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Researchers use microphones to study the movements of lake sturgeon

Lake sturgeon
Wikimedia Commons
Lake sturgeon

Researchers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are tracking Sturgeon in the Saginaw River Systems and Bay by using acoustic receivers that pick up signals from transmitters that the fish were tagged with.

Last fall, 320 lake sturgeon in the Saginaw watershed were tagged with the transmitters to track their movement.

Meaghan Gass is an extension educator with MSU and the Michigan Sea Grant Program. She says the project will help researchers to better understand sturgeon.

“We’re learning about how long the fish are staying in the river before moving out to the bay, and their overall survivability,” she said.

Researchers are also able to determine the fish’s dispersal distances.

Since 2017, nearly five thousand hatchery-raised lake sturgeon have been released into the Saginaw Bay in an attempt to restore the fish’s population across Michigan.

Gass says by tracking the fish’s movements, researchers are able to gauge the success of the restoration effort.

“It’s one way that researchers are learning more about lake sturgeon restoration, because there’s a lot that we don’t know,” she said.

Renae is a newsroom intern covering northwest Lower Michigan for WCMU.