Old Faithful???

Perhaps one of the most interesting fish in the CRSP’s portfolio is male pallid sturgeon PLS08-006.  This individual was originally implanted with a telemetry device in the spring of 2008 and has since been located on 93 occasions between river miles 582 and 641.  In the past, the movement pattern of PSL08-006 has consisted of an upstream migration in the fall, followed by a downstream migration in the spring.  USGS ecologist Aaron DeLonay believes that spawning may have previously occurred between river miles 638-641 (the area of the river where the fish has been located in the spring).  Interestingly, PLS08-006 has made this migration regardless of his reproductive condition.  For the first time in four years, PLS08-006 has not returned to his annual upstream location, leaving CRSP biologists to wonder what has changed.  Biologists are also wondering what is so special about river mile 582-583 during the summer and early fall?  The fish’s behavior indicates a keen sense of spatial awareness and a strong, long-term pattern of fidelity to multiple locations, but why? If this pattern is common among pallid sturgeon, what would such a strong level of fidelity mean for population recovery and habitat construction efforts?  Along with its telemetry transmitter, PLS08-006 was also implanted with a data storage tag (DST) that records temperature and depth at a 15 minute interval everywhere the fish travels (see previous post “Where Are You When I’m Not Looking”).  When downloaded, the data from the DST device may be able to give biologists valuable insight into PLS08-006’s migratory patterns.  Until then, we will continue to track this fascinating male and his travels in the Missouri river.

Telemetry locations of male pallid sturgeon PLS08-006 from March 2008 through May 2012.

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