Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Biology (M.S.)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Carl Ruetz

Second Advisor

Eric Snyder

Third Advisor

David Caroffino

Academic Year



Since lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens monitoring began on the Kalamazoo River in 2009, there has been no documentation of survival past the egg stage. Spawning has occurred directly below Calkins Dam and, in 2016, an artificial spawning reef was constructed 275-m downstream to improve habitat and increase survival to the larval stage. The site was monitored with egg mats and larval drift nets to document evidence of successful natural reproduction of lake sturgeon one year prior to construction (2016) and three years post-construction of the artificial reef (2017-2019). Fertilized lake sturgeon eggs were captured all four years of the study at the Calkins Dam site (i.e., immediately below the dam but upstream of the artificial spawning reef) and eggs were only collected on the artificial reef site the last year (2019) of the study. No larval lake sturgeon were captured at the Calkins Dam site or the artificial reef site in any year of this study. Survival from egg to larvae continues to be a population bottleneck even after the construction of the artificial spawning reef, limiting recruitment of lake sturgeon in the Kalamazoo River.