Lake Sturgeon Research Benefits from University Partnership and USFWS Research Grant

USFWS Pathways and University of Wisconsin La Crosse graduate student, Jadon Motquin will continue his graduate research in 2022 entitled: Evaluation of Genetic Selectivity, Growth and Survival of Lake Sturgeon Fed Commercial and Traditional Diets. This research was made possible with a competitive USFWS research grant and involves collaboration of USFWS researchers from legacy regions 3,4,5 and 6.
Project Goals: 1) To improve aquaculture management practices by optimizing genetic contribution of stocked progeny. 2) Determine if family groups of lake sturgeon habituate to commercially prepared diets at the same rates. 3) Evaluate growth and survival of lake sturgeon fed commercial feed compared to traditional live diets.
(Left) Jadon Motquin USFWS pathways employee collects milt in a syringe for fertilizing lake sturgeon eggs. (Right) Recently fertilized eggs rinsed will hatchery well water and packaged for delivery to GNFH. Photo: USFWS.
This study aims to identify any possible consequences of hatchery feeding practices and identify any possible genetic selectivity that diet may play in cultured lake sturgeon, which could hinder success of lake sturgeon restoration programs. Possible added benefits for the study may potentially identify if commercial diets are an acceptable alternative for lake sturgeon that may improve fish health and reduce fish feed cost at NFHs. The results of this study will improve management practices for lake sturgeon restoration and recovery, potentially accelerating the delisting of this species by continued stocking of lake sturgeon that will have a greater fitness for survival after stocking and be the most genetically fit progeny to restore populations through reproduction and recruitment.
Results from this project will be incorporated into a final manuscript that will be submitted to North American Journal of Aquaculture for publication and made accessible to the public. Reports of results will be shared with stakeholders and information presented at national conferences and regional aquaculture meetings. All data will be incorporated into GNFH’s standard operating procedures for best management practices for lake sturgeon restoration.
By: Orey Eckes