By KAITLYN NICHOLAS and MORGAN SOLOMON/Montana State News
For over 20 years the Pallid Sturgeon has been listed as an endangered species, but until this year no one knew why.
The Pallid Sturgeon is a prehistoric fish considered to be part of a 60 million year old species. Today the Pallid Sturgeon is a native of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers.
An act allowing dams to be built on the Missouri river was passed in 1940. Soon baby Pallid Sturgeon were no longer present in the water surrounding the dams. Researchers suggested the shorter stretches of river created by the dams were causing the death of the fish, but no one understood why.
Chris Guy, a professor of fisheries science at Montana State University, and a team of researchers set out to investigate the disappearance.
They found that when the fish spawn and their eggs hatch the larva float 310 miles downstream to the spawning area before settling to the bottom of the river. However, dams are less than 310 miles apart, causing the larva to get caught in the headwaters of the dams and reservoirs. Continue reading “Cause of declining sturgeon numbers discovered”