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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Walter G. Duffy


habitat, pallid strurgeon, Lake Sharpe, South Dakota


Telemetry studies were conducted to determine habitat selection and movement of pallid sturgeon, Scaphirhynchus albus, in Lake Sharpe, South Dakota, a Missouri River reservoir. Seven pallid sturgeon, (three < 5 kg and four 5 kg) were implanted with sonic tags and followed between June 1989 and October 1991. Pallid sturgeon selected the 4-5 m depth interval of water (4.6 ± 0.08 m). They were not found in either backwaters or in submerged trees of former islands or riparian areas. Sixty-four percent of locations were in bottom water current velocities between 0.1 and 30 cm/s (25.7 ± 1.4 cm/s). Bottom water turbidity averaged 95.2 ± 5.3 NTU's where fish were located. Secchi disk measurements averaged 1.32 ± 0.13 mat these same locations. Small and large pallid sturgeon occupied different habitats. Small pallid sturgeon (< 5 kg) were located in areas of fast bottom water current velocities, mean 40.0 ± 2.1 cm/s, with bottom turbidity averaging 74.7 ± 8.2, and secchi disk depth averaging 2.3 ± 1.2 m. Large pallid sturgeon (~ 5 kg) were located in areas having average bottom water current velocities of 18.4 ± 1.3 cm/s, bottom turbidity of 107.5 ± 6.0 and secchi depths averaging 0.46 ± 0.11 m. Sixty-five percent of the large pallid sturgeon locations were over mud or mud/sand substrates while only 16% of the small pallid sturgeon were located over these substrates. Stepwise logistic regression indicated that river location, water temperature, and secchi disk depth could be used to calculate the probability of small pallid sturgeon being present. Stepwise logistic regression indicated that discharge, river location, water temperature, and secchi disk depth could be used to calculate the probability of large pallid sturgeon being present. Habitat use by smaller pallid sturgeon may put them in competition with shovelnose sturgeon, Scaphirhynchus platorynchus, for food and/or spawning habitat in reservoirs. Movement was greater at night, 0.50 ± 0.05 km/hr, than day, 0.23 ± 0.04 km/hr. Smaller pallid sturgeon moved less, 0.14 ± 0.06 km/hr, than larger fish, 0.43 ± 0.04 km/hr. Fish located furthest from the dam exhibited higher movement rate, 0.82 ± 0.12 km/hr, than those located near Oahe dam, 0.12 ± 0.08 km/hr. In reservoirs, pallid sturgeon require a variety of habitats. They need areas of high and low velocities that have a corresponding affect on substrates, turbidity, and food availability. Since neither the sex, sexual maturity, age, or food habits of pallid sturgeon were examined, the biological reason for habitat seperation by weight remains unknown.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Sturgeons -- South Dakota -- Sharpe, Lake -- Habitat
Sturgeons -- South Dakota -- Sharpe, Lake


Includes bibliographical references (page 62-64)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1992 Jonathan D. Erickson