Sturgeon Recovery Plan in the Rhône River (France): Preliminary Results on Species Determination and Habitat Suitability

  • Laurent Brosse
  • Patrick Berrebi
  • Nathalie Desse-Berset
  • Mario Lepage
Part of the Fish & Fisheries Series book series (FIFI, volume 29)


Sturgeons were living in the Rhône River (France) until their complete extirpation in the mid 1970s. They disappeared without a certainty about species identity and about sympatry between Acipenser sturio and Acipenser naccarii, as occurred in the Po and Guadalquivir rivers. Preliminary studies were launched in 2005 by the Migrateurs Rhône Méditerranée (MRM) association to overcome this lack of knowledge and to evaluate the lower Rhône River environment suitability for sturgeon. Twelve sturgeon specimens from the Rhône River and the French Mediterranean coast were found in museums and samples for genetic analyses were taken from 10 of them (analyses in progress). Genetic analyses (cytochrome b) on five sturgeon bone remain (among 2500 remains available) samples more than 2000 years old found in the city of Arles, close to the Rhône River, clearly show that A. sturio was living in this river. Morphological comparisons between ancient bone remains and recent skeletons from A. sturio and A. naccarii are in progress. Environment studies show the existence of possible suitable habitats for sturgeon in the Rhône river, mainly spawning and feeding grounds. This should be confirmed by more precise studies. All these preliminary results are very encouraging regarding the possible restoration of sturgeon in the Rhône River.


Ancient DNA Acipenser naccarii Acipenser sturio archaeozoology Rhône River species determination 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurent Brosse
    • 1
  • Patrick Berrebi
    • 2
  • Nathalie Desse-Berset
    • 3
  • Mario Lepage
    • 4
  1. 1.Association Migrateurs Rhône Méditerranée, Z.I. du port FluvialArlesFrance
  2. 2.Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, UMR 5554UM2/CNRS Université Montpellier II CC 065Montpellier CedexFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire d’archéozoologie, UMR 6130CNRS-Université de Nice-Sophia AntipolisValbonneFrance
  4. 4.Cemagref, UR EPBXCestas CedexFrance

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