Date of Award

7-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Science and Biology

Abstract

As an important step in a long-term stocking program, this project investigated the movement and habitat use of juvenile lake sturgeon after they were stocked in the lower Genesee River, New York. Nine young animals were selected to represent the population, ranging from two to three years of age and from 0.180 kg to 0.910 kg in weight. The young animals were implanted with internal radio transmitters; six of the nine radio-tagged animals provided useful tracking data. Their movements were monitored during the summer and fall of 2006. These fish aggregated often, with fish gathering occurring in 21% of all observations. The young fish traveled a total of 5.57 km to 22.03 km throughout the study period between tracking periods of 28 to 103 days. Based on a 24-hour survey, the fish traveled an average of 0.806 km/day. The juvenile fish occupied the southern sections of the lower Genesee River more frequently than other sections, with 57% of all locations occurring between rkm 7 and 9. River use was not randomly distributed (r} = 66.85, dF = 6, p-value 0.001 ). The fish occupied all depths, but most locations ( 49.1%) were within water 3. 0 m to 5. 0 m deep. A pronounced downstream movement to river kilometer 2.8 and 2.9 was recorded in mid-fall, when the water temperature dropped from 9°C to 5°C. Overall, the behavior of the stocked population in the lower Genesee River was comparable to other juvenile lake sturgeon naturally occurring in other systems. The findings from this study indicate that the stocked lake sturgeon move throughout the river and the stocking program is successful to the first years.

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