Date of Award

9-21-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.

Department

Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research

First Advisor

Pitcher, Trevor

Rights

CC-BY-NC-ND

Abstract

Ex-situ conservation practices are often becoming essential to maintain biodiversity and prevent the extirpation of vulnerable species. Huron-Erie Corridor populations of Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) are currently undergoing restoration efforts. Knowledge is currently limited regarding the most effective supportive breeding program practices for Lake Sturgeon. Our research focused on two potential barriers to a successful restoration program. Some adult Lake Sturgeon rely on home site fidelity to find appropriate spawning grounds. To ensure successful restoration of captively released sturgeon, we examined whether amino acid embryological exposure affected chemotactic behaviour. We found that juvenile Lake Sturgeon exposed to amino acids during rearing had no significantly apparent chemotactic response when exposed to the same cues as juveniles. Furthermore, tracking the movement patterns of these released juvenile sturgeon is critical to establish the success of a program and can be done by implanting acoustic telemetry tags. Laboratory studies were used to determine whether these tags impacted swimming performance, growth, and survival in juvenile sturgeon. Our results showed that acoustic tags representing up to ~5% of total body weight have no significant effects on swimming performance, growth, or survival. Collectively, this thesis aimed to contribute to the reintroduction efforts of an imperilled species through understanding potential barriers to success.

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