Figuring out the Fitness of Fish
Students will receive data from actual PIT tagging.  Students will then take the data from the PIT tagging and do calculations to figure out the fitness of the fish and the amount of food that the captive fish should be eating, or if they should be released back into the wild if they are unfit.
Students will use calculations to analyze the fitness of sturgeon.
Students will analyze the fitness information and correlate it to the recovery efforts of the North Atlantic Sturgeon
  • Webquest: Identifying the Fitness of Sturgeon (Word) (PDF)
  • Data Sheet for the Webquest (Word) (PDF)
  • Computers with Internet Access
1. Teacher will have students complete a WebQuest based upon the research done at Horn Point Laboratory, MD.
1a. Students will examine the physical and behavioral characteristics of the sturgeon by going to specific websites and filling in a data table.
1b. Students will look at the data based on 13 actual PIT Tagged Sturgeon and calculate the condition factor and fitness of the fish based on the examples.  Students will show their calculations on their data sheets for the WebQuest.
1c. Students will analyze the data and make conclusions to which fish need to be released, food added or subtracted or changed.
2. Completion of the data sheet is the assessment for this Extension exercise.

Note: the teacher could have students use Excel to graph and use the macros in Excel.
Erin Markin, UMCES Horn Point Laboratory
Angie Hengst, UMCES Horn Point Laboratory
Dr. Andy Lazur, UMCES Horn Point Laboratory
Ecosystem Restoration Institute, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science


MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR)


MD DNR Sturgeon Fact Sheet


MD DNR Newspaper Press Release Cambridge, MD

Maryland Restoration Managers to Attempt Laboratory Breeding of Mature Sturgeon


Saving Sturgeon


Sturgeon Looking Ahead


UMCES Horn Point Laboratory Fin Fish Hatchery


                     Current Research

            Sturgeon Restoration



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

                     (USFWS) Sturgeon Fact Sheet



                     Cooperative Tagging Program (with slide show of tagging process)



Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

Sturgeon Photos


Williams, J.E. 2000. The Coefficient of Condition of Fish.   Chapter 13 in Schneider, James C.

            (ed.) 2000. Manual of fisheries survey methods II: with periodic updates. Michigan

            Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Special Report 25, Ann Arbor.


Discovery News links:


State Standards
1.1.2- The student will modify or affirm scientific ideas according to accumulated evidence.
1.2.3- The student will formulate a working hypothesis.
1.4.2- The student will analyze data to make predictions, decisions, or draw conclusions.
1.6.4- The student will manipulate quantities and/or numerical values in algebraic equations.
1.6.5- The student will judge the reasonableness of an answer.
1.7.1- The student will apply the skills, processes, and concepts of biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science to societal issues.
3.5.3- The student will investigate how natural and man-made changes in environmental conditions will affect individual organisms and the dynamics of populations.
3.6.1- The student will analyze the consequences and/or trade-offs between technological changes and their effect on the individual, society, and the environment. They may select topics such as bioethics, genetic engineering, endangered species, or food supply. (NTB)
6.4.5- Analyze the effectiveness of the action project in terms of achieving the desired outcomes.
Lesson Resources