Oct 5: Museum Sturgeon Blogs

VIMS researchers Eric Hilton and Casey Dillman will leave VIMS on October 15 for a 3-and-a-half-week expedition to visit sturgeon collaborators and collections at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg; the Moscow University Collection in Moscow; the Danube Delta National Institute in Tulcea, Romania; and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France.

Follow along here as the pair blog about their visits to some of the world’s oldest, largest, and most important natural history museums, and their study of both preserved and newly sampled sturgeon specimens.

VIMS professor Eric Hilton holds a shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) from the Missouri River.

Eric Hilton

Hilton says the ultimate goal of their study—a collaborative venture with other sturgeon experts across the globe— is to correctly identify new and preserved sturgeon specimens in order to resolve the tangled classification of this ancient and threatened group of fishes.

With that, he says “we can make informed conservation decisions for rare and poorly known species, based on ecological and behavioral data that we might have for a closely related species that is more abundant and better studied.”

For more details about their study, visit http://www.vims.edu/newsandevents/topstories/sturgeon_taxonomy.php

About David Malmquist

David Malmquist is the Director of Communications at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary.
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