I’ve finally emerged from a long blogging hiatus. This emergence coincides with an emergence from my
The goals of the first forays into the field were to assess the potential study area which includes the larger tributaries to the Missouri River that we expect Lake Sturgeon to swim up during the spring in search of spawning habitat. My main focus is on the Osage and the Gasconade, but Lake Sturgeon are unpredictable, the Chariton, Grand, Lamine, and Moreau rivers might entice a wayward Sturgeon as well. This leaves me and my trusty side-kick Brandon with 100’s of miles to patrol for the fish we tag, which unless we can find a house boat that can navigate these rivers, is an unrealistic goal.
However, there is another way around this. We can deploy “eyes” or rather “ears” to patrol these rivers for tagged Sturgeon 24-7. These ears are Vemco stationary receivers. These receivers have microphones built in that can detect the sound “pings” emitted by the tags implanted in our Lake Sturgeon. For example, we may tag a sturgeon in the Osage River. If this fish decides to swim up the Grand River within say 500 m of a stationary receiver, the receiver will log the fish’s tag number for us to download later.
The biggest issue with the stationary receivers is choosing the best place to set them to 1. prevent damage or loss during floods and 2. to prevent loss via theft (not sure why anyone would want one of these). One secure place researchers have used in the past are bridge piers, with permission from the Department of Transportation of Course. The river channel is the highway for migrating sturgeon and swimming upstream means they must pass under these bridges where we can observe their presence with stationary receivers during times we aren’t able to manually track them.
A good bridge pier for a stationary receiver is one that is in deep water, and has low flow velocity. Swift flow can create extra noise that interferes with the receiver’s microphone.
In addition to looking at bridges which isn’t terribly exciting, I also got a first look at some of my study sites. Some were more scenic than others. And some cool wildlife along the way.