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SCUTES Adopt a Sturgeon Program

Adopt a Sturgeon

Educators are invited to “adopt” an Atlantic or shortnose sturgeon for their classroom to track every year.  For the first year, the teacher will receive a sturgeon tag number, the sturgeon’s length and weight at capture, and a picture of their sturgeon (if available).  The students are encouraged to name their sturgeon.  Every school year, we will provide tracking GPS coordinates and/or a map of where the sturgeon has travelled that year.  Depending on the grade level, the teacher may encourage students to map out the coordinates themselves by using a mapping program such as Google Earth or Arc GIS. Teachers will also be supplied with mapping directions, a “Tracking Sturgeon” lesson plan, and an animated PowerPoint presentation that explains how the data was collected by SCUTES researchers.  For classrooms that do not have mapping software, blank map handouts for drawing can also be provided.  Classes are encouraged to compare the previous maps of the sturgeon’s migration to this year’s map.

Sturgeon Tracking: Acoustic Tags

Every year, SCUTES researchers go out to rivers all along the Atlantic coast to catch Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon.  Once the sturgeon is captured, researchers may leave an acoustic tag with the fish. These tags make a “ping” sound every few seconds, and they have a unique identification number. There are different types of tags that can be attached on the outside of the sturgeon like a piercing (external) or they can be surgically inserted (internal).

External Tag
Internal Tag

Sturgeon Tracking: Receivers

Researchers have placed tag-detecting devices called receivers in various parts of each river. When a tagged sturgeon swims by a receiver, the receiver will detect the “ping” and will record the number of the tag and the date. When the researchers collect the data from each receiver, they can see which sturgeon came into the river, where they went, and what time they were entering and leaving the river.

Teachers and students are encouraged to send the SCUTES team the name of their sturgeon and any maps and drawings the students might create of their adopted sturgeon.  Maps may be posted on the SCUTES Facebook page.

If you would like to adopt a sturgeon, please contact Kimberly Damon-Randall (978-282-8485;