Stalking Sturgeon

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DOUG PETERSON. Photo by Peter Frey

Associate Professor Doug Peterson, whose recent work included creating a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable method of farming Russian sturgeon for caviar, will share a $4.45 million, three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine the status and movements of shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon in southeastern rivers. Both species of sturgeon are federally protected.    Peterson, who is a fisheries research biologist in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, will receive nearly $1.4 million from the grant to focus on populations of both species inhabiting the Satilla, Altamaha, Ogeechee and Savannah rivers. The central goal of the project will be to identify specific threats to each population in relation to seasonal movement patterns and habitat use within riverine and near coastal habitats from North Carolina to Georgia. Shortnose sturgeon have been on the Endangered Species List since the 1960s and Atlantic sturgeon are currently under petition for listing as either threatened or endangered.    For more on sturgeon research at UGA, go to http://www.warnell.uga.edu/research/fishandaqua/index.php.