Category Archives: Early life history

Still Catching Free Embryo Sturgeon

By Alexandra Laboile, Kimberly Chojnacki, and Aaron DeLonay Previous studies by CSRP scientists and others have indicated that the timing and duration of spawning for paddlefish and sturgeon in the Missouri River are dependent upon water temperature.  Each spring for … Continue reading

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A Change Will Do You Good

By Aaron DeLonay, Amy George, and Kimberly Chojnacki Rows of hatching jars lined the shelves in the laboratory at USGS this spring and summer.  In each jar, pallid sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon gently tumbled in the 18 °C water as … Continue reading

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One Down, Several to Go

On May 7th, the CSRP sampling crew on the Missouri River in Nebraska reported the first free embryo capture of the season. Crews equipped with fine mesh nets have been sampling the Missouri and Platte Rivers for drifting embryos since … Continue reading

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We’ve Only Just Begun

After a long, cold winter, the Redbud and Dogwood trees are blooming and water temperatures are rising (Figure 1).  Spring seems to have finally sprung, and fish, and hopefully the endangered pallid sturgeon among them, will soon be spawning.  In … Continue reading

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A Rocky Start

If asked to describe the first few weeks of a baby pallid sturgeon’s life in the Missouri River, most biologists will tell you the embryos attach to a hard surface, develop, hatch, and enter the fast-flowing water to drift downstream.  … Continue reading

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A Most Unexpected Event

USGS biologists captured a single drifting free-embryo sturgeon in their nets while sampling the Lower Missouri River near the confluence with the Mississippi River on August 22, 2012 (see photo below).  The tiny sturgeon was barely a half of an … Continue reading

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Catch My Drift?

The Missouri River is large, muddy, and turbulent. The complexity of the river can make it nearly impossible for scientists to observe the complete pallid sturgeon life cycle in the wild. Therefore, several studies concerning the early developmental stages of … Continue reading

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How to Drink From a Fire Hose

Since 2009, larval sampling efforts have focused on capturing newly hatched and drifting larvae immediately downstream of a suspected pallid sturgeon spawning site (see previous posts “Searching for a needle in a haystack” and “Panning for biological gold”).  In 2012 … Continue reading

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Panning for biological gold

  Telemetry crews tracked female pallid sturgeon PLS11-007 to her spawning location (see previous post An Early Spawning Recorded) on March 30 and 31.  Additional crews were deployed April 3 in an effort to confirm a successful spawning at this … Continue reading

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Which came first, the sturgeon or the egg?

While the Comprehensive Sturgeon Research Project (CSRP) at the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC) is focused on pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) and the closely-related shovelnose sturgeon (S. platorynchus), the CERC also conducts behavioral, physiological and toxicological research on other … Continue reading

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