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Field and Genetic Approaches to Enhance Knowledge of Ural River Sturgeon Biology

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Rescue of Sturgeon Species in the Ural River Basin

Abstract

Combined approaches utilizing tagging and genetic analysis can provide powerful insight into the biology and management of endangered sturgeons as described in a literature review herein. Since 2003, our team of USA and Republic of Kazakhstan researchers has attempted to use such techniques to study Ural River sturgeons. High-tech (satellite, acoustic) tagging methods were to be applied to examine movement and behavior of Ural River sturgeons within the River and the Caspian Sea and test hypotheses about sturgeon biology. In 2006, we successfully completed a satellite tagging project in which four adult sturgeons (three beluga, Huso huso, and one ship sturgeon Acipenser nudiventris) captured in the Ural River were equipped with Pop-up Archival Transmitting (PAT) satellite tags and released into the Caspian Sea. In 2007, efforts were made to initiate an acoustic tagging and tracking program within the Ural River to study sturgeon migratory behavior and locate spawning grounds. Tagging has also been used to measure the contribution of hatchery-produced sturgeons to that of the wild population. These studies were to be combined with genetic approaches to study the uniqueness and diversity of Ural River sturgeons. Overall, our program produced mixed results: some projects could not be undertaken, others produced only preliminary results, and some initiated long-term monitoring. Our work has implications for the conservation of Ural River sturgeons.

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Doukakis, P. et al. (2008). Field and Genetic Approaches to Enhance Knowledge of Ural River Sturgeon Biology. In: Lagutov, V. (eds) Rescue of Sturgeon Species in the Ural River Basin. NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8924-4_13

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