Saving Sturgeon from the Brink

Profile: Cheryl Klassen

I am originally from Steinbach, Manitoba, and upon graduation from the Steinbach Regional Secondary School, I was awarded the Chown Centennial Scholarship by the University of Manitoba.  After four years of study, I completed my Bachelor of Science degree (with distinction) in Ecology.  Through courses offered in the Ecology program at the Faculty of Science, I was able to:  travel to Churchill, Manitoba and observe polar bears and caribou in the wild, conduct a behavioural study at the Assiniboine Park Zoo on a captive herd of muskox and spend time at the University of Manitoba's Delta Marsh Field Station learning valuable field research techniques.  These experiences led me to pursue a career in biology and conservation.        

Summer employment with the Manitoba Science Academy in Pinawa, Manitoba (formerly Deep River Science Academy) presented me with the opportunity to study lake sturgeon, a fish whose numbers have plummeted over the past century due to over-fishing.  I worked on a research project focused on developing more efficient methods of rearing larval and juvenile lake sturgeon in order to support stocking programs.  My fascination with these unique creatures and concern for their continued existence, led me to build on this research at a higher level and I obtained my Master of Science degree in Biology from the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton campus) in 2007.

Over the past few years, success in the hatchery has resulted in large numbers of juvenile lake sturgeon being released into Manitoba waters.  The survival rate of these released animals is currently unknown, and to learn more about their survival, I have moved my research from the hatcheries to the rivers.  To continue my research, I chose to return to the University of Manitoba and am currently pursuing a PhD in the newly formed department of Biological Sciences.  I am hopeful that the results of my research will shed new light on the effectiveness of using cultured lake sturgeon for the purposes of restoring their population. More >>

Cheryl Klassen
Ph.D. Student
Biological Science

Feeding young sturgeon