Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fall spawning by Atlantic sturgeon in Virginia river

Date:
October 15, 2012
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
Scientists studying the Atlantic sturgeon, one of the oldest species of fish in the world, have found evidence that the James River population in Virginia spawns in the fall.

Scientists studying the Atlantic sturgeon, one of the oldest species of fish in the world, have found evidence that the James River population in Virginia spawns in the fall, according to scientists at the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Environmental Studies and VCU Rice Center.

The finding challenges the longstanding view that this specific species only spawns in the spring and may ultimately lead to the development of guidelines and protections for future management and recovery of the fish. Experts assume that there is spring spawning here in the James River, just as there is one in the Hudson River and in some of the few remaining other rivers with the fish. Therefore, there may be some unique ecological trait of the James River yet to be determined and understood.

Little is known about the biology and life history of the sturgeon. There has been a significant decline in the number of fish in the past 100 years, due largely to overharvesting and the construction of dams that have altered its habitat. Between 1900 and 1920, nearby fisheries collapsed and the James River population was assumed to be extirpated as recently as 10 years ago. All populations of Atlantic sturgeon were given protection under the federal Endangered Species Act earlier this year. The James River fish are considered to be endangered.

In a new study published online this month in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, a journal of the American Fisheries Society, researchers report empirical evidence of fall spawning by the Atlantic sturgeon in the James River in Virginia. During the three-year study, the team captured and observed 125 adult Atlantic sturgeons to determine sex and stage of maturity, track movement of adults via ultrasonic tags and collect data and examine seasonal frequency of reported vessel strikes on sturgeon.

In the study, breaching of adult sturgeon was reported by a number of fishers, guides and watermen starting in August 2010 and lasting for several months. One female that was captured in the three-year window showed signs consistent with female sturgeon that had spawned recently.

One notable observation -- following the publication of the study -- was a spawning female sturgeon that was captured and released at the end of September 2012 near Hopewell, Va.

"There is still a lot about this population of Atlantic sturgeon that we do not know," said co-author Greg Garman, director of the VCU Center for Environmental Sciences.

"We're still in discovery mode and as we uncover new things we'll be much better able to protect and restore it. We need to learn how we can share this part of the James River with this iconic and now federally protected species," he said.

According to Garman, the VCU research team will next identify critical habitats used by Atlantic sturgeon in the James and try to understand more about the biology and ecology of young sturgeon, which reside in the river for several years before starting oceanic migrations. Research will focus on effective management and recovery of this unique species.

There are approximately 20 different species of sturgeon worldwide and almost all of those are in peril of some form. Individual populations within the species have been extirpated -- completely lost beyond recovery.

Garman, together with Matthew T. Balazik, doctoral candidate in the VCU Interdisciplinary Life Sciences program in VCU Life Sciences, with the VCU Center for Environmental Studies, collaborated with colleagues from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of California and University of Maryland.

This study was supported in part by grants from the VCU Rice Center and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish America Foundation.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthew T. Balazik, Greg C. Garman, Joel P. Van Eenennaam, Jerre Mohler, L. Curry Woods. Empirical Evidence of Fall Spawning by Atlantic Sturgeon in the James River, Virginia. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 2012; 141 (6): 1465 DOI: 10.1080/00028487.2012.703157

Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "Fall spawning by Atlantic sturgeon in Virginia river." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015093916.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2012, October 15). Fall spawning by Atlantic sturgeon in Virginia river. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015093916.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "Fall spawning by Atlantic sturgeon in Virginia river." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015093916.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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