Habitat and prey availability attributes associated with juvenile and early adult pallid sturgeon occurrence in the Missouri River, USA

Endangered Species Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

The pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus is a federally endangered species native to the Missouri and lower Mississippi Rivers, USA. As part of recovery efforts, over 360000 pallid sturgeon have been stocked into the Missouri River since 1994, and a standardized, long-term monitoring program was initiated in 2003. Understanding the distribution and habitat requirements of juvenile and early adult pallid sturgeon (fork length <720 mm, age <10 yr) is an important goal of the monitoring and recovery programs. In this study, we collected information on habitat characteristics and prey availability from the upper Missouri River along the Nebraska-South Dakota border and compared these attributes between capture (present) and non-capture (absent) locations (N = 59). To evaluate the relative influence of habitat and prey availability on pallid sturgeon occurrence, we examined several candidate models using an information-theoretic approach. A prey availability model had the most support and included site-specific information on Diptera and Ephemeroptera abundance. A habitat-based model showed that juveniles and early adults were found in relatively deeper water and avoided areas where bottom velocities were greater than 1.2 m s−1. Although not as well supported as the prey-effects model (evidence ratio = 6.4), habitat features also provided a plausible model for predicting occurrence. The models developed here could be used to evaluate pallid sturgeon habitat potential in the Missouri River basin and help guide future monitoring and conservation management of this endangered species.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Habitat and prey availability attributes associated with juvenile and early adult pallid sturgeon occurrence in the Missouri River, USA
Series title Endangered Species Research
DOI 10.3354/esr00408
Volume 16
Issue 3
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Inter-Research
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 10 p.
First page 225
Last page 234
Country United States
Other Geospatial Missouri River
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