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December 6, 2021

Little is understood about the behavior, location, and habitat preferences of juvenile Gulf sturgeon. To learn more about this prehistoric fish, the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Florida, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are studying Gulf sturgeon in the Choctawhatchee River, Florida.

Based on the juvenile Gulf sturgeon data gathered in the Florida CRU study, fishery managers will identify appropriate strategies to improve species recovery. The researchers are tracking juvenile movement with acoustic telemetry, where strategically placed stationary telemetry receivers sense fish with implanted sonic tags as they swim past. The sound frequencies travel between the fish and the underwater receiver and a signal is recorded, like a car with a transponder passing through an electronic toll booth. This technique yields tens of thousands of detections with minimal effort, and it enables researchers to see when and where juvenile Gulf sturgeon are in the estuary and river.

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