Scaphirhynchus Conference: Alabama, Pallid, and Shovelnose Sturgeon

St. Louis, Missouri, 11-13 January 2005

16.  APPLICATION OF TELEMETRY AND BIOLOGICALLY-DELIVERED REMOTE-SENSOR TECHNOLOGY TO EVALUATE REPRODUCTIVE BEHAVIOR OF SHOVELNOSE STURGEON.

Aaron J. DeLonay*, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 E. New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201; Phone 573-876-1878; FAX 573-876-1896; adelonay@usgs.gov

Diana M. Papoulias, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 E. New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201; Phone 573-876-1901; FAX 573-876-1896; dpapoulias@usgs.gov

Mark L. Wildhaber, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 E. New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201; Phone 573-876-1847; FAX 573-876-1896; mwildhaber@usgs.gov

Sabrina A. Griffith, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 E. New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201; Phone 573-441-2947; FAX 573-876-1896; sgriffith@usgs.gov

J. Alan Allert, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 E. New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201; Phone 573-876-1889; FAX 573-876-1896; jaallert@usgs.gov

Numerous studies have used telemetry to examine habitat use and movement by Scaphirhynchus sturgeon.  Few of these studies have reported the reproductive status of the fish studied or recaptured fish following implantation.  None have specifically focused on reproductively mature fish prior to and during the spawning season.  A study examining telemetry and remote-sensor technology, in combination with sturgeon reproductive assessment methodology was conducted in 2004.  In March 2004, thirty gravid, adult female shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) were collected from the lower Missouri River.  Captured sturgeon were instrumented with ultrasonic transmitters and archival data storage devices (DST’s).  DST devices logged both temperature and depth of the fish.  The objective of the pilot study was to 1) ascertain whether gravid shovelnose sturgeon females instrumented in spring would complete the reproductive maturation cycle and spawn successfully, 2) estimate the general direction and scale of movement associated with sturgeon spawning, and 3) determine whether DST devices could effectively be used to examine patterns of habitat use associated with reproductive behaviors.  Instrumented sturgeon were tracked through the spawning period.  Results indicate that upstream migratory movement of shovelnose sturgeon may be rapid (often > 8km/d) and cover long distances (> 300 km).  Attempts to recapture post-spawn fish were initiated in late June.  DST devices were removed from captured fish and the reproductive status of the fish was reassessed.  Results and significance of telemetry and DST data will be discussed.