Identifying critical habitats is challenging for a relatively rare species like green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris), which spends most of its life at sea. We used a fixed array and an autonomous underwater vehicle (Slocum glider) as monitoring platforms to detect acoustically tagged green sturgeon in the coastal ocean. For 1 month in 2018 during spring (May) and again in fall (September–October), both methods were used simultaneously to detect sturgeon bearing uniquely coded transmitters. For the fixed array, nine acoustic receivers were interspersed with three sentinel transmitters along a single line of latitude off Winchester Bay, OR. For the glider, two 3-week deployments were completed along the coast of Oregon from nearshore to the 200-m depth contour. For both deployments, the glider flew a zig-zag course southward as it profiled the water column and collected water quality information. Tagged green sturgeon and sentinel transmitters were successfully detected by both the fixed array and the glider. The fixed array provided indications of onshore and offshore movement, while the glider indicated along-shore movement. Although more green sturgeon were detected by the fixed array, the glider provided information on potential sturgeon aggregation areas. In addition, this application of the underwater glider may provide a unique opportunity for public engagement, teaching, and outreach.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
The data generated during this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Adams KA, Barth JA, Chan F (2013) Temporal variability of near-bottom dissolved oxygen during upwelling off central Oregon. J Geophys Res 118:4839–4854. https://doi.org/10.1002/jgrc.20361
Bangley CW, Whoriskey FG, Young JM, Ogburn MB (2020) Networked animal telemetry in the Northwest Atlantic and Caribbean waters. Mar Coast Fish 12:339–347. https://doi.org/10.1002/mcf2.10128
Benson RL, Turo S, McCovey BW Jr (2007) Migration and movement patterns of green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) in the Klamath and Trinity rivers, California, USA. Environ Biol Fish 79:269–279. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-006-9023-6
Borin JM, Moser MI, Hansen AG, Beauchamp DA, Corbett SC, Dumbauld BR, Pruitt C, Ruesink JL, Donoghue C (2017) Energetic requirements of green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) feeding on burrowing shrimp (Neotrypaea californiensis) in estuaries: importance of temperature, reproductive investment, and residence time. Environ Biol Fish 100(12):1561–1573
Colborne SF, Sheppard LW, O'Donnell DR, Reuman DC, Walter JA, Singer GP, Kelly JT, Thomas MJ, Rypel AL (2022) Intraspecific variation in migration timing of green sturgeon in the Sacramento River system. Ecosphere. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.4139
Erickson DL, Hightower JE (2007) Oceanic distribution and behavior of green sturgeon. In: Munro J, Hatin D, McKeown K, Hightower J, Sulak KJ, Kahnle AW, Caron F (Eds). Symposium on anadromous sturgeon. Am Fish SocSymp 56:197–211
Erickson DL, North JA, Hightower JE, Weber J, Lauck L (2002) Movement and habitat use of green sturgeon Acipenser medirostris in the Rogue River, Oregon, USA. J Appl Ichthyol 18(4–6):565–569
Erickson DL, Webb MA (2007) Spawning periodicity, spawning migration, and size at maturity of green sturgeon, Acipenser medirostris, in the Rogue River. Oregon. Environ Biol Fish 79(3):255–268
Gladwell M (2002) The tipping point. Back Bay Books, New York
Harley CD, Randall Hughes A, Hultgren KM, Miner BG, Sorte CJ, Thornber CS, Rodriguez LF, Tomanek L, Williams SL (2006) The impacts of climate change in coastal marine systems. Ecol Letters 9(2):228–241
Haulsee DE, Breece MW, Miller DC, Wetherbee BM, Fox DA, Oliver MJ (2015) Habitat selection of a coastal shark species estimated from an autonomous underwater vehicle. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 528:277–288
Heublein JC, Kelly JT, Crocker CE, Klimley AP, Lindley ST (2009) Migration of green sturgeon, Acipenser medirostris, in the Sacramento River. Environ Biol Fish 84:245–258. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-008-9432-9
Heupel MR, Carlson JK, Simpfendorfer CA (2007) Shark nursery areas: concepts, definition, characterization and assumptions. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 337:287–297
Heupel MR, Semmens JM, Hobday AJ (2006) Automated acoustic tracking of aquatic animals: scales, design and deployment of listening station arrays. Mar FW Res 57:1–13. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF05091
Huff DD, Lindley ST, Rankin PS, Mora EA (2011) Green sturgeon physical habitat use in the coastal Pacific Ocean. PLoS ONE 6(9):e25156
Huff DD, Lindley ST, Wells BK, Chai F (2012) Green sturgeon distribution in the Pacific Ocean estimated from modeled oceanographic features and migration behavior. PLoS ONE 7(9):e45852. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045852
Kahn J, Mohead MA (2010) A protocol for use of shortnose, Atlantic, Gulf, and green sturgeons. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OPR-45
Lindley ST, Erickson DL, Moser ML, Williams G, Langness OP, McCovey BW Jr, Belchik M, Vogel D, Pinnix W, Kelly JT, Heublein JC (2011) Electronic tagging of green sturgeon reveals population structure and movement among estuaries. Trans Am Fish Soc 140(1):108–122
Lindley ST, Moser ML, Erickson DL, Belchik M, Welch DW, Rechisky EL, Kelly JT, Heublein J, Klimley AP (2008) Marine migration of North American green sturgeon. Trans Am Fish Soc 137(1):182–194
Mazzini PLF, Barth JA, Shearman RK, Erofeev A (2014) Buoyancy-driven coastal currents off the Oregon coast during fall and winter. J Phys Oceangr 44:2854–2876
Moser ML, Andrews KS, Corbett S, Feist BE, Moore ME (2022) Occurrence of green sturgeon in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca: a review of acoustic detection data collected from 2002 to 2019. Report of the National Marine Fisheries Service to the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet Environmental Readiness Division, Pearl Harbor
Moser ML, Lindley ST (2007) Use of Washington estuaries by subadult and adult green sturgeon. Environ Biol Fish 79(3):243–53
Moser ML, Israel JA, Neuman M, Lindley ST, McCovey BW Jr, Erickson DL, Klimley AP (2016) Biology and life history of Green Sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris): state of the science. J Appl Ichthyol 32:67–86. https://doi.org/10.1111/jai.13238
NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) (2009a) Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; final rulemaking to designate critical habitat for the threatened Southern Distinct Population Segment of North American Green Sturgeon; Final Rule. Green Sturgeon. Fed. Reg. 74:52300–52351
NMFS (2009b) Designation of critical habitat for the threatened Southern Distinct Population Segment of North American Green Sturgeon; Final Biological Report. Available at: https://repository.library.noaa.gov/view/noaa/18683
NMFS (2020) Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 Biological and Conference Opinion on (1) U.S. Navy Northwest Training and Testing Activities (NWTT); and (2) the National Marine Fisheries Service’s promulgation of regulations and issuance of a letter of authorization pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act for the U.S. Navy to “take” marine mammals incidental to NWTT activities from November 2020 through November 2027. Available at: https://repository.library.noaa.gov/view/noaa/27242
Norton SL, Wiley TR, Carlson JK, Frick AL, Poulakis GR, Simpfendorfer CA (2012) Designating critical habitat for juvenile endangered smalltooth sawfish in the United States. Mar Coast Fish 4(1):473–480
Oliver MJ, Breece MW, Fox DA, Haujlsee DE, Kohut JT, Manderson J, Savoy T (2013) Shrinking the haystack: using an AUV in an integrated ocean observatory to map Atlantic sturgeon in the coastal ocean. Fisheries 38(5):210–216
Owen D (2012) Critical habitat and the challenge of regulating small harms. Fla Law Rev 64(1):141–199
Payne J, Erickson DL, Donnellan M, Lindley ST (2015) Migration and habitat use of green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) near the Umpqua River estuary: Project to assess potential impacts of the Reedsport Ocean Power Technologies wave energy generation facility. Available at: https://tethys.pnnl.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Payne-2015-Green-Sturgeon.pdf. Accessed 3 Oct 2022
Sampaio E, Santos C, Rosa IC, Ferreira V, Pörtner HO, Duarte CM, Levin LA, Rosa R (2021) Impacts of hypoxic events surpass those of future ocean warming and acidification. Nat Ecol Evol 5(3):311–321
Smith JM, Huff DD (2020) Characterizing the distribution of ESA listed salmonids in the Northwest Training and Testing Area with acoustic and pop-off satellite tags. Available at: https://www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us/files/8915/9535/9597/Smith_and_Huff_2020_Salmonid_Acoustic_Tagging_in_the_Northwest.pdf. Accessed 3 Oct 2022
Tommasi D, Stock CA, Hobday AJ, Methot R, Kaplan IC, Eveson JP, Holsman K, Miller TJ, Gaichas S, Gehlen M, Pershing A (2017) Managing living marine resources in a dynamic environment: the role of seasonal to decadal climate forecasts. Prog Oceanogr 152:15–49
Young JM, Bowers ME, Reyier EA, Morley D, Ault EA, Pye JD, Gallagher RM, Ellis RD (2020) The FACT Network: philosophy, evolution, and management of a collaborative coastal tracking network. Mar Coast Fish 12:258–271. https://doi.org/10.1002/mcf2.10100
Steve Lindley provided important insights during both the project inception and data interpretation. We are very grateful for the help from Polly Rankin, Shay Meskill, and the captains and crews of R/V Elakha and R/V Zephyr. Port Biologists of the ODFW Marine Resources Program helped disseminate the location of the array to avoid entanglements with fishing gear. This project was funded by NOAA’s Cooperative Research Program and we thank Kathleen Jewett, Ruth Tajon, Doug Dey, Chris Leuken, and Sandy Downing for helping with project administration. JoAnne Butzerin and Ben Sandford provided valuable editorial comments. Thanks also to the many researchers that have tagged animals with acoustic transmitters and have been willing to share their tagging metadata. This work was greatly enriched by inclusion of these data.
This study was funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service, Cooperative Research Program.
No approval of research ethics committees was required to accomplish the goals of this study because the green sturgeon observed in this study were tagged previously by a coastwide consortium of researchers following protocols approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service (Kahn and Mohead 2010).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Moser, M.L., Erickson, D.L., Corbett, S. et al. Detecting acoustically tagged green sturgeon in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Environ Biol Fish (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-022-01353-2
- Autonomous underwater vehicle
- Acoustic telemetry