Thursday, December 16, 2010

Columbia researchers study intersex sturgeon in Missouri River

(this article was published in the Dec. 6 edition of the Columbia Missourian. Here's the direct link, which contains great photos, background and action info not copied here:

Monday, December 6, 2010 | 10:38 p.m. CST; updated 11:54 a.m. CST, Tuesday, December 7, 2010
BY Katy Bergen
COLUMBIA — Donald Tillitt was in his office at the Columbia Environmental Research Center when he received a call.

“You need to come back here and look at these,” Tillitt recalls biologist and colleague Diana Papoulias saying.

The year was 2000 and the U.S. Geological Survey research center on New Haven Road was dissecting shovelnose sturgeon from a site south of Columbia in the Missouri River. By studying the reproduction of the species, scientists hoped they could shed light on decreasing populations of a similar but endangered species — the pallid sturgeon.

When Tillitt looked inside the fish before him he saw ovarian tissue — black eggs — growing around white testicular tissue. It had the fully developed sex organs of both a male and a female sturgeon.

Cutoff at Liberty Bend

text by Steve Schnarr
video compiled and produced by Mark Frazier

I thought to kick off this Missouri River news feed, it would be cool to show a piece of film from 1949. Mark Frazier found this footage, then edited it and posted it on YouTube (including soundtrack).

This film shows the public spectacle of cutting off Liberty Bend on the Missouri River, just downstream of Kansas City. Today you can visit the site of the "new" channel by crossing the river on Highway 291 or by exiting just south of the river and checking out La Benite Park.

A few charges of dynamite and the river started cutting its new path. The pilot chute was 10 feet wide, designed to erode to a 1,000 foot channel. It worked. A bridge had already been constructed on dry land to cross the new river channel.

(Mark purchased this footage on ebay, then did the research to figure out who was there. Here's the direct link to YouTube: