Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC) crews assisted USGS biologist Pat Braaten and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Jason Rhoten in examining pallid sturgeon on the Yellowstone River from June 29 through July 8. Various pallid sturgeon were located and attempts were made to track their pathways, map their habitat, and conduct underwater sonar surveys using dual frequency identification sonar (DIDSON) to learn about their behavior. Read more about DIDSON on an earlier blog post.
One telemetered pallid sturgeon, also known as female code 79, was located on the downstream tip of an island. She had been re-located at this spot several times during the course of the summer. The depth of the habitat surrounding the island was mapped while another boat attempted to DIDSON the fish. The following DIDSON video visualizes swimming behavior of pallid sturgeon female code 79 (larger fish) along with two smaller fish in the fast-moving environment of the Yellowstone River. The two smaller fish are likely sturgeon, but it is nearly impossible to distinguish between pallid sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon at that size. While viewing the following video, notice the high amount of sand passing through the habitat location.