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Columbia River Project water use plan: Mid Columbia sturgeon incubation and rearing study (year 2)

March 31, 2011

This report describes the results from the second year of a three-year investigation on the effects of different thermal regimes on incubation and rearing early life stages of white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus. The Columbia River has been significantly altered by the construction of dams resulting in annual flows and water temperatures that differ from historical levels. White sturgeon have been demonstrated to spawn in two very distinct sections of the Columbia River in British Columbia, Canada, which are both located immediately downstream of hydropower facilities. The thermal regimes differ substantially between these two areas. The general approach of this study was to incubate and rear white sturgeon early life stages under two thermal regimes; one mimicking the current, cool water regime of the Columbia River downstream from Revelstoke Dam, and one mimicking a warmer regime similar to conditions found on the Columbia River at the international border. Second-year results suggest that thermal regimes during incubation influence rate of egg development and size at hatch. Eggs incubated under the warm thermal regime hatched sooner than those incubated under the cool thermal regime. Mean length of free embryos at hatch was significantly different between thermal regimes with free embryos from the warm thermal regime being longer at hatch. However, free embryos from the cool thermal regime had a significantly higher mean weight at hatch. This is in contrast with results obtained during 2009. The rearing trials revealed that growth of fish reared in the cool thermal regime was substantially less than growth of fish reared in the warm thermal regime. The magnitude of mortality was greatest in the warm thermal regime prior to initiation of exogenous feeding, but chronic low levels of mortality in the cool thermal regime were higher throughout the period. The starvation trials showed that the fish in the warm thermal regime exhausted their yolk reserves faster than fish in the cool thermal regime.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Columbia River Project water use plan: Mid Columbia sturgeon incubation and rearing study (year 2)
Authors Michael J. Parsley, Eric Kofoot, J. Timothy Blubaugh
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Index ID 70179138
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center

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