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Tuesday, January 26 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Paddlefish Reproductive Ecology in Harry S. Truman Reservoir, Missouri

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AUTHORS: Christopher Schwinghamer*, Southeast Missouri State University; Sara Tripp, Missouri Department of Conservation; Quinton Phelps; Missouri Department of Conservation and Southeast Missouri State University

ABSTRACT: Creating reservoirs on large rivers drastically alters habitat utilized by the species that inhabit those areas. Large reservoirs transform lotic habitat into lentic habitat, flooding historic spawning habitat and blocking spawning migrations resulting in risks to species that use these habitats. One such species is the paddlefish Polyodon spathula, which are a popular sport fish in Missouri. Demand from recreational anglers has created a need to maintain stability in paddlefish populations across Missouri. Sustainable populations in Missouri’s reservoirs have been maintained through annual stocking, as successful reproduction has never been documented in these systems. As such, our objectives were to locate spawning aggregations and collect eggs or larvae near these aggregations. To accomplish this, paddlefish were captured using gill nets and 100 reproductive adults were implanted with ultrasonic transmitters. Tracking these individuals allowed us to locate spawning aggregations, determine movement patterns, and analyze environmental conditions coincident with paddlefish migrations. Embryo and larval sampling at the sites of these aggregations produced evidence of natural reproduction and provided a known spawning location for paddlefish in Truman Reservoir and its tributaries. These results will allow management officials to assess stocking protocols and help to ensure sustainable populations in reservoir ecosystems.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST