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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Student Research-in-Progress Poster Display. Reproductive Ecology of Shovelnose Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) in the Wabash River

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AUTHOR: Jessica Thornton, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: The shovelnose sturgeon population in the Wabash River provides an important fishery for both Illinois and Indiana, and may be one of the last viable options for commercial roe harvest. The Wabash River is unique in the fact that it features 661 km of free-flowing river, providing important habitat for shovelnose who complete their life history in the river. Our current study involving the dynamics of this population indicate that the size structure and condition of these fish have declined over the past decade. We believe that better management of this species requires additional life history studies. There are currently no published studies that have successfully captured shovelnose eggs on substrate; therefore, the primary goal of this study is to fill the knowledge gaps pertaining to shovelnose spawning habitat selection. In spring 2017, we randomly placed 25 egg collection mats at a site where flowing females have been previously captured. The mats were checked for egg deposition at least every four days, though we only identified eggs deposited by other fish species. Difficulties related to sampling and study design include the "needle in a haystack" nature of the study, and an environment with extreme turbidity, high discharge, and variable water level. The conditions in the river have caused us to reassess our methods and materials. We seek to address those issues in the upcoming spring, and upon capture of shovelnose eggs, we will conduct a habitat assessment aimed at characterizing the physical attributes of the location where eggs are found.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer

Attendees (4)