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Michael T. Kinnison

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Efforts to conserve endangered species usually involve attempts to define and manage threats at the appropriate scale of population processes. In some species that scale is localized; in others, dispersal and migration link demic units within larger metapopulations. Current conservation strategies for endangered shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) assume the species is river resident, with little to no movement between rivers. However we have found that shortnose sturgeon travel more than 130 km through coastal waters between the largest rivers in Maine. Indeed, acoustic telemetry shows that shortnose sturgeon enter six out of the seven acoustically monitored rivers we have monitored, with over 70% of tagged...
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The imperiled status of sturgeons worldwide places priority on the identification and protection of critical habitats. We assessed the micro-structural and micro-chemical scope for a novel calcified structure, dorsal scutes, to be used for reconstruction of past habitat use and group separation in shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum). Dorsal scutes contained a dual-layered structure composed of a thin multi-layered translucent zone lying dorsally above a thicker multi-layered zone. Banding in the thick multi-layered zone correlated strongly with pectoral fin spine annuli supporting the presence of chronological structuring that could contain a chemical record of past environmental exposure. Trace element...
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Movement of shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) among major river systems in the Gulf of Maine is common and has implications for the management of this endangered species. Directed movements of 61 telemetered individuals monitored between 2010 and 2013 were associated with the river of tagging and individual characteristics. While a small proportion of fish tagged in the Kennebec River moved to the Penobscot River (5%), a much higher proportion of fish tagged in the Penobscot River moved to the Kennebec River (66%), during probable spawning windows. This suggests that Penobscot River fish derive from a migratory contingent within a larger Kennebec River population. Despite this connectivity, fish captured...
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Evidence has become available in this century indicating that populations of the endangered Shortnose Sturgeon Acipenser brevirostrum migrate outside their natal river systems, but the full extent and functional basis of these migrations are not well understood. Between 2007 and 2013, 40 Shortnose Sturgeon captured and tagged in four Gulf of Maine river systems migrated long distances in coastal waters to reach the Kennebec System where their movements were logged by an acoustic receiver array. Twenty-one (20%) of 104 Shortnose Sturgeon tagged in the Penobscot River, two (50%) of four tagged in the Kennebec System, one (50%) of two tagged in the Saco River, and 16 (37%) of 43 tagged in the Merrimack River moved...
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Shortnose Sturgeon = SNS (Acipenser brevirostrum) is a small diadromous species with most populations living in large Atlantic coast rivers and estuaries of North America from New Brunswick, Canada, to GA, USA. There are no naturally landlocked populations, so all populations require access to fresh water and salt water to complete a natural life cycle. The species is amphidromous with use of fresh water and salt water (the estuary) varied across the species range, a pattern that may reflect whether freshwater or saltwater habitats provide optimal foraging and growth conditions. Migration is a dominant behavior during life history, beginning when fish are hatchling free embryos (southern SNS) or larvae (northeastern...
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