Use of Ultrasonic Telemetry to Monitor Sturgeon Movement: A Multistate Approach

Wednesday, August 20, 2014: 10:30 AM
204A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Bill C. Post , Marine Resources Research Institute, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Charleston, SC
Michael Loeffler , NCDMF, Moorehead City, NC
Chip Collier , NC Division of Marine Fisheries, Wilmington, NC
Joseph E. Hightower , Department of Applied Ecology, U.S. Geological Survey, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Douglas L. Peterson , Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) and Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus) occur throughout rivers and estuaries along the Atlantic Coast.  Past telemetry studies have been focused on single rivers or basin specific projects.  Beginning in 2010, a new multi-state telemetry program funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service was initiated to determine use of summer, winter, spawning, and critical habitats in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.  By having all states working together, the degree of interbasin transfer could also be discerned and analyzed.  Almost 600 ultrasonic receivers were placed in most major coastal river systems, connecting waterways, and near shore areas.  Receivers were generally deployed from the river mouth to potential spawning areas or the first barrier in the system.  Additionally, fellow researchers in the Northeastern states (Virginia to Connecticut) established similar funding which provided receiver coverage along the entire Atlantic coast with relatively few gaps .  Annual movement patterns of tagged sturgeon recorded by the receiver array for the last 3.5 years has not only filled in some missing data gaps, but has dramatically altered conventional wisdom for both species.  Involved researchers continue to share tagging and receiver download data allowing coast wide movements to be better understood.