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Early Life History Dynamics Of Lake Sturgeon

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dc.contributor.author Caroffino, David C.
dc.date.accessioned 2018-08-06T22:37:30Z
dc.date.available 2018-08-06T22:37:30Z
dc.date.issued 2009
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11122/9004
dc.description Thesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2009
dc.description.abstract Populations of lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens in the Laurentian Great Lakes have not recovered after dramatic declines in the late 1800s despite the implementation of numerous recovery plans. Although extensive lake sturgeon research has and continues to occur, critical knowledge gaps remain. Recruitment of lake sturgeon is variable, but the extent of that variation, its limiting factors, and mortality rates experienced by early life stages are unclear. The purpose of this study was to increase our understanding of lake sturgeon early life stages by examining characteristics of a remnant population in the Peshtigo River, Wisconsin. Specifically, this research sought to empirically estimate rates of early life stage mortality, describe the vertical distribution of drifting larvae, evaluate the impacts of predation on recruitment, and describe patterns in movement and abundance of age-0 juveniles. Extensive sampling of lake sturgeon eggs, larvae, age-0 juveniles, and potential predators occurred during 2006 and 2007. Although drifting lake sturgeon larvae were captured in all parts of the water column, more were found near the surface than the substrate. After drifting to nursery areas, individuals exhibited variable movement patterns. Some fish were never recaptured more than 10 m from the initial capture site, while other individuals moved more than 9 km. Even though absolute abundance of juveniles differed by an order of magnitude between 2006 and 2007, a pattern of steady decline during the summer months was similar during both years. This downstream movement may have resulted in emigration from the Peshtigo River, as there was no evidence of predation on this life stage. Overall mortality from the egg to age-0 juvenile life stage exceeded 99.9% in both study years. Predation on eggs was extensive by both crayfish and fish (white sucker Catostomus commersonii ), but was minimal on other life stages. These results suggest that recruitment can vary significantly, and predation is likely only limiting at the egg life stage. These results will allow more effective monitoring and management of lake sturgeon early life stages, thereby promoting population recovery.
dc.subject Aquatic sciences
dc.title Early Life History Dynamics Of Lake Sturgeon
dc.type Thesis
dc.type.degree phd
dc.identifier.department Fisheries Division


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