Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biologists help save endangered pallid sturgeon

Date:
July 23, 2010
Source:
Tennessee Technological University
Summary:
Fisheries researchers found one piece of a scientific puzzle that just may help save an endangered species from extinction.

TTU graduate student Michelle Casto-Yerty releasing a likely pallid sturgeon after taking some measurements and a fin clip for genetic analysis.
Credit: Image courtesy of Tennessee Technological University

Fisheries researchers at Tennessee Tech University found one piece of a scientific puzzle that just may help save an endangered species from extinction.

Related Articles


The pallid sturgeon is known as the "dinosaur" of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and has been on the endangered species list since 1990. This primitive species has been around since the late Cretaceous period 70 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Today, there are believed to be fewer than 10,000 left in the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to make a determination in September whether to invoke the "Similarity of Appearance" provision under the Endangered Species Act to protect the pallid sturgeon from incidental catch by commercial fishermen. Doing so will end commercial fishing for the more abundant shovelnose sturgeon in the Tennessee waters of the Mississippi River.

The shovelnose sturgeon fishery is a valuable one in Tennessee. Female shovelnose sturgeon are harvested for their eggs, which are processed for caviar. A pound of the pre-processed eggs wholesales for about $100, and an average mature female shovelnose sturgeon can produce about half a pound of eggs.

Scientists believe the endangered pallid sturgeon is no longer reproducing in its natural habitat in sustainable numbers because the rivers have been so altered by dams and channelization. TTU scientists have now proven that commercial fishing is having a direct and detrimental impact on the species as well.

"Biologists elsewhere were concerned because endangered pallid sturgeon was showing up in fish markets occasionally. Those same biologists began noticing that wherever you allow fishing for the common shovelnose sturgeon, you don't see large, old pallid sturgeon," said Phil Bettoli, a TTU biology professor and assistant unit leader for the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fishery Research Unit based at Tech.

State wildlife officials asked Bettoli's team to research the problem of incidental catch of pallid sturgeon. To do so, he and his graduate student accompanied commercial fishermen in Tennessee during the 2007 fishing season and documented several occasions where the endangered fish was being harvested in gill nets alongside the more plentiful shovelnose sturgeon. The incidental catch rate in the Mississippi River was about 2 percent, Bettoli said. The endangered species also was being captured and killed in "ghost nets" lost or left behind in the river.

"It turns out that unless it's a big pallid sturgeon with its distinctive pale coloration, they're really hard to tell apart from the shovelnose sturgeon," he said. "We often had to take a tissue sample and send it to a genetics lab in order to positively identify them after the fact."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published its initial proposed rule announcement in the Federal Register Sept. 22, 2009, and the public comment period closed in February 2010. A determination whether to close the fishery is expected in late August or early September and should be published in the register by Sept. 22, 2010.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tennessee Technological University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Tennessee Technological University. "Biologists help save endangered pallid sturgeon." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722144423.htm>.
Tennessee Technological University. (2010, July 23). Biologists help save endangered pallid sturgeon. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722144423.htm
Tennessee Technological University. "Biologists help save endangered pallid sturgeon." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722144423.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins