The effects of sedimentation on the mortality of the Atlantic Sturgeon.
The Acipenser oxyrinchus would be ideal to run the experiment on since it
is the species the class is trying to save from extinction, unfortunately as soon
as the experiment was developed the Atlantic sturgeon was placed on the endangered
species list. This made any experimentation on the Atlantic sturgeon close to impossible.
This meant that a comparable species needed to be acquired. The experiment was set,
and was prepared to be run on the Siberian Sturgeon. The Department of Natural Resources
in Maryland ameliorated the experiment by providing Atlantic sturgeon raised in
Prior to obtaining the fish, our class determined that we could coordinate our activities
(i.e., Physiological Ecology, Habitat, Threats, and Policy Groups) by focusing on
aspects related to sedimentation. Given that suitable sediment is required for spawning
and supporting sturgeon life functions while, at the same time, unsuitable habitat
poses a threat to the viability and survivability of the sturgeon, we focused our
experiment on the harmful impacts of fine-grained sediment on the Atlantic sturgeon.
In particular, we set up an experiment to test the hypothesis that suspended sediment,
in a concentration equivalent to that found in the James River, poses a threat to
the Atlantic sturgeon by abrading gills and diminishing feeding habits which, in
turn, leads to mortality.
As we speak the sturgeon are being held in tanks in the Copley Science Center at
Randolph-Macon College. In order for there to be enough time to run the experiment
the sediment will not be added into the tanks. Over the January term in 2011 one
of the students will start the sedimentation experiment and continue the research,
so that the Spring 2011 EVST 305 class can start with the experiment in progress.