Shortnose sturgeons still threatened - The Process

Last updated on Tue, 2014-04-15 16:06. Originally submitted by Jenny on 2011-06-17 15:47.

EOL shortnose sturgeon

Your team will:

1.     Research the biology of anadromous fish.

2.     Research the geographic distribution of the shortnose sturgeon.

3.     Research the ecosystem importance of anadromous fish.

4.     Research sustainable habitat mitigation projects such as dam removal.

5.     Develop a plan to study the effect of a habitat mitigation project on shortnose sturgeons.

6.     Create a presentation to secure funding for your study.

Divide the tasks 1 though 4 among your group members so that each person has one research task. Work together to complete tasks 5 and 6.


Task 1. The Biology of Anadromous Fish

The Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhinchus) and the shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum).are anadromous, bottom-feeding fish that live on the Atlantic coast of North America. Both species migrate from the sea to freshwater to spawn.

The Question: Why are anadromous fish so sensitive to habitat changes?

Explore the biology of Atlantic and shortnose sturgeons at NEFSC NOAA and NOAA Office of Protected Resources web sites.


Task 2. Geographic Distribution of Acipenser brevirostrum

The Question: Where are shortnose sturgeons found?

Create a map showing the geographic distribution of the shortnose sturgeon using the OBIS Portal. At the portal, select the "Search Data" tab and then “Click search and browse taxa". Enter the scientific name of the shortnose sturgeon, Acipenser brevirostrum "Click to search and browse datasets." When the database search is complete, select "Update map".Once the map appears, you may change its orientation by using the menu above the map. If you would like to save a map click on "Show results" then click "Download" then click "WMS", Show background", and "Save as Image".

How does geography explain the occurrence of the species? What geography related factors have influenced the population of the shortnose sturgeon? Look for clues at NOAA Office of Protected Resources.


Task 3. Why care about the shortnose sturgeon

Sturgeons are very long-lived animals and they mature late. Shortnose sturgeon females can get as old as 67 years of age and the maximum age for males is about 30 years. Shortnose sturgeons were often taken incidentally in the commercial fishery for Atlantic sturgeon. Its population started to decline in the 1950s due to over-fishing, construction of dams and pollution. The shortnose sturgeon has been endangered since the 1960s.

The Question: Why should humans care about preserving sturgeons?

Learn more about the importance of shortnose sturgeons at NOAA web site. Read about the Sturgeon Salvage Network which aim is to improve documentation of shortnose sturgeons found dead in the wild.


Task 4. Sustainable Habitat Management

The reproductive success of the shortnose sturgeon depends on the health of the freshwater habitat it uses for spawning. Habitat degradation and destruction are principal threats to populations of shortnose sturgeon.

The Question: What are some possible sustainable habitat management strategies?

Learn more about the protection of shortnose sturgeons and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) at NOAA. The American Rivers web site and its blog on dams gives useful information. Read about Edwards Dam removal.


Task 5. The Plan

Since you are a team of research scientists, your plan will need the following parts:

1.     Research question- State the question that your research project will answer.

2.     Background information- Provide information that someone would need to know in order to understand your plan. Be sure to cite sources of information. This is the place to put information about shortnose sturgeon biology, geographic distribution, ecological importance of shortnose sturgeons, and sustainable habitat management methods.

3.     Hypothesis- A statement that describes the expected outcome of your project.

4.     Materials- What you will need to conduct your research or implement your project and why these are essential.

5.     Procedure- List the steps you would take to conduct your research.

6.     Why your team thinks the plan will work- Link this to shortnose sturgeon survival and sustainability of their populations. Show a cause and effect relationship.


Task 6. The Presentation

Now it's time to sell your plan. There's only so much money to go around. Will your presentation convince the foundation to fund your research? Your presentation should include all the elements of your team's plan. Use visual aids such as maps, pictures, charts, tables, and/or an outline of key points. The presentation may be done using a computer-based presentation program or overhead transparencies. Each person should be responsible for presenting at least one part of the plan.

·       The Introduction

·       Conclusion

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