Clark Shaw students get up close look at gulf sturgeon findings

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:13 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -Nearly two weeks ago, Tami May found quite a surprise near a pier in Coden.

“I just thought it was really neat looking. It looked like a dinosaur. It looked like more of a reptile than a fish,” said Tami May.

May’s discovery turned out to be a gulf sturgeon which experts consider a living fossil. They’ve been around for about 200 million years but finding one nowadays is extremely rare. Researchers can use tags like these to keep track of ones that are found.

“What we do is we pass a wand over it and generate a number and that number acts as the fish’s social security code.”

Dr. Mike Andres with Southern Miss says this sturgeon was originally caught in the Pearl River back in 2018. Thanks to the tag they were able to see how the fish grew in the last seven years.

“It was a male fish. At the time of first capture, it was not an adult. It was then a mature adult,” said Dr. Mike Andres.

Today Dr. Andres was able to share these findings with may’s class at Clark Shaw where students were able to see some of the of the research firsthand.

“We were able to track everything together and bring it full circle while also providing class experience for a lot of folks,” said Andres.

The students say they got a lot out of today’s presentation.

“Finding out like the patterns where the sturgeons were going along the gulf coast and how they were endangered in 1991 not too long ago,” said Jacob Kennamer.

Most say their favorite part was the dissection and now some of them can’t wait to try it out for themselves.

“I never knew you could do so much with just a fish and intestines,” said Jaedyn Moore. “When it was dissecting, I got kind of grossed out, but I got used to it. It kind of got me prepared to dissect a frog.”


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