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Sturgeon Videos

Approaching a Sturgeon Set Line


LSSU Aquatic Research Lab and U.S Fish and Wildlife Service staff approach a set line deployed for sturgeon in the St. Marys River. For more than five years, Lake Superior State University has been collecting data on lake sturgeon, an endangered fish species, inhabiting the St. Marys River. Since 2000 they have captured and tagged more than 90 lake sturgeon within the St. Marys estuary.

Sonic Transponder Tags in Sturgeon


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Scott Koproski comments on the sonic transponders implanted into sturgeon on the St. Marys River. Sturgeon are tracked by boat. When a fish is "heard" and pinpointed, its position gets marked with a GPS point. This lets researchers determine a sturgeon’s seasonal use of habitat and allows biologists to get a idea behind the seasonal movement of sturgeon within the St. Marys. Fish are tracked until they leave the estuary or batteries in the tags expire after four years.

"PIT" Tag Implanted into Sturgeon


LSSU Fisheries student Meghan Kline shows us what a PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tag looks like shortly before she implants it into a captured sturgeon. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Scott Koproski explains the function of a PIT tag as Kline sets it into the fish. LSSU Aquatic Research Lab Co-Director Ashley Moerke then verifies the implanted tag with a hand-held scanner. This type of tag is exactly like the implanted microchips that are popular with pet owners. Sturgeon caught for the first time are fitted with a PIT tag, along with an external “Floy” cinch tag secured to the dorsal fin.

Weighing Surgeon


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Scott Koproski ropes and hefts a hooked lake sturgeon out of the St. Marys River. All sturgeon are measured for total length, fork length, girth, and weight. In addition to these measurements, a small section of the left pectoral fin ray is removed for age determination and genetic analysis. First-time catches get implanted with external Floy and internal PIT microchip tags. Sonic telemetry tags are only implanted in lake sturgeon that exceeded 50 inches (125 cm) in length.

“Listening” for Sturgeon


LSSU Fisheries student Meghan Kline “listens” for sonic signals from a transponder implanted in a sturgeon. Looking on is U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Scott Koproski and LSSU Aquatic Research Lab Co-Director Ashley Moerke. Sturgeons are tracked by boat. When a fish is "heard" and pinpointed, its position gets marked with a GPS point. This lets researchers determine a sturgeon’s seasonal use of habitat and allows biologists to get a idea behind the seasonal movement of sturgeon within the St. Marys. Fish are tracked until they leave the estuary or batteries in the tags expire after four years.

Implanting Sonic Tag in Sturgeon


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Scott Koproski, LSSU Aquatic Research Lab Co-Director Ashley Moerke, and LSSU fisheries student Meghan Kline implant a sonic transponder tag into a sturgeon through a straightforward surgical procedure that’s harmless to the fish. Sonic telemetry tags are only implanted into lake sturgeon more than 50 inches (125 cm) long. So far this year, 11 sturgeon caught on the St. Marys River have been large enough for sonic tags. Fish are tracked until they leave the estuary or batteries in the tags expire after four years.

LSSU Teams Up for Sturgeon Survey


Aquatic Research Lab Co-Director Ashley Moerke comments on agencies and organizations involved with LSSU on this summer’s St. Marys River lake sturgeon tagging and survey project. In 2005, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alpena Fishery Resource Office, Lake Superior State University, Bay Mills Indian Community, and the Soo Area Sportsmen Club partnered on a proposal submitted to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to continue and expand the scope of the work in 2006.

Student Research Opportunities through LSSU


LSSU fisheries student Meghan Kline explains her studies at Lake Superior State as well as her work with this summer’s sturgeon survey on the St. Marys River. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation fully funded the project, which began in May. Its main goal is to identify critical habitat utilized by lake sturgeon in the St. Marys River estuary by tracking fish implanted with sonic telemetry tags. This information will help managers restore and protect habitat necessary for the recovery of this unique fish. Kline plans to base her senior-year thesis project on this year’s work. Meghan Kline is from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

"Floy" Tag attached to Sturgeon


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Biologist Scott Koproski explains the function of a “Floy” tag before Lake Superior State University fisheries student Meghan Kline attaches it to a sturgeon’s dorsal fin. Fishermen who legally catch the fish return this tag, alongs with its serial-numbered information, to LSSU’s Aquatic Lab or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For more than five years, Lake Superior State University has been collecting data from lake sturgeon, an endangered fish species that inhabit the St. Marys River. Since 2000 they have captured and tagged over 90 lake sturgeon.

Hauling in a Sturgeon for Weighing and Tagging


Staff with the LSSU Aquatic Research Lab and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service haul in a hooked sturgeon in the St. Marys River. As of the end of July, over 200 set lines were deployed and lifted, yielding more than 55 lake sturgeon. Sturgeon caught for the first time have an external “Floy” cinch tag secured to the dorsal fin, along with an internal PIT (passive integrated transponder) tag. Captured sturgeon are measured for total length, fork length, girth, and weight. For more than five years, Lake Superior State University has been collecting data on lake sturgeon, an endangered fish species that inhabits the St. Marys River. Since 2000 they have captured and tagged more than 90 lake sturgeon within the St. Marys estuary.

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