Friday November 11, 2022

UC Davis

White sturgeon have been through a lot. These giant, ancient fish that once lived among dinosaurs have survived a meteor strike, shifting continents, and the arrival of humankind. More recently, they’ve been resilient in the face of invasive species, mining pollution, and the remaking of rivers by dams and levees.

But now, a team of researchers from the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences say these fish may be facing extinction in California. In this month’s California WaterBlog, they describe their concerns for white sturgeon and offer suggestions for how to help them.

“Suddenly the future of these ancient fish does not seem so secure,” write the researchers in the blog post led by Andrea Schreier, director of the UC Davis Genomic Variation Lab.

Hundreds of sturgeon died in the San Francisco Estuary this past August to early September when the estuary experienced a bloom of “red tide” alga. Poisoning, asphyxiation, or both could have contributed to the fish kill, but a cause of death is not yet confirmed.

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