As many mother’s spend time with their children and grandchildren on May 8, scientists with the Comprehensive Sturgeon Research Project (CSRP) are following some future mothers swimming their hearts. These moms-to-be are dedicated to finding the best place to ensure a good start for their offspring. Scientists are tracking seven reproductive female pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River this spring. Six of the seven are in the Upper Study Section which starts near the Platte River and extends to Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, South Dakota. That’s a lot of mileage to cover with our relatively small, devoted staff. This often translates into long hours on the river and the road every spring. Sometimes simply leaving a migrating pallid sturgeon overnight results in hours of searching the next day. So, leaving one for a whole day, especially in early May, could result in “losing” track of the fish for many days or, even worse, missing the whole spawning event. Spawning is the main event we prepare for all year. The event happens once every 3 -5 years for a mature female, and it can tell us so much about the health of individual fish, as well as the entire species.
So, Moms, Grandmas, Wives, Husbands, and children of the devoted scientists on the Comprehensive Sturgeon Research Project, please forgive our absence and inability to make plans in spring. We are at the whim of the sturgeon.
Caleb Troutt, biologist on the CSRP since 2005, has missed many spring-time family festivities because of his devotion to sturgeon. Still, Caleb’s Grandma never misses a chance to remind him to be safe. Thanks, Grandma.