Population dynamics of Atlantic sturgeon in the Altamaha River, Georgia
Schueller, Paul Michael
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The Atlantic sturgeon was commercially harvested in the United States until 1996. The current status of most populations since fishery closure is unknown as life history and habitat use have been the focus of most previous research. From 2004 to 2007, I collected mark-recapture data of both the juvenile and adult portion of the Altamaha River population of Atlantic sturgeon. Several hundred adults entered the river annually, but only a small portion of these were reproductively ripe. Annual mortality of adults may be higher than expected for an unharvested population. The juvenile population of Atlantic sturgeon exhibited a high turnover rate with high rates of per capita recruitment and low rates of apparent survival. The demographic parameters presented here could be incorporated into population projection models to make assessments of population recovery and predictions of future population trends.