Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus, Acipenseridae) populations in the United States were listed as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2012. Because of the endangered/threatened status, a better understanding of Atlantic sturgeon life-history behavior and habitat use is important for effective management. It has been widely documented that Atlantic sturgeon reproduction occurs from late winter to early summer, varying clinally with latitude. However, recent data show Atlantic sturgeon also spawn later in the year. The group that spawns later in the year seems to be completely separate from the spring spawning run. Recognition of the later spawning season has drastically modified estimates of the population status of Atlantic sturgeon in Virginia. With the combination of new telemetry data and historical documentation we describe a dual spawning strategy that likely occurs in various degrees along most, if not all, of the Atlantic sturgeon's range. Using new data combined with historical sources, a new spawning strategy emerges which managers and researchers should note when determining the status of Atlantic sturgeon populations and implementing conservation measures.
ACIPENSER-OXYRINCHUS; SUWANNEE RIVER; SOUTH-CAROLINA; GULF STURGEON; NORTH-AMERICA; LIFE-HISTORY; JAMES RIVER; MANAGEMENT; VIRGINIA; ESTUARY
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
This work was supported by grant #7381, Professional Association of Diving Instructors Foundation (http://www.padifoundation.org/) to MTB, and NOAA Section 6 grant #NA13NMF4720037, National Marine Fisheries Service (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/state_federal/State-Federal-WEB/afca.htm) to GCG.
Balazik MT, Musick JA (2015) Dual Annual Spawning Races in Atlantic Sturgeon. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0128234. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128234