© by the American Fisheries Society 2004
Published in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, Vol. 133, Issue 4 (July 2004) at doi: 10.1577/T03-042.1


Little is known about the habitat preferences and needs of pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus, which was federally listed as endangered in 1990. To learn more about habitat use and selection by pallid sturgeon, sonic transmitters were surgically implanted in 27 individuals from the middle Mississippi River. Study fish were located 184 times (1–23 times/individual) from November 1995 to December 1999. Of the seven macrohabitats identified, pallid sturgeon were found most often in main-channel habitats (39% of all relocations) and main-channel border habitats (26%); the between-wing-dam habitats were used less often (14%). Strauss’s linear selectivity index (Li) values indicated that study fish exhibited positive selection for the main-channel border, downstream island tips, between-wing-dam, and wing-dam-tip habitats; they showed negative selection for main-channel, downstream of wing dams, and upstream of wing dam habitats. Comparison of Li values for four temperature ranges and three daily mean discharge ranges revealed little change in habitat selection due to temperature or discharge. Habitat use patterns also were similar across seasons and discharge regimes, except during spring months when between-wingdam habitats saw greater use and main-channel and main-channel border habitat use declined. These changes may have been a response to high river stages associated with spring flooding, which may create favorable feeding areas in the between-wing-dam habitats. Enhancement and restoration of habitat diversity, particularly downstream island tip and between-wing-dam habitats, may be necessary for the recovery of pallid sturgeon in the middle Mississippi River.