A re-emergent spawning population of Atlantic Sturgeon in the Connecticut River? Combined age analyses and telemetry data will provide new insights.
Connecticut Sea Grant Program (NOAA)
Our co-PIs from CTDEEP:
- Tom Savoy
- Jacqueline Benway
- Deborah Pacileo
Feb 2020 - Feb 2022 ($150,000)
The potential re-emergence of spawning Atlantic sturgeon in the Connecticut River would be a major and highly welcome achievement of decades of conservation efforts by state agencies. But to corroborate this development and to ensure its further success, existing age and telemetry data need to be analyzed now and taken into consideration.
Objective 1 will analyze sections of sturgeon pectoral fin spines, collected 1988-2019. Annuli will be marked and measured in calibrated digital images. Population age-length relationships will be derived and longitudinal measurements used to reconstruct individual growth curves. Comparisons to published values will test for the occurrence of possible mature spawners in the collection.
Objective 2 will analyze >2 million detections of acoustically tagged Atlantic sturgeons. We will perform hotspot analyses to identify overall areas of high seasonal occupancy and analyze individual movement profiles. Meta-data such as length/weight, temperature, river discharge and habitat characteristics will also be included.
Objective 3 will target historic and newly identified sites to actively search for spawning Atlantic sturgeon. We will use short-term deployments of large mesh gill nets to capture mature, pre-spawned Atlantic sturgeon.