Identifying Marine Habitat Preferences for Atlantic Sturgeon Using Auvs, Satellites, and Telemetry

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 3:40 PM
206A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Matthew W. Breece , Oceanography, University of Delaware, Lewes, DE
Dewayne A. Fox , Delaware State University, Dover, DE
Keith Dunton , School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Matthew Oliver , College of Earth Ocean and Environment, University of Delaware, Lewes, DE
The 2012 Endangered Species Act listing emphasized the need for improved understanding of Atlantic Sturgeon marine habitat requirements.  To aid in this understanding and facilitate management, we developed a spatial prediction for occurrence by linking detections of 395 telemetered adult and sub-adult Atlantic Sturgeon with water classes assignments derived from satellite ocean color observations (specifically remote sensing reflectance at 443 and 555 nm, and daytime sea surface temperature were used to classify water classes). Using a SLOCUM glider equipped with telemetry receivers we conducted a 79-day stratified sampling mission to test these predictions across the Lagrangian framework of water classes. Sampling continuously along the Delmarva Peninsula from April 10 to June 28, 2013, our glider detected 62 Atlantic Sturgeon in coastal waters at depths of 10-23 m, within 18 km of the coast, which were associated with specific water classes. In situ data from the glider indicate the preferred habitats for Atlantic Sturgeon are likely characterized by chlorophyll, CDOM, and temperature. Spatial predictions, derived from integrated observing technologies should facilitate management of Atlantic Sturgeon by identifying potential areas of increased bycatch and enhancing spatial planning for projects including power generation, ultimately enhancing the conservation and recovery of this imperiled species.