Navigation Links
UGA researchers study threats to white sturgeon
Date:8/8/2011

Athens, Ga. University of Georgia researchers are working to understand why the nation's largest freshwater fish, the white sturgeon, is struggling in northern California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, an environmentally endangered area suffering from declining fish populations and pollution.

Doug Peterson and Robert Bringolf, both with the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, have begun work on the one-year, $200,000 joint project funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They will focus on two key objectives:

Determine which contaminants in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta might be hampering efforts to help the sturgeon population recover. The results of this project will determine the focus of future research projects, Bringolf said.

Evaluate the swimming performance of juvenile and sub-adult white sturgeon to better understand habitat needs at different life stages. "The white sturgeon has a complex life cycle that requires a diverse set of marine, estuarine and freshwater habitats," Peterson said. "By understanding how swimming performance of white sturgeon changes under different conditions, fisheries managers will be better able to protect critical habitats and to monitor populations in the wild."

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is home to approximately 22 fish species, including the delta smelt, which is now on the endangered species list. It is also a popular recreation destination and an ideal location for agriculture because of its fertile soil. But the delta has been suffering from deteriorating levees, environmental pollution and declining fish populations. The white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), a popular recreational fishery with a significant economic impact, is one of those fish under strife from the delta's problems.

Bringolf plans to perform a preliminary screening of the contaminants in fish tissue to determine which are accumulating in the sturgeon. He'll also examine gonad histology to determine if those contaminants are altering the structure or function of the sturgeon's reproductive ability. It is possible, he said, that the male fish are becoming "feminized," and are developing eggs in their testes as a result of chemical exposures. Recently, Bringolf and graduate student Kristen Kellock found male bass with eggs in their testes occurring in rivers, lakes and ponds across Georgia. Bringolf and other researchers theorize that "environmental estrogens" could be behind the gonad abnormalities, most likely because of the hormones and synthetic estrogens often found in birth control and other medications that make their way into an area's wastewater.

"Identification of contaminants and their effects on the reproductive system of white sturgeon could lead to more targeted management strategies for sturgeon recovery," Bringolf said. "Many chemicals enter the water through runoff (non-point source pollution), but others come from specific sources such as industrial or municipal wastewater discharge (point source pollution). Point source pollution is more easily remedied, but effective strategies for reducing non-point source pollution are available and becoming increasingly common."

While Bringolf is checking for contaminants, Peterson will be evaluating the swimming performance of white sturgeon under various environmental conditions. Determining sturgeon swimming ability is key to research into their survival, Peterson explained.

"Changes in dissolved oxygen, temperature and current velocity can dramatically affect the energetic costs incurred by swimming sturgeon. By determining how these variables affect the energy budgets of sturgeon, we will be better able to understand the critical linkages between habitat and population dynamics," he said.The results of these experiments will be used to design sampling protocols for a much broader study of the wild population in subsequent years. Peterson will visit California this fall to meet with local fisheries managers and to collect preliminary population data.

Peterson plans to transport about 100 of the 35-pound sturgeons to his research lab at the 65-acre Cohutta Fisheries Center in northwest Georgia, where his team plans to utilize a high-tech swimming chamber that resembles a "fish racetrack" that will allow researchers to measure swimming ability at different current velocities through a calibrated viewing window.

Bringolf and Peterson expect their project to be renewed yearly for another four years.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sandi Martin
smartin@warnell.uga.edu
706-542-2079
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
2. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
3. Researchers find an essential gene for forming ears of corn
4. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. UI researchers find potentially toxic substance present in Chicago air
9. Researchers develop new self-training gene prediction program for fungi
10. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
11. Childrens National researchers develop novel anti-tumor vaccine
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market ... the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is ... as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016  A new partnership announced ... accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction of the ... priced and high-value life insurance policies to consumers ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine ... readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... AVIV, Israel , April 14, 2016 ... Behavioral Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment ... already assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership ... BioCatch, on the heels of the deployment of its ... addition, BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... SANTA MONICA, Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer ... to pioneer increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of ... 77 institutions across 15 countries. Read More About the ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the ... future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to market. , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced ... of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials ... dose studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, ... in healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects ... single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June 23, 2016 ... the trading session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones ... the S&P 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ... BIND Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more ...
Breaking Biology Technology: