Scaphirhynchus Conference: Alabama, Pallid, and Shovelnose Sturgeon

St. Louis, Missouri, 11-13 January 2005

34.  SOUND PRODUCTION IN SCAPHIRHYNCHUS: POTENTIAL USE AS A CONSERVATION TOOL.

Catherine N. Phillips and Carol E. Johnston, Department of Fisheries, Auburn University, Auburn, AL  36849; Phone:  334-844-9249, cjohnsto@acesag.auburn.edu

Sound production was recently discovered in Huso and several species of Acipenser.   Our work focused on testing for sound production in species of sturgeon in the genus Scaphirhynchus.   We discovered that pallid (Scaphirhynchus albus) and shovelnose (S. platorynchus) sturgeon produce sounds during the breeding season.   Signals include four distinct sound types characterized on the basis of duration, frequency and presence of harmonics.  Signals are also species-specific.  Bioacoustic monitoring is already being used for many species of fishes, and it is quite possible that this technique can be used for locating populations of Scaphirhynchus.