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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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Contrary to conventional wisdom for shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), we document shortnose sturgeon use of habitats beyond large rivers. Telemetry data from 2008 to 2010 in the Gulf of Maine demonstrates that adult shortnose sturgeon (up to 70%) frequently move between Maine’s two largest rivers, the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers. Even more interesting, small rivers located between these watersheds were used by 52% of the coastal migrants. Small river use was not trivial, 80% of observed movements extended more than 10 km upstream. However, visits were short in duration. This pattern indicates one of several possibilities: directed use of resources, searching behaviors related to reproduction (i.e. straying)...
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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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Identification of potential critical habitat, seasonal distributions, and movements within and between river systems is important for protecting the Gulf of Maine (GOM) Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic Sturgeon. To accomplish these objectives, we captured Atlantic Sturgeon in four GOM rivers (Penobscot, Kennebec system, Saco, and Merrimack), and tagged 144 (83.3–217.4 cm TL) internally with uniquely coded acoustic transmitters. Tagged fish were detected between 2006 to 2014 by primary receiver arrays deployed in the four GOM rivers or opportunistically on a secondary group of receivers deployed within the GOM and along the continental shelf. Atlantic Sturgeon tagged in the four rivers were documented at three...
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Relatively little is known about the distribution and seasonal movement patterns of shortnose sturgeon Acipenser brevirostrum and Atlantic sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus occupying rivers in the northern part of their range. During 2006 and 2007, 40 shortnose sturgeon (66–113.4 cm fork length [FL]) and 8 Atlantic sturgeon (76.2–166.2 cm FL) were captured in the Penobscot River, Maine, implanted with acoustic transmitters, and monitored using an array of acoustic receivers in the Penobscot River estuary and Penobscot Bay. Shortnose sturgeon were present year round in the estuary and overwintered from fall (mid-October) to spring (mid-April) in the upper estuary. In early spring, all individuals moved downstream...