The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC), in collaboration with researchers from the University of Missouri and Iowa State University, is conducting research to address effects of climate change on sturgeon populations (Scaphirhynchus spp.) in the Missouri River.
The CERC is conducting laboratory, field, and modeling research to identify causative factors for the responses of fish populations to natural and human-induced environmental changes and using this information to understand sensitivity of sturgeon populations to potential climate change in the Missouri River drainage basin. Sturgeon response information is being used to parameterize models predicting future population trends. These models will provide a set of tools for natural resource managers to assess management strategies in the context of global climate change.
This research complements and builds on the ongoing Comprehensive Sturgeon Research Program (CSRP) at the CERC. The CSRP is designed to provide information critical to restoration of the Missouri River ecosystem and the endangered pallid sturgeon (S. albus). Current research is being funded by USGS through the National Climate Change Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) and the Science Support Partnership (SSP) Program that is held by the USGS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The national mission of the NCCWSC is to improve the capacity of fish and wildlife agencies to respond to climate change and to address high-priority climate change effects on fish and wildlife. Within the national context, the NCCWSC research on the Missouri River focuses on temporal and spatial downscaling and associated uncertainty in modeling climate change effects on sturgeon species in the Missouri River. The SSP research focuses on improving survival and population estimates for pallid sturgeon population models.