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Potential effects of climate change on Acipenser fulvescens (lake sturgeon)

September 1, 2023

Acipenser fulvescens (Rafinesque, 1817; lake sturgeon) are the only sturgeon species native to the Great Lakes region and are threatened across most of their range. They are historically vulnerable because of overfishing and habitat fragmentation with the potential for climate change acting as an increasing stressor in the future. Lake sturgeon span multiple habitats during their long lifespans, including high gradient streams, nearshore areas, and deep rivers and lakes. Climate change is projected to strongly affect the suitability of these habitats through increasing precipitation and temperatures and decreasing ice cover and snowmelt. Changes in flow timing and amount can affect movement to spawning and nursery sites, and increased water temperatures are likely to affect species activity patterns, survival, and prey availability. Ultimately, the Great Lakes region is expected to face wide ranging effects from climate change, which may have positive and negative effects on lake sturgeon depending on a variety of factors, including the life stages affected, habitat availability, and interactions with other stressors, but all shifts are likely to affect spawning. Importantly, several areas of further research would be beneficial to understanding the complex effects of climate change on lake sturgeon.

Publication Year 2023
Title Potential effects of climate change on Acipenser fulvescens (lake sturgeon)
DOI 10.3133/ofr20211104E
Authors Holly S. Embke, Catherine A. Nikiel, Marta P. Lyons
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2021-1104
Index ID ofr20211104E
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center