News and Updates
May 13, 2023 - A paper based on Michael Baker's MS thesis is about to be published in Endangered Species Research! In this study, we compared two modeling approaches to estimate recruitment of age-1 Atlantic Sturgeon and provide an updated index of abundance across more than a decade of sampling in the Altamaha River, Georgia. Both Huggins and VGAM models indicated similar yearly age-1 abundance estimates (Huggins: low of 163 in 2017 to high of 3839 in 2010; VGAM: 312 in 2020 to 4448 in 2010), but the VGAMs provided more direct interpretation for factors that might affect capture probability (e.g. sampling effort, temperature, fish length). Recruitment of age-1 Atlantic Sturgeon in the Altamaha River has remained relatively stable over the past decade. The pre-publication abstract is now available:
Baker, M., Irwin, B., and A.G. Fox. 2023. Refining capture-recapture recruitment estimation methods for Atlantic sturgeon. Endangered Species Research. DOI: 10.3354/esr01250.
MS Thesis Defense
March 27, 2023 - Congratulations to Max Kleinhans for successfully defending his Masters Thesis! His research focused on the Altamaha River, where he investigated the population dynamics of Shortnose Sturgeon and the environmental drivers of juvenile Atlantic Sturgeon Aggregation. Max's committee members included Drs. Nate Nibbelink, Brian Irwin, and Seth Wenger.
February 22, 2023 - Dr. Fox is a coauthor on a new paper looking at the genetics of Atlantic Sturgeon in the Ogeechee River. One particularly interesting finding was that of the two distinct genetic clusters of fish (likely fall- and spring-spawners), only one cluster was represented in offshore mixed aggregations of sturgeon.
Wirgin, I., A.G. Fox, L. Maceda, and J. Waldman. 2023. Two Distinct Life History Strategies of Atlantic Sturgeon in the Ogeechee River, Georgia. Diversity 15: 325. DOI:10.3390/d15030325
Georgia AFS 2023
February 17, 2023 - We just returned from a great Georgia AFS conference on St. Simons Island! MS students Mark D'Ercole and Max Kleinhans presented their thesis work on Gulf and Atlantic Sturgeon, and undergrad Teagan Walsh presented a poster on her project on Longnose Gar. Max was awarded 3rd place student talk! UGA had a strong showing at the conference, and there were many excellent presentations from Warnell grad and undergrad students.
Southern Division AFS 2023
February 5, 2023 - MS students Mark D'Ercole and Max Kleinhans gave great presentations at the Sturgeon Symposium at the Southern Division AFS conference in Norfolk, VA. Mark talked about his thesis research on about the effects of flow regime on recruitment in Gulf Sturgeon in the Apalachicola River, and Max presented on his thesis work on how climate change and water quality influence Atlantic Sturgeon aggregation in the Altamaha River.
Hiring Techs for Summer 2023
January 21, 2023 - The Fox Lab is looking to fill multiple fisheries technician positions for our summer 2022 research season. Technicians will be based in Darien, GA and Port St. Joe, FL. Please see the posting for additional details. Closes February 12.
Update: Technician positions filled for 2023.
Welcome New Graduate Students
January 9, 2023 - Three new students joined the lab this semester! Alan Bond (PhD), Joey Nolan (MS), and Hunter Rider (MS) will be jointly advised by Dr. Fox and Dr. Hamel. Their projects will focus on Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon in the Savannah, Ogeechee, Altamaha, and Satilla rivers in Georgia
Gulf Sturgeon Workshop
December 8, 2022 - Mark D'Ercole did an excellent job presenting his research at the first in-person Gulf Sturgeon meeting since 2020!
Fox Lab Goes to AFS in Spokane
August 26, 2022 - The lab just returned from our trip to the national AFS meeting in Spokane, WA. MS students Mark D'Ercole and Max Kleinhans both gave excellent presentations about their research! Lab alum Cortney Bunch was also at the meeting. So much cool science at the conference!
August 5, 2022 - A paper based on Brendan Dula's MS thesis has been accepted for publication! Brendan documented the effects of 2018's near-direct hit by Hurricane Michael on the Gulf Sturgeon population in the Apalachicola River.
Dula, B.T., A.J. Kaeser, C.A. Jennings, and A.G. Fox. 2022. Effects of Hurricane Michael on Gulf Sturgeon in the Apalachicola River, Florida. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 151:725–742. DOI: 10.1002/tafs.10384
May 16, 2022 - Drs. Adam Fox and Marty Hamel seek a PhD student to help lead a research team to assess populations of Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon in coastal rivers of Georgia. Additional Details about the position can be found here. Application deadline is July 1, 2022 - applications will be considered as they are received, so applicants are encouraged to submit materials as soon as possible. Start date is negotiable, but the target dates for enrollment are August 2022 (fall semester) or January 2023 (spring semester).
New Grant: Assessing Reproduction and Recruitment Dynamics of Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon
April 29, 2022 - The Fox Lab, in conjunction with the Hamel Lab and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, was awarded a 2022 Species Recovery Grant from NOAA to conduct sturgeon work in the Savannah, Ogeechee, Altamaha, and Satilla rivers in Georgia. The specific objectives of this project are to (1) quantify Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon recruitment, and (2) determine natal river fidelity and spawning periodicity using a microchemistry approach.
New Publication on Shortnose Sturgeon Aging
February 9, 2022 - A paper based on Daniel Gragson's senior thesis project has just been published in Southeastern Naturalist! Daniel looked at the pectoral fin rays of Shortnose Sturgeon in the Altamaha and Savannah rivers.
Gragson, D.L, and A.G. Fox. 2022. Comparison of first and second pectoral fin rays for use in aging Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum, LeSuer, 1818). Southeastern Naturalist 21:1-10. Link
Student Awards at Georgia AFS
February 3, 2022 - All of the Fox lab students did an outstanding job presenting at the 2022 conference of the Georgia chapter of the American Fisheries Society. MS student Max Kleinhans was awarded 3rd place student presentation, and undergraduate Alaina Davis won 2nd place student presentation!
Hiring Techs for Summer 2022
December 27, 2021 - The Fox Lab is looking to fill multiple fisheries technician positions for our summer 2022 research season. Technicians will be based in Darien, GA and Port St. Joe, FL. Please see the posting for additional details. Closes February 12.
Update: Technician positions filled for 2022.
October 19, 2021 - A paper on our Gulf Sturgeon work in the Apalachicola River from 2013-2018 has been accepted for publication! This paper encompasses much of the work done by Andrew Marbury and Nathaniel Hancock for their MS theses.
Fox, A.G., N.Q. Hancock, J.A. Marbury, A.J. Kaeser, and D.L. Peterson. Recruitment and survival of juvenile Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) in the Apalachicola River in Florida. Accepted for publication in Fishery Bulletin.
Update: Paper available from Fishery Bulletin here.
MS Thesis Defense
June 10, 2021 - Michael Baker successfully defended his Masters Thesis, 'Juvenile Atlantic Sturgeon in the Altamaha River: Refined recruitment estimation and investigating the effects of flow regime.' Congratulations, Michael! Michael's co-advisor was Dr. Brian Irwin of the USGS Georgia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit, and his committee members were Drs. Robert Bringolf and Cecil Jennings.
April 27, 2021 - Congratulations to Brendan Dula, who successfully defended his Masters Thesis, 'The effects of Hurricane Michael on annual recruitment, mortality, and migration of Gulf Sturgeon in the Apalachicola River, Florida.' Brendan's co-advisor was Dr. Cecil Jennings, and his committee members were Drs. Robert Bringolf and Adam Kaeser (USFWS).
UGA Graduate TA Award
April, 2021 - MS Student Michael Baker received an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from UGA's Center for Teaching and learning. This award recognizes the top 10% of teaching assistants demonstrating superior teaching skills while serving in the classroom or laboratory.
Senior Thesis Defense
April, 2021 - Undergraduate student Daniel Gragson completed his senior thesis and presented his work to the Warnell community. His research focused on the comparison of first and second fin rays for use in aging Shortnose Sturgeon in Georgia. Daniel also recently presented his work at the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society's online 2021 conference.
February, 2021 - A paper by Sturgeon Lab alum Andrew Marbury has been accepted for publication:
Marbury, J. A., A. Kaesar, A. Fox, D. Peterson. 2021. Experimental passage of adult male Gulf Sturgeon around Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam, FL. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 37:379-388.
Update: Available from the Journal of Applied Ichthyology here.
Student Award at WGSS 2021
February, 2021 - MS student Brendan Dula won 1st place fisheries presentation at the 2021 Warnell Graduate Student Symposium in Athens, GA.
Student Awards at GA AFS
January, 2021 - MS student Brendan Dula won first place student paper at the 2021 Georgia AFS virtual conference. His talk was titled "Effects of Hurricane Michael on annual recruitment, mortality, and behavior of Gulf Sturgeon in the Apalachicola River, Florida."
Brendan was also awarded the chapter's Ronnie J. Gilbert Scholarship, which is awarded to an outstanding student member of the chapter.
November 18, 2020 - Gina Alvarez successfully defended her Masters Thesis, 'Using video surveys to examine the effect of habitat on Gag occurrence .' Congratulations! She was co-advised by Dr. Cecil Jennings, and committee members included Dr. Brian Irwin and Dave Gandy (FWCC).
November 9, 2020 - Congratulations to Cortney Bunch for the successful defense of her Masters Thesis, 'Using side-scan sonar to quantify. the spawning runs of Atlantic Sturgeon in the Altamaha River, Georgia.' Cortney was co-advised by Dr. Cecil Jennings, and her committee included Drs. Richard Chandler and Adam Kaeser (USFWS).
July, 2020 - Sturgeon Lab alum Evan Ingram put together a paper on Shortnose Sturgeon in Georgia:
Ingram, E., D. Peterson, and A. Fox. 2020. Abundance of endangered Shortnose Sturgeon (Accipenser brevirostrum) in the Altamaha River in Georgia. Fishery Bulletin 118: 198-204.
Available from Fishery Bulletin here.
Sturgeon Symposium at SDAFS
February, 2020 - With Dr. Marty Hamel, Dr. Fox organized a symposium on "Sturgeon population dynamics: a compilation of techniques, tools, and research" at the Southern Divison AFS Meeting in Little Rock, AR.
2020 Georgia AFS Awards
January, 2020 - Fox Lab students cleaned house at the 202 Georgia Chapter AFS conference. MS student Michael Baker was awarded 1st place student paper, and MS student Brendan Dula was awarded 2nd place student paper.
Michael was also awarded the chapter's Ronnie J. Gilbert Scholarship, which is awarded to an outstanding student member.
Gina Alvarez received a certificate of appreciation from the chapter for her efforts as President of the UGA Student Sub-unit.
June, 2019 - MS Student Cortney Bunch took home the award for 2nd place presentation at the UGA Graduate Students and Post-Docs in Research Symposium, for her talk "Using side-scan sonar to quantify spawning run size of Atlantic Sturgeon in Georgia."
2019 GA AFS Student Awards
February, 2019 - Undergraduate Catlin Chapman Wells took home the first place student paper, and MS student Gina Alvarez won 2nd place student paper at the 2019 Georgia AFS conference.
Student Awards at 2017 GA AFS
January, 2017 - BSFR student Hudman Evans won the best undergraduate presentation at 2017 Georgia AFS conference. MS student Nathaniel Hancock also took home 3rd place presentation paper.