Although Atlantic sturgeon hav been documented in the James and York rivers since colonization of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607, not much is known about their movements in these Chesapeake Bay tributaries. Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science use tagging studies to identify important habitats for these ancient fish. VIMS scientists track sturgeon using dart, PIT (passive integrated transponder), radio, and acoustic tags.
Dart or PIT Tags
All sturgeon handled by researchers are tagged with dart and PIT tags. Fish are scanned to determine if the animal was previously tagged with a PIT tag.
- Mature sturgeon are surgically implanted with acoustic transmitters. These animals are tracked by an array of recievers in the James River between Jamestown and Richmond.
- The goal of this work is to identify spawning reaches and essential habitat
Some juvenile sturgeon receive surgically implanted radio tags. Radio tracking enables scientists to monitor daily movement patterns. The US Army Corps of Engineers will use this information to avoid dredging when and where sturgeon are most active.