Scaphirhynchus Conference: Alabama, Pallid, and Shovelnose Sturgeon

St. Louis, Missouri, 11-13 January 2005

40.  MONITORING STURGEON LONG-RANGE MOVEMENT IN THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

Timothy W. Spier*, WIU Department of Biology, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL, 61455; Phone 309-298-1266; FAX 309-298-2270; tw-spier@wiu.edu

James Garvey, SIUC Fisheries and IL Aquaculture Center, Life Sciences 2 Room 173, Carbondale, IL, 92901-6511; Phone 618-536-761; FAX 618-453-6095; jgarvey@siu.edu

Ron Brooks, SIUC Fisheries and IL Aquaculture Center, Life Sciences 2 Room 173, Carbondale, IL, 92901-6511; Phone 618-536-761; FAX 618-453-6095; rbrooks@siu.edu

Rob Colombo, SIUC Fisheries and IL Aquaculture Center, Life Sciences 2 Room 173, Carbondale, IL, 92901-6511; Phone 618-536-761; FAX 618-453-6095; rcolombo@siu.edu

Brian Koch, SIUC Fisheries and IL Aquaculture Center, Life Sciences 2 Room 173, Carbondale, IL, 92901-6511; Phone 618-536-761; FAX 618-453-6095; bkoch@siu.edu

Chris Williamson, SIUC Fisheries and IL Aquaculture Center, Life Sciences 2 Room 173, Carbondale, IL, 92901-6511; Phone 618-536-761; FAX 618-453-6095; cwilli@siu.edu

The federally endangered pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus is rare in the Middle Mississippi River, and little is known about its habitat use and movement patterns in this portion of the river. We implanted ultrasonic transmitters in 60 pallid sturgeon and 19 shovelnose sturgeon and tracked their movements throughout the Middle Mississippi River. Pallid sturgeon (n = 336 relocations) used faster water, such as the main channel and open channel borders, more than shovelnose sturgeon (n = 52 relocations). The longest movement recorded by a pallid sturgeon was 322 km compared to 111 km for a shovelnose sturgeon. Both species seem to migrate upstream in early spring, and large numbers of each species were captured below the lowhead dam at Chain of Rocks. Adult pallid sturgeon seem to use areas of low flow in open water habitats, while juvenile shovelnose sturgeon use very low flow areas at the downstream end of island tips. The two species of Scaphirhynchus found in the Middle Mississippi River have slightly different movement patterns and habitat usage that may indicate behavior that reduces interspecific competition through resource partitioning. Currently, we are monitoring an array of passive receivers spread throughout the Middle Mississippi River which allow us to track long term movement patterns of pallid sturgeon.