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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 31:203-210 (2016)  -  DOI:

A global perspective of fragmentation on a declining taxon—the sturgeon (Acipenseriformes)

Tim J. Haxton1,*, Tim M. Cano

1Aquatic Research and Monitoring Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 1600 West Bank Dr., Peterborough, ON K9L 0G2, Canada
2Northwest Regional Operations Division, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 173 25th Side Road, Rosslyn, ON P7K 0B9, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Acipenseriformes (sturgeons and paddlefishes) are considered to be one of the most globally imperiled taxon, with 25 of the 27 species listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Overharvest, habitat degradation, fragmentation and water quality issues have contributed to their decline worldwide. These stressors have been ameliorated in some areas, but in others they remain a limiting factor to sturgeon. Barriers impeding upstream migrations to natural spawning areas and manifesting alterations to natural flows continue to compromise sturgeon recruitment and limit natural recovery. Watersheds in the Northern Hemisphere have been categorized as being strongly affected, moderately affected or unaffected based on the degree of fragmentation and water flow regulation. An overlay (i.e. intersect) of the sturgeons’ status with this watershed categorization revealed that a small area remains in which sturgeon are not considered at risk and where rivers are unaffected in northern Canada. These relatively unperturbed populations provide a much needed opportunity to learn about sturgeon biology, habitat needs and reproductive potential in a natural riverine environment, which may facilitate conservation and recovery efforts in affected watersheds. 

KEY WORDS: Acipenseriformes · Fragmentation · Imperiled

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Cite this article as: Haxton TJ, Cano TM (2016) A global perspective of fragmentation on a declining taxon—the sturgeon (Acipenseriformes). Endang Species Res 31:203-210.

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