Shortnose sturgeons still threatened?

Last updated on Sun, 2014-04-20 02:16. Originally submitted by Jenny on 2011-06-17 13:34.

A WebQuest for 6-8th Grade (Science) Designed by Loris Chen, Modified by Jessica Haapkyla 2014-04-15

Shortnose sturgeon


Anadromous fish spend most of their life in the sea but return to freshwater to spawn. Sturgeons (Acipenser spp.) are examples of anadromous fish. Two species of sturgeon are found on the Atlantic coast of North America: the Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhinchus) and the shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum). They were once common fish in estuaries and coastal rivers. However, they were historically fished for their flesh and caviar leading to a decline in their populations. Today the shortnose sturgeon, A. brevirostrum, is listed as vulnerable on the 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Have habitat protection projects improved the outlook for this species?

The Task

You are part of a team of specialists whose mission is to determine if shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) habitat management strategies are working. Your team has been invited to make a presentation at an international conference where other teams will be competing for project funding. Will your presentation earn your project funding?

Your task is to:

1.     Find out what caused the decline of anadromous fish such as the shortnose sturgeon.

2.     Investigate methods for reversing the population trend.

3.     Present a proposal that will increase and sustain sturgeon populations so that they do not become extinct.

Your presentation must include graphics and visual organizers. Presentations may be in the form of PowerPoint or overhead projector transparencies.

Credits and References 

·       Learn about anadromous fish at NOAA

·       Learn more about sturgeons at: and Atlantic sturgeons: 

·       Shortnose sturgeons:

·       Search OBIS portal to see the geographic distribution of Atlantic and shortnose sturgeons:

·       More on the description and distribution of the two sturgeon species on Fish Base:

·       Learn more about protecting the shortnose sturgeon on:

·       Maryland Department of Natural Resources gives more information on the shortnose sturgeon:

·       More about the hazards shortnose sturgeon is facing at American Rivers:

·       On shortnose sturgeon’s status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened species:

·       China's Three Gorges Dam

·       Read how China’s Three Gorges Dam is affecting the Chinese sturgeon:

·       Shortnose sturgeon photo courtesy of Fort Stewart, Ga:


Follow these links to go to the rest of the lesson

·       The Process

·       Conclusion

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