Project Page

Juvenile Gulf Sturgeon - Gulf-wide Population Dynamics and Habitat Use

Implementing Organization

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; US Department of the Interior


DWH Project Funding


Known Leveraged Funding


Funding Organization

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (NRDA)

Funding Program

Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA


Project Category


Project Actions

Monitoring and Observations

Targeted Resources


Project Description

This Monitoring and Adaptive Management (MAM) activity will examine juvenile Gulf sturgeon habitat use and preference in estuaries in the northern Gulf of Mexico to: (1) better understand baseline status and conditions, (2) identify and prioritize habitats most in need of restoration, and (3) provide a framework for monitoring the results of restoration in an adaptive management context. Data will be collected on habitat use as well as trends in juvenile recruitment, growth, survival, genetics, and kinship across the following river systems: Pearl, Pascagoula, Escambia, Yellow, Choctawhatchee, Apalachicola, and Suwannee. All captured fish will have PIT tag inserted and fin rays and DNA samples collected. Field sampling methods include traditional tagging approaches, surgically implanting VEMCO acoustic transmitters, and collecting fin rays. This information is critical to the Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group (OO TIG) Restoration Area because estuaries serve as important foraging habitat for juvenile Gulf sturgeon in winter, yet little data exists about the patterns of habitat use within the estuary or the preference for specific habitats (e.g., oyster reefs, seagrass beds, or mud flats). This activity will help determine effective strategies for estuarine restoration to benefit Gulf sturgeon and evaluating regional restoration outcomes.


Kate Healy
(251) 517-8010
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