Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Pandemic Online Ichthyology Teaching, by Don Orth

Teaching Ichthyology online was never imaginable nor desirable. Lab periods in Ichthyology were typically a chance for students to get hands-on training in anatomy, dissections, and identification of many fish orders, families, genera, and species.  Field trips provide access to live unknown specimens in their natural habitats.  Without these options, Ichthyology instruction had to adapt to a virtual world. Two teaching strategies persisted in the pivot to online teaching— the concept of mere belonging and the student notebook. 

When students engage in synchronous behavior and/ or feel connected to others in some way, its easier to complete learning tasks. While this may appear to be an unreachable challenge when teaching online.  Students no longer shared the experience of working over smelly, long preserved fish specimens. Classroom Jeopardy sessions were difficult to organize. Mere belonging was achieved by assigning students work (reviewing fish identifications, peer reviewing essays)  to pairs or groups to complete assignments. Further, student's mastery work during lab periods were shared in Flickr and/or Facebook groups. In this and other ways social connections were maintained. Field trips were replaced with virtual field trips and students still worked together to check field identifications. Finally, in lieu of group photos in the field, students shared personal photos so a collage could be created.
Students may never encounter an arapaima in lab or a local field trip.  This close-up photo of Arapaima sp., taken at Shedd Aquarium in 2019, does provide a study in mouth shape. Photo:  D.J. Orth 
The Lab Notebook is one well accepted, long standing, and low tech learning method. Sketching what is observed and writing observations is how we have always made sense of the world. It is an essential skill of the scientists. Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz told his students “a pencil is one of the best of eyes.” While high tech tools, photography, CT scans, 3d models, and other visualization tools provide more information, the Student’s Notebook depends on students observing and sketching with a virtual fish specimen collection.  Drawing also enhances a student's memory (Fernandez et al. 2018). Each day’s observations were recorded, reviewed, corrected, and built upon. When moving to field work, the scientist uses a Field Notebook to organize observations, sketches, and data, and skills learned will transfer. Scientists have always used raw, observable data to infer patterns, over space and time, to generate  hypotheses.  Online learning activities required Ichthyology students to engage in these authentic tasks.
Sample page of Lab Notebook by Ichthyology student, Jaimee Dolan. Source. 
In February while still teaching in face-to-face mode, we had Shark Day for one lab. Learning objectives were to (1) Become familiar with the diversity of sharks, skates, and rays, (2) identify sharks, skates, and rays to family or species (as appropriate) with a variety of approaches, and (3) identify difficulties in studying sharks, skates, and rays. Our museum collection of sharks, skates, and rays is very limited.  Consequently we reviewed the Shark Pulse website, presented by Francesco Ferretti, and identified sharks, skates, and rays from models, specimens, and photographs.  In SharkPulse, students could view sharks photographed in all parts of the world. Together, they could work to determine appropriate identities. 
Students enrolled in Ichthyology in spring 2020 during pandemic online teaching. 
At the end of the Lab session, each student presented one shark, skate, or ray in a "sharks I know well" series to teach other students.  In a short presentation, each student provided the best diagnostic characters to identify to family, genus, or species.   In the process, we also addressed many of the difficulties in identification of Chondrichthyes specimens under authentic conditions.  For example, there are color variants, juvenile and adult differences, lack of detail in photographs, and in fish markets sometimes only the shark fin is available for making an identification.  In that case, iSharkFin provides expert advice in identifying species from shark fin shapes alone.

After all classes shifted to remote, online instruction we adapted this model for learning freshwater fishes.  By the end of the semester, the students identified 45 specimens collected virtually from different drainages of Virginia.  Students were provided with photos of fish specimens in hand just as they would observe them immediately after capture. The virtual field trip will be adapted for future labs even if we meet face to face.  For example, we can create videos and specimen photos to simulate a field trip to the Caribbean or south Atlantic and struggle to identify sharks and rays (FAO 2016; Florida Museum of Natural History N.D.).   While this learning experience is not equivalent to a genuine field trip to these distant locations, the opportunity to travel virtually with a large group of Ichthyology students and provide them this training may be worth it.

A Former Pupil (1874) revealed the methods used by Louis Agassiz. The student was provided a wet, smelly fish in a tin pan. "Take this fish," said Agassiz, "and look at it; we call it a haemulon; by and by I will ask what you have seen." Agassiz would then leave and return hours later. But Agassiz would say very little except look at your fish!”   Rather than quit, the student would really concentrate and take his time in observing the fish.  Each stage of the process of looking at the fish forced him to concentrate and focus more and see connections.  

A Former Pupil. 1874. In the laboratory with Agassiz. Every Saturday: A Journal of Choice Reading (April 4, 1874).
FAO. 2016. Identification guide to common sharks and rays of the Caribbean. By Ramón Bonfil. FishFinder Programme. Rome, Italy.
Fernandes, M., J. Wammes, and M. Meade 2018. The surprisingly powerful influence of drawing on memory. Current Directions in Psychological Science 27(5):302-308.
Florida Museum of Natural History. N.D. Field Key to Sharks Encountered in the U.S. Atlantic Bottom Longline Shark Fishery and Recreational Anglers. Website 
Accessed 20 May 20, 2020

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Recommendations for Pandemic Stay-at-home Reading, by Don Orth

During my stay-at-home time, many things have changed, but reading at home is still a welcome escape. There is only so much binge-watching of Grey’s Anatomy and Bosch that I can take.  I have a stack of books to read when I’m not in a zoom meeting, writing papers, teaching online, reviewing student work, and shopping online. Here I share some books that might be of interest to you.

I realize the precarious nature of small, independent booksellers as I often rely on Amazon to deliver books. In 2011 Amazon was estimated to have sold around 22.6% of the books in the U.S. and today is likely higher (Minzesheimer 2011). If the loss of independent booksellers concerns you, try and find an independent bookstore near you. 

Reading Shelf April 22, 2020.
The following are among the top non-fiction books on my reading list:

Flaws: Shark Bites and Emotional Public Policymaking, by Christopher L. Pepin-Neff (2019).  
If you are interested in the tragic accidents of shark bites and how politicians respond in the name of public safety, then read this account. He develops an emotion-policy framework that is applied to three case studies of policymaking. The human-shark relationship is changing in a post-Jaws era and much more attention is being placed on “Save the Sharks” efforts.

Vaquita: Science, Politics, and Crime in the Sea of Cortez, by Brooke Bessesen (2018).
The small vaquita porpoise, first described in 1958, is the world’s most endangered marine mammal. Banning gill net fishing was its last hope — until illegal fishing for swim bladders of totoaba, a large drum, doomed recovery.  The book chronicles the many people and places engaged in this last-ditch effort.  

Vaquita porpoise  Photo Natural History Magazine CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Being Salmon, Being Human: Encountering the Wild in Us and Us in the Wild, by Martin Lee Mueller (2017)
A story of how salmon influence people, cultural and tribal lore, honoring nature, and why wild caught salmon change us. This book reminds us of our essential humanness as one of many strands in the world. Mueller provides a thoughtful narrative on the human-salmon relationship and interpretations from major philosophers as he contributes to a growing literature on ecophilosophy.

Reef Life: An Underwater Memoir, by Callum Roberts (2019)
Callum Roberts is a scientist who spends his time studying tropical coral reefs.  To pick up and read this is to listen and watch as he details life on a coral reef.  He begins with his earliest recollections exploring waters of the Red Sea of Saudi Arabia and takes the reader to many remote marine parks detailing what makes these reefs special.  A world without coral reefs is considered in the final chapter.

Swarthy Parrotfish Scarus niger is one of several herbivorous fishes that Roberts studied in the Red Sea during his doctoral studies.  Photo CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Matter & Desire: An Erotic Ecology, by Andreas Weber (2017)
Andreas Weber is a biologist, philosopher, and nature writer who believes the root cause of environmental problems is the alienation between people and nature. He argues and demonstrates that feelings and emotions are the foundation of life.  Hence, being alive is an erotic process. This book continues to explore his thesis that meaning, expression and emotion helps us understand the basic framework of life.  Read this is if you can be convinced that living beings should not simply be natural resource.

Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life, by Lulu Miller (2020) 
This book is about one of the most prolific and influential early ichthyologists in North America. David Starr Jordan (1851-1933) will be a familiar person to any serious student of the fishes. However, this story explores many aspects of his life and struggles that have not previously been revealed.  While I had heard about the catastrophic loss of his fish collections in an earthquake, I never knew of the darkness of his personality, his dismissal from Stanford, his views on eugenics, and a possible murder coverup.  Miller writes about struggles that Jordan endured and reveals much about her own struggles to remain creative in the face of adversity.     

Fishing: How the Sea Fed Civilization, by Brian Fagan (2018)  
 Fishing is the last major source of food from the wild. Brian Fagan reviews over a million years of fishing in the wild, from subsistence to commercial overfishing.  You will find this of interest if you care about the significance of fishing in our cultural development.  Fagan draws from many contributions from archaeological research and discussions with modern fishers to explore past and present patterns of exploitation.  Read this to appreciate the complexities of conserving ocean resources while fishing depleted oceans.

The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier, by Ian Urbina, August 20, 2019
The Outlaw Ocean introduces us to many bad players in the world of fisheries as it reviews maritime and fisheries laws. It’s not an easy read as Urbina reveals the scope of illegal fishing, modern-day slavery, dumping, murder, and gun running on fishing vessels. His journeys reflect the unsettling reality that modern laws do not apply in many places in the ocean.  I came away with a deeper knowledge of the real cost of cheap seafood.

What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins, by Jonathan Balcombe (2017)   
 We know so very little about fish cognition, emotion, and perceptions.   Do fish play?  Do moray eels plan their hunting excursions? Do wrasse learn?  Can fish suffer?  Do bass recognize faces? These and many other questions are not explored in Ichthyology texts.  Increasingly, researchers are exploring fish behavior with more rigorous methods.   Jonathan Balcombe is a behaviorist who makes our current knowledge of the fishes easier to understand.  As a result, we have a newfound respect for the capabilities of fish.

Prophetic investigations of conditions leading to past pandemics in book by David Quammen.  Photo by Bernard Goldbach CC BY 2.0
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, by David Quammen (2012)  
 Written before the emergence of COVID-19, this is a timely read. David Quammen examined outbreaks of SARS, MERS, AIDS and visits the experts. We learn that a virus can become pathogenic in a nonhuman animal and then jump to humans. We learn that a relatively harmless version of virus can jump from bats to another animal and then to humans.  More than one intermediate animal species could be involved in transmission.  Human are expanding and living in closer proximity to wild animals. Once in the human population, a virus can evolve to become potentially dangerous.  Spillover was a prophetic book and foreshadowed the emergence of a deadly pandemic, in this case COVID-19. 

The Curious Death of Peter Artedi: A Mystery in the History of Science, by Theodore W. Pietsch (2010)  
Peter Artedi is often referred to as the father of Ichthyology. Unfortunately, Artedi died before his life's work was completed.  His studies on fish were eventually published by his friend and colleague, Carl Linneaus.  This book is a fictional account of the events before and after Artedi's untimely demise. 

I also recommend some fiction to help you avoid the news of the day.

Razor Girl, Bad Monkey, or Double Whammy, by Carl Hiaasen
Carl Hiassen writes of quirky characters centered in south Florida.   Double Whammy is one of the most memorable. One of the quirky characters is a private detective who investigates a suspected cheater in bass fishing tournaments. The double whammy is a bass fishing lure, found on a dead body in the beginning of the story. Double Whammy was also on a list of books banned in Texas prisons—I’m not making this up!  Hiassen’s reaction to hearing the news was  I confess to feeling flattered that I made the Texas list.”

The Guardians, by John Grisham (2019), follows innocence workaholic attorney-and-Episcopal-priest named Cullen Post as he attempts to free a convicted murderer on death row.

Blue Moon, by Lee Child (2019). Jack Reacher has no particular place to go and all the time in the world to get there.  Reacher says "once in a blue moon things turn out just right.”  This wasn't one of those times when Jack Reacher helped an elderly man who turned out to be paying his loan shark.  Reacher, never off duty, cannot leave that one alone.  

The Night Fire, by Michael Connelly (2020), is the latest crime novel that features detective Harry Bosch.  Even if you haven't read previous novels by Connelly, you can pick up this book which pairs
the now retired and ever stubborn Harry Bosch with Detective Renée Ballard. Even in retirement, Harry lives by his credo that "Everybody counts, or nobody counts.”  

Lyra and the Adventure of the Flying Fish, by Peter Emina, illustrated by Alice Ridley (2011), is a story inspired by and about Lyra McConnell.  Lyra was born premature at 24 weeks, 5 days, and weighed only 1 pound and 10 ounces. The story is a fictional account of the adventures of Lyra  that demonstrate a sense of adventure and determination in this little girl that must have started in her incubator.  Lyra and her friend, W. Rabbit, explore many fishy worlds. It's a great story about a young girl and adventures with her snorkel.

Minzesheimer, B. 2011.  Is there hope for small bookstores in a digital age?  USA Today February 10, 2011.  Available at {accessed on April 22, 2020}

Friday, March 20, 2020

How To Teach Online — Right Away, by Don Orth

Early in March it appeared that the coronavirus would soon close down the campus and our classrooms. We were advised to consider how we might continue the educational experience for students if campus is closed. Rather than simply announcing to class to “read the book, the exam will be held on finals week,” I enrolled in an online class on “Everything you need to know to teach online.”  Why bother.  I was ready because I had written about this before (Orth 2018).   Maybe now students would return from their extended spring breaks and abandon the “cram, pass, and forget” strategies they learned so well and engage with a community of practice in learning about fish—just because it’s fun.  Classes begin online Monday, March 23rd
Photos posted in Ichthyology Class at VT Flickr site. A. closeup of Northern Hogsucker Hypentelium nigricans; B. Breeding tubercles of Bluehead Chub Nocomis leptocephalus; C. Cartilaginous ridge of Central Stoneroller Campostoma anomalum. Photos by D.J. Orth
Five pedagogies of public writing, twitter/facebook and infographics, digital storytelling, online communities, and electronic portfolios were already part of my teaching strategies.  By the time the semester is over, I’ll be able to share more about my experiences with virtual field trips, virtual jars of unknowns, and the online lecture.  I anticipate students teaching others and posting essential fish facts and annotated photos on Flickr.  Perhaps they will get past dreaming of catching a musky and learn to pay attention to mandibular pores, cheek scales, and branchiostegal counts.  The Virginia Tech Ichthyology blog will have posts of student writing on fascinating fish topics.   In place of in-class essays, students will have developed and posted infographics on fish topics.  Their stories “on becoming an Ichthyologist” will be searchable on YouTube.  And the Virginia Tech Ichthyology Facebook group will have rallied in support of student attempts to remember sayanus and blennioides and more.

Today, March 20, 2020 I remain optimistic that I can deliver meaningful and interesting lessons in Ichthyology, Principles of Fish and Wildlife Management, and Fisheries Management in the next 8 weeks and celebrate the first online commencement exercise.   By the time you read this the spinning wheel will have ceased and the videos will be uploaded. I’ll know more. Maybe I’ll never return to campus.  Keep calm and wash your hands!
Orth, D.J. 2018. Social media may empower fisheries students via learning networks. Fisheries 43(3):130-138.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Hope for the Future of Lake Sturgeon, by Don Orth

During the Mesozoic when the first flowering plants appeared and dinosaurs were the dominant large land animal, the ancestral sturgeon swam the waters of the ancient Tethys Sea.  This tropical body of salt water separated the supercontinent of Laurasia in the north from Gondwana in the south during much of the Mesozoic Era (251 to 65.5 million years ago). As the ancient Tethys Sea shrank and continents separated, new sturgeon species emerged. The ancestor to the North American sturgeons likely swam over 100 million years ago (Mya) in the North American Inland Sea.[1] Sturgeons have existed on our planet Earth longer than any other of the 33,000+ species of ray-finned fishes.  Further, sturgeon even persisted through the last major extinction event 66 Mya, when about 17% of all families, 50% of all genera and 75% of all species became extinct (Raup and Sepkoski 1982).

Today there are 27 species of sturgeon distributed in the Northern hemisphere. Six species in Acipenser and three species in Scaphirynchus live in North American waters.  The Lake Sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens Rafinesque 1817 has the largest distribution of any freshwater fish in North America. Lake Sturgeon can live for 100 years, grow more than 8 feet long and weigh up to 300 pounds. Instead of scales, they are protected by five rows of bony scutes along the body. Lake Sturgeon is an efficient bottom feeder with four taste-bud-filled barbels trailing from its snout as it cruises near the river or lake bottom.  Despite its common name, the Lake Sturgeon is a fluvial-dependent fish that depends on shallow, well-oxygenated flowing waters for reproduction. And like other sturgeon they jump clear out of the water. Perhaps Lake Sturgeon are communicating with other lake sturgeon as they aggregate on their breeding grounds (Sulak et al. 2002).  Imagine the characteristic acoustic signal that must be produced when a large sturgeon smacks the surface.

Distribution of Lake Sturgeon.  From Williamson (2003).
The majority of spawning runs of Lake Sturgeon have been lost. Lake Sturgeon are considered extirpated from four states, endangered in 11 states and provinces, threatened in four states and provinces, and of special concern in four states and provinces (Bruch et al. 2016a). Lake Sturgeon is approaching extinction or is extirpated in the Missouri, Ohio, and middle Mississippi river drainages.  Last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that listing the sturgeon as threatened or endangered may be warrantedCommercial overfishing, dams and hydroelectric facilities, along with river dredging and channelization, habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and water quality deterioration are principal causes of imperilment (Bruch et al. 2016a). The slow growth and reproductive rates and the extremely high value placed on mature, egg-bearing females make sturgeon particularly vulnerable to overfishing. Their populations in lakes Erie and Ontario are less imperiled than in Minnesota, Lake Superior, the Missouri River, Ohio River, Arkansas-White River, Mississippi River, and Lake Michigan. Most states within the fish’s range provide state protection, prohibiting or limiting harvest. 

Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was to rule on the status of Lake Sturgeon, the agency missed a May 2019 deadline for determining whether the Lake Sturgeon actually warrants protection.  Consequently, the Trump Administration is being suedThe status of populations of Lake Sturgeon today reflect the interplay among place, people, and sturgeon. Spearing of Lake Sturgeon by Native American tribes fed them for thousands of years.  Spearing by Menominee people in Wisconsin occurred in spring when Lake Sturgeon migrated upstream to shallow riverine spawning grounds. In addition to being an important source of food, Lake Sturgeon is culturally and spiritually significant to tribal members. Immigrants from Europe adopted other fishing methods including spearing, netting, snag lines, and trapping, and created a short-lived, unregulated though profitable fishery. Without regulations, the yields of Lake Sturgeon from the Great Lakes peaked at 7.84 million pounds in 1879 and dropped to just 1.77 million pounds in 1899 (Bruch et al. 2016a).   Before the many values of the sturgeon were appreciated, populations were doomed with commercial extinction. 

Sturgeon spearing ice shanty in 2016.  Photo by Neil Staeck. CC BY-NC 2.0 Flickr
Today, the Winnebago System in east central Wisconsin is home to one of the largest remaining populations of naturally reproducing Lake Sturgeon in North America. The Winnebago system consists of a chain of three lakes – Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Winneconne, and Poygan – and two major inflowing river systems, the Wolf and upper Fox Rivers.   While once having incredible abundance on spawning grounds, the Lake Sturgeon of the Winnebago system was depleted and its recovery was delayed by the long controversy over spearing sturgeon in Wisconsin and several dams built between 1892 and 1926, which served as impassable barriers to upstream fish movement.  The people who settled in the Green Bay and Lake Winnebago regions were descended from French explorers who settled in the 1600s. They remained independent and relied on subsistence hunting and fishing and opposed restrictions on fishing. Gill nets, ice shanties, and spearing were permitted in Lake Winnebago long after they were banned statewide. Wisconsin imposed a statewide moratorium on sturgeon harvest in 1915 which was too late and was not to last long.

It wasn’t long after the Great Depression that regulated spearing and set line fishing was once again allowed in Lake Winnebago and upper lakes in 1932.  The minimum size limit was 30 inches and the season’s bag limit was 5. Spearing is done from ice shanties miles from shore over muddy feeding grounds. When spearing was permitted, fisheries biologist, Ed Schneberger was unable to answer questions about the size of the population, trends, or past harvest of Lake Sturgeon (Kline et al. 2009, p. 61).  In 1941, Ed Schneberger obtained information from spearers on length, weight, and sex of Lake Sturgeon harvested.  Many also shared the head of the sturgeon so the otolith could be examined for age. It turned out that many of the Lake Sturgeon harvested (ages between 14 and 40) were immature (Schneberger and Woodbury 1944).  Female Lake Sturgeon reproduce between the ages of 20 and 26 years old and fecundity increases as she grows. A record harvest of 2,828 sturgeon speared in 1958 caused concern and annual fishery assessments from 1954 to 1964 revealed the legacy of a long history of overfishing on Lake Sturgeon. In 1958, seasonal bag limit on spearing was reduced to one Lake Sturgeon.  Years later studies by Gordon Priegel of the Wisconsin DNR justified a 5% annual harvest limit. Priegel spent decades on sturgeon management and made detailed observations on sturgeon gonads that were part of the early observations used by Ron Bruch who continued to examine sturgeon gonads and the health of the spawning populations (Bruch and Binkowski 2002).

Juvenile Lake Sturgeon. Photo U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Source.
Lake Sturgeon did not survive in many places because of the actions of people.  The Orth principle of fish conservation optimistically states that “Passionate and persistent people who understand the fish and the place will find a way to create partnerships to conserve valued fish in perpetuity.”  But it takes time for the passionate and persistent people to come together and form lasting, trusting partnerships. The Wisconsin Lake Sturgeon Management plan was approved in 2000 (see here). Efforts to restore the Lake Winnebago populations started with formation of Sturgeon for Tomorrow led by Bill Casper and others in 1977.  Partnerships between Menominee Indian Tribes, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and others were essential to restore Lake Sturgeon.  

Restoration efforts in the Menominee Indian Reservation were guided by the 1995 Menominee Reservation Lake Sturgeon Management Plan which employed stocking hatchery reared fingerlings, and transferring a small number of wild adults (~15-20 fish) per year from the lower Wolf River for release in the upper Wolf River on the Reservation (Runstrom et al. 2002). While stocking is a primary restoration strategy, for the Lake Sturgeon it would take between 20 and 40 years before initial success in terms of captured wild F1 progeny could be measured. Koenigs et al. (2018) demonstrated that the capture and transfer of adult and sub-adult Lake Sturgeon over the first 5 years worked to restore migrant spawning and resident riverine sturgeon stocks to fragmented sections of the upper Wolf River. This project was a collaborative effort with the Menominee Indian Tribe (see video).  

Sturgeon for Tomorrow has five local chapters and is the largest citizen advocacy group for sturgeon in the world. They recruit and train Sturgeon Guards to monitor spawning Lake Sturgeon throughout the spawning season from mid- to late April.    People today value the Lake Sturgeon for more reasons than consumption. Sturgeon viewing is a new activity. Each spring the spawning activities attract many fish viewers.  Visitors spent about $57 a trip on gas, food and equipment and a total of about $344,000 during the viewing season. Most have been coming back for 13 years or more to annually view sturgeon.  
Photo posted by Sturgeon for Tomorrow Facebook Group February 23, 2020. 
Scientists Bill Ballard and Fred Binkowski experimented with breeding methods and succeeded in breeding Lake Sturgeon in captivity in 1979. Many perceptive and persistent fisheries biologists followed the lead of Ed Schneberger and refined the approach to aging and stock assessment (Bruch et al. 2009).  Lake Sturgeon have been found to make sounds associated with spawning drumming sound known by local Native Americans as ‘sturgeon thunder’ (Bruch and Binkowski 2002). Regulations are better justified with appropriate harvest caps in place to reduce harvest mortality on the most fecund females.   

Methods developed for artificial propagation allowed other states to work on refilling the vacant range of Lake Sturgeon. These efforts ultimately depend on the healthy brood stock from lake Winnebago and more trusted partnerships.  Carlos Echevarria, hatchery manager at the Warm Springs Hatchery has traveled with his staff every year to collect eggs from Lake Sturgeon caught in Wisconsin’s Wolf River. Artificial breeding and captive propagation has produced founder populations for many waters that no longer have Lake Sturgeon populations. 
Recent efforts made by Tribal, State, Federal, and private partners have assisted toward restoring Lake Sturgeon to the Red River of the North, a place where the Lake Sturgeon is culturally and traditionally important to the Red Lake Band. Since 1998, the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute has worked in partnership with the Southeast Lake Sturgeon Working Group to raise and introduce over 200,000 juvenile Lake Sturgeon back into its native range in the Tennessee River.  The Tennessee Aquarium teaches visitors about the Lake Sturgeon and anglers who catch a Lake Sturgeon can report it online.  Similar efforts to repatriate the Lake Sturgeon into its former range are underway in Georgia, Missouri, New York, and the Toledo Zoo (Dittman et al. 2015).

A juvenile lake sturgeon captured during a fisheries assessment in the St. Clair-Detroit River System. James Boase, USFWS.  Source. 

The final conservation message from the Lake Sturgeon relates to the importance of working to organize like-minded people and facilitate exchange of information.  Ron Bruch was the persistent and inspirational leader for the formation and development of the North American Sturgeon and Paddlefish Society (NASPS). The North American Sturgeon and Paddlefish Society is the North American affiliate of the World Sturgeon Conservation Society. The organization is dedicated to promoting the conservation and restoration of sturgeon species in North America by developing and advancing research pertaining to their biology, management, and utilization (Bruch et al. 2016b). The efforts of many passionate and persistent cooperators will increase the odds that Lake Sturgeon will persist for many millions of years into the future.
[1] origin time for Acipenseriformes was 389.7 Mya with a 95% credibility interval of 361.5–414.2 Mya”. “The split time between sturgeons and paddlefishes is dated back to Early Jurassic at 184.4 Mya with a 95% credibility interval of 150.0–199.5Mya.” “Within the Acipenseridae clade, the divergence time between the Pacific and the Atlantic clades appears as about 121 Mya” (Peng et al. 2007)

Bruch, R. M., and F.P. Binkowski. 2002. Spawning behaviour of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens). Journal of Applied Ichthyology 18:570–579.
Bruch, R.M., T. J. Haxton, R. Koenigs, A. Welsh, and S. J. Kerr. 2016a. Status of Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescensRafinesque 1817) in North America. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 32(Suppl. 1):162-190.
Bruch, R.M., T.J. Haxton, and H. Rosenthal 2016b. History of the founding and early years of the North American Sturgeon and Paddlefish Society (NASPS). Journal of Applied Ichthyology 32(S1):11-14.
Bruch, R. M., S.E. Campana, S.L. Davis-Foust, M.J. Hansen, and J. Janssen. 2009. Age validation of lake sturgeon using bomb radiocarbon and known age fish. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 138:361–371.
Dittman, D.E., M.A. Chalupnicki, J.H. Johnson, and J. Snyder. 2015. Reintroduction of Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) into the St. Regis River, NY: Post-release assessment of habitat use and growth.  Northeastern Naturalist 22(4):704-716.
Kline, K.S., R.M. Bruch, and F.P. Binkowski. 2009. People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish. Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Madison, Wisconsin. 292 pp.
Koenigs, R., R. Bruch, D. Reiter, and J. Pyatskowit. 2018. Restoration of naturally reproducing and resident riverine lake sturgeon populations through capture and transfer. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 35(1):160-168.
Peng, Z., A. Ludwig, D. Wang, R. Diogo, Q. Wei, and S. He. 2007. Age and biogeography of major clades in sturgeons and paddlefishes (Pisces: Acipenseriformes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42:854–862
Raup, D. and J. Sepkoski Jr. 1982. Mass extinctions in the marine fossil record. Science 215 (4539):1501–1503.
Runstrom, A., R.M. Bruch, D. Reiter, D., and D. Cox. 2002. Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) on the Menominee Indian Reservation: An effort toward co-management and population restoration. Journal of Applied Ichthyology18:481–485. https://doi. org/10.1046/j.1439-0426.2002.00426.x
Schneberger, E., and L. A. Woodbury. 1946. The lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens Rafinesque, in Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin. Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 36:131–140.
Sulak, K.J., R.E. Edwards, G.W. Hill, and M.T. Randall. 2002. Why do sturgeons jump? Insights from acoustic investigations of the Gulf Sturgeon. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 18:617-620.
Williamson, D. F. 2003. Caviar and conservation: status, management and trade of North American sturgeon and paddlefish. World Wildlife Fund. Washington, D. C.