Reintroduction of the European sturgeon to Germany
We work on the prerequisites for the restoration and reestablishment of both the European and the Baltic sturgeon in their historic range – with a focus on the rivers Elbe and Oder. We combine restoration management and functional biology to study behavior of early life phases. The results help us to develop assessment tools for habitat suitability studies and to improve rearing conditions to increase fitness for survival.
In collaboration with our our geneticists we develop breeding plans and management tools to improve broodstock maintenance and restoration efficiency of the ex situ measures. Field studies on movement and habitat use in the wild, and recapture data of juvenile sturgeons are used to determine critical impacts and to develop counter measures: for instance modified gillnets for the inner coastal waters that can reduce by-catch of sturgeons by 98%.
The in situ work also addresses the restoration options and effects for large rivers in close collaboration with our River Revitalization colleagues, exemplified on the river Havel. Transfer of the experiences in this work is taking place through collaborations with partners in France, the Netherlands, the Danube region, under the Helcom Convention as well as through the World Sturgeon Conservation Society.
To increase public awareness the project Wanderfisch – funded within the Science Year by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research – provided information and materials for schools and educational institutions, involving several groups in public releases at the river Oder.