larvae near these aggregations, and to characterize the habitat of these spawning locations. Gillnets and trotlines were used to sample adult lake sturgeon, which were subsequently implanted with ultrasonic transmitters. In areas where spawning aggregations occurred, embryos were collected and hatched in the laboratory. Genetic testing of the progeny has confirmed the species identification and will offer further insight as to which specific brood stock contributed to this spawning event. Fine mesh trawling surveys were also conducted to assess recruitment success and habitat use of larval sturgeon species. The information presented in this study will further develop existing knowledge of lake sturgeon reproductive ecology which will ultimately enhance natural reproduction of lake sturgeon in the Upper Mississippi River.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Emerald B