Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station

Jackson, MO, United States

Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station

Jackson, MO, United States

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Koch B.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Brooks R.C.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Oliver A.,U.S. Army | Herzog D.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | And 5 more authors.
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society | Year: 2012

The pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus is a U.S. federally endangered species that occurs in the 320-km middle Mississippi River (MMR). Historic in-channel island habitat has vanished, and the extent of the population's range within the MMR is unknown.We surgically implanted ultrasonic transmitters in 88 adult pallid sturgeon (>600 mm fork length;mean=791 mm) during 2002-2005 and used boat-mounted hydrophones to quantify their seasonal use of major MMR habitat features (wing dikes, side channels, island side channel tips, tributaries, and main channel; total of 8,629 river kilometers monitored). Distance fromhabitat features (gravel bars, wing dikes, and island side channels) was quantified during spring, a period considered to be critical for many fish species.We quantified maximum seasonal movement of each fish in the entire MMR with stationary data-logging hydrophones during 2004-2006. Combining data across years and seasons, we found that pallid sturgeon selected the tips of wing dikes over other habitat features. However, during spring pallid sturgeon moved from the tips of wing dikes to within about 100 m of known gravel bars. Maximum distance moved by pallid sturgeon varied the most in spring relative to other seasons. One pallid sturgeon moved through the entire study reach, and a few individuals left the MMR for the Missouri River or the lower Mississippi River. Unique flow and substrate characteristics of wing dikes probably emulated missing habitat complexity (i.e., in-channel islands, deep scour holes, and sand bars). Other habitats such as gravel bars may be important during spring, although their contributions to reproduction, foraging, and survival of pallid sturgeon are unknown. The range of this pallid sturgeon population extends beyond the entire stretch of the MMR into other river basins; thus, the population requires rangewide management. © American Fisheries Society 2012.


McCain K.N.S.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | McCain K.N.S.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Baer S.G.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Blair J.M.,Kansas State University | Wilson G.W.T.,Oklahoma State University
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2010

Warm-season (C 4) grasses commonly dominate tallgrass prairie restorations, often at the expense of subordinate grasses and forbs that contribute most to diversity in this ecosystem. To assess whether the cover and abundance of dominant grass species constrain plant diversity, we removed 0, 50, or 100% of tillers of two dominant species (Andropogon gerardii or Panicum virgatum) in a 7-year-old prairie restoration. Removing 100% of the most abundant species, A. gerardii, significantly increased light availability, forb productivity, forb cover, species richness, species evenness, and species diversity. Removal of a less abundant but very common species, P. virgatum, did not significantly affect resource availability or the local plant community. We observed no effect of removal treatments on critical belowground resources, including inorganic soil N or soil moisture. Species richness was inversely correlated with total grass productivity and percent grass cover and positively correlated with light availability at the soil surface. These relationships suggest that differential species richness among removal treatments resulted from treatment induced differences in aboveground resources rather than the belowground resources. Selective removal of the dominant species A. gerardii provided an opportunity for seeded forb species to become established leading to an increase in species richness and diversity. Therefore, management practices that target reductions in cover or biomass of the dominant species may enhance diversity in established and grass-dominated mesic grassland restorations. © 2010 Society for Ecological Restoration International.


Phelps Q.E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Whitledge G.W.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Tripp S.J.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Smith K.T.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | And 8 more authors.
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences | Year: 2012

Understanding linkages between natal and nursery habitats is critical for conservation of riverine fishes. Scaphirhynchus sturgeons inhabiting the middle Mississippi River may originate from the Missouri or Mississippi rivers, although relative importance of these recruitment sources is unknown. We characterized the relationship between water and sturgeon fin ray Sr:Ca, verified shifts in water Sr:Ca are recorded in age-0 sturgeon fin rays, and determined whether age-0 sturgeons from the Mississippi and Missouri rivers exhibited distinct fin ray Sr:Ca signatures. Fin ray Sr:Ca of laboratory-reared fish reflected transfer from water with elevated Sr:Ca to ambient water 1 day posthatch, indicating that short-term residency in environments can be detected. Nine of 30 age-0 fish captured in the middle Mississippi River were Missouri River emigrants. Four of these emigrants originated in the upper portion of the lower Missouri River (≥589 km upstream from its mouth), where water Sr:Ca is higher compared with the lowermost section of the Missouri River and the Mississippi River. Twenty-five of 30 fish collected from the lowermost section of the Missouri River originated within this river segment; the remainder originated upriver. Fin ray Sr:Ca enables identification of natal river segment for age-0 sturgeons and contributions of river segments to sturgeon recruitment.


Bueltmann A.T.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Bueltmann A.T.,Southeast Missouri State University | Phelps Q.E.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Phelps Q.E.,Southeast Missouri State University
Copeia | Year: 2015

Harvest regulations are important for fishes that are both commercially and recreationally sought after such as Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) throughout the Middle Mississippi River. Monitoring total harvest and understanding Channel catfish population dynamics (i.e., recruitment, growth, and mortality) are crucial for managing a sustainable population. Total commercial harvest and current harvest regulations in the Middle Mississippi River have not recently been evaluated. Thus, we evaluated total commercial harvest reports from 1945-2012 along with commercial fishing effort, population dynamics for the Middle Mississippi River Channel catfish population, and simulated the effects of various length limits on the reproductive potential and yield per recruit of the Channel catfish population. Overall, total commercial harvest has drastically declined from 1990-2012, while commercial effort has remained relatively constant. We speculate overexploitation as a possible cause to the decline in harvest given relatively constant commercial fishing effort. We collected 501 Channel catfish from the Middle Mississippi River during spring, summer, and fall of 2012-2013. Channel catfish were weighed, measured, aged (via lapilli otoliths), and egg samples were collected for fecundity estimates to obtain population level information. We used the static form of the spawning potential ratio (SPR) and the yield per recruit model to simulate variable exploitation rates at three different length limits (e.g., 356 mm, 381 mm, and 406 mm). Our yield per recruit simulation modeling results identified that a 381 mm length limit would not lead to growth overfishing until exploitation rates were between ∼50 and 70%. Furthermore, simulation modeling predicted that the SPR was not below a critical minimum conservative threshold of 20% until exploitation rates reached between 50 and 70%; therefore, the population appears to be sustainable under the current length limit of 381 mm, if exploitation rates do not exceed 50-70%. © 2015 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.


Motsinger J.R.,University of Missouri | Kabrick J.M.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Dey D.C.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Henderson D.E.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Zenner E.K.,Pennsylvania State University
New Forests | Year: 2010

Regenerating oaks (Quercus L.) on mesic and hydric sites has remained a problem largely because of inadequate density and poor distribution of large oak advance reproduction prior to harvesting. We examined the effect of midstory and understory removal on the establishment and 3-year development of natural and artificial sources of pin oak (Q. palustris Muenchh.) advance reproduction in bottomland forests in southeastern Missouri, USA. Midstory and understory removals increased the photosynthetically-active radiation (PAR) reaching the seedling layer from about 3 to 15%. This increased light did not increase the density of natural pin oak advance reproduction compared to control, but it increased the survival and nominally increased the growth of the natural pin oak advance reproduction. Where the midstory and understory had been removed, underplanted RPM® container stock and bareroot pin oak stock maintained high survival, but of the two only the RPM® stock maintained positive height and diameter growth while bareroot stock suffered some growth reductions. Pin oaks originating from the direct seeding of stratified acorns sown in the spring had low germination and survival, but the survivors had growth rates similar to those of natural seedlings in thinned stands. Applying triclopyr to competitors in the ground flora layer only nominally increased PAR but reduced the percent survival and marginally increased the growth of natural and artificial pin oak. We conclude that artificial reproduction may be used to further increase the probability of achieving adequate numbers of the desired species in the future. Bareroot seedlings may not perform as well as RPM® seedlings and natural seedlings already present. However, bareroot and RPM® seedlings remained significantly larger than the natural seedlings after 3 years. © 2009 U.S. Government.


Henderson D.E.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Jose S.,University of Missouri
Agroforestry Systems | Year: 2010

A study was conducted in an agricultural field to examine the biomass production of three fastgrowing short rotation woody crop (SRWC) species, Populus deltoides, Quercus pagoda, and Platanus occidentalis using fertilization and irrigation (fertigation). The study included a randomized complete block (RCB) with five treatments; control, irrigated, and irrigated with 56, 112, and 224 kg nitrogen (N) ha-1 year-1. We quantified survival, basal area, standing biomass, aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP), leaf area index (LAI), and growth efficiency (GE) for each species along the soil nitrogen and water gradient. P. deltoides had low rates of survival (83, 82, and 77% years six, seven, and eight, respectively), but had production values greater than Q. pagoda and P. occidentalis. Standing biomass reached its peak for P. deltoides and P. occidentalis (17.56 and 10.36 Mg ha1, respectively) in the irrigation treatment, and in the 112 kg N treatment for Q. pagoda (5.42 Mg ha-1). P. deltoides and P. occidentalis ANPP peaked in the irrigation treatment (6.66 and 6.31 Mg ha-1 year-1, respectively) and in the 112 kg N (4.43 Mg ha-1 year-1) for Q. pagoda. ANPP was correlated with LAI; however, the relationship was species specific. Maximum ANPP was reached below the maximum LAI for Q. pagoda and P. occidentalis. P. deltoides ANPP was highest at the maximum LAI, which was achieved with IRR. These results suggest that species-specific cultural practices producing optimum LAI and maximum ANPP should be identified before fertigation techniques are adopted widely for SRWC production on agricultural fields. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Phelps Q.E.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Ridings J.W.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Herzog D.P.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station
American Midland Naturalist | Year: 2014

American eel populations are declining and have recently become a species of interest by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to list as a threatened species. However, the American eel population in the largest inland lotic waterway in North America (Mississippi River) has received little attention despite the apparent relevance. Because of the lack of information on the Mississippi, we evaluated trends in relative abundance and habitats occupied by American eel using long-term data collected on the Mississippi River (i.e., Upper Mississippi River Restoration-Environmental Management Program). During the 18 y study, a total of 92 American eels were collected throughout the Upper Mississippi River (Lake City, Minnesota downstream to Cape Girardeau, Missouri) with a relatively fewer individuals captured as of recent. Across macrohabitats, unstructured and structured (i.e., diked) main channel borders had the greatest number of American eels captured; however, eels were infrequently captured in impounded habitats. In terms of mesohabitat use, most American eels were captured in areas characterized by the shallowest waters, rock substrates, and low velocities. We believe the information provided in this study will promote American eel conservation in the Mississippi River. © 2013, American Midland Naturalist.


Phelps Q.E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Tripp S.J.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Garvey J.E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Herzog D.P.,Open Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | And 4 more authors.
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society | Year: 2010

Habitat use by wild age-0 shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus and pallid sturgeon S. albus was quantified by trawling macrohabitats (i.e., main channel, main-channel border, island, and artificial structures [e.g., wing dams]) in the middle Mississippi River during 1998-2007 (1,702 trawls; n = 1,507 age-0 sturgeon captured). Age-0 sturgeon catch rates were highest around artificial structures and island areas, while main-channel habitat provided the lowest catch rates. Moreover, size-selective macrohabitat analyses indicated that small age-0 sturgeon (i.e., majority < 50 mm total length) were located in channel-border dike and island side-channel macrohabitats, while all other macrohabitats were occupied by small and large age-0 sturgeon. Furthermore, our analyses indicated that age-0 sturgeon mesohabitat use within macrohabitats was influenced by depth, substrate, and bottom velocity. Low velocity (i.e., ~0.1 m/s), moderate depths (i.e., 2-5 m), and sand substrate were positively related to age-0 sturgeon relative abundance. As such, instream habitat modifications that provide the correct combination of macrohabitats with suitable mesohabitats may hold high densities of age-0 shovelnose sturgeon and pallid sturgeon and may improve recruitment success. © Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2010.


Phelps Q.E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Tripp S.J.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Hintz W.D.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Garvey J.E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | And 5 more authors.
North American Journal of Fisheries Management | Year: 2010

Several studies have investigated the demographics of shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus and pallid sturgeon S. albus in the Mississippi River through assessment of adult populations; however, comparatively few studies have examined the early life history of these species. Here, we describe a comprehensive 4-year study that examined the effects of water temperature and river stage on the mortality, abundance, hatch timing, and growth rates of age-0 Scaphirhynchus spp. sturgeon in the middle Mississippi River. We trawled island areas every 7-10 d from April to August 2004-2007. We captured 1,256 individuals ranging from 10 to 193 mm total length over the 4-year study. Mean age-0 sturgeon growth rates ranged from 1.42 to 1.50 mm/d over the 4 years; however, growth rates did not differ among years. Individuals hatched over a 25-65-d period, and peak hatch dates were between 10 and 20 May in all years. Moreover, hatch timing possibly coincided with optimum spawning temperatures of 17-20°C and an increase in river stage. Abundance appeared to be regulated by river stage; longer durations of high water were related to higher relative abundance. Furthermore, mortality increased with the number of days on which water temperature exceeded 28°C. Based on these data, management strategies may need to ensure sturgeon hatching success and subsequent survival through optimizing hydrologic and thermal regimes that occur during the early life stage. © American Fisheries Society 2010.


Sechler D.R.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Phelps Q.E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Tripp S.J.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Garvey J.E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | And 5 more authors.
North American Journal of Fisheries Management | Year: 2012

The main stems of large rivers throughout the world have been highly modified with little consideration for effects on fishes that rely on these areas to complete their life histories. Particularly important is the ability of riverine habitats to provide foraging opportunities for young fish.We explored how temperature, flow, and food availability influenced diet content, prey selection (Strauss's linear selectivity index), and energy condition of age-0 shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus and pallid sturgeon S. albus in major habitat areas (e.g., islands, channel borders, wing dikes, and side channels) of the middle Mississippi River during spring (March-May) and summer (June-August) 2008. Standardized diet mass (dry mass standardized for fish body mass) of the age-0 sturgeon peaked at about 19 °C and at a flow velocity of 0.5 m/s. Although potential prey taxa were diverse, the diets for age-0 sturgeon of all sizes were dominated by mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and midge larvae (Chironomidae) across all habitats. As age-0 sturgeon grew, the relative energy return per habitat appeared to diverge; island tips upstream of the main channel and channel border areas behind wing dikes provided higher gains in standardized diet mass than other habitats. No differences in energy condition (kJ/g) occurred among habitats, although large (51-200 mm total length [TL]) age-0 sturgeon had higher energy densities than their small (≤50 mm TL) counterparts. Enhancement of areas with flow and substrates that facilitate the production and availability of midges and mayflies (e.g., instream island complexes) is critical for the recruitment of age-0 Scaphirhynchus sturgeon in large rivers. © American Fisheries Society 2012.

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