The imperiled status of Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), a large, long-lived, anadromous fish found along the Atlantic coast of North America, has prompted efforts at captive propagation for research and stock enhancement.
The purpose of this study was to establish hematology and plasma chemistry reference intervals of captive Atlantic sturgeon maintained under different culture conditions.
Blood specimens were collected from a total of 119 fish at 3 hatcheries: Lamar, PA (n = 36, ages 10–14 years); Chalk Point, MD (n = 40, siblings of Lamar); and Horn Point, Cambridge, MD (n = 43, mixed population from Chesapeake Bay). Reference intervals (using robust techniques), median, mean, and standard deviations were determined for WBC, RBC, thrombocytes, PCV, HGB, MCV, MCH, MCHC, and absolute counts for lymphocytes (L), neutrophils (N), monocytes, and eosinophils. Chemistry analytes included concentrations of total proteins, albumin, glucose, urea, calcium, phosphate, sodium, potassium, chloride, and globulins, AST, CK, and LDH activities, and osmolality.
Mean concentrations of total proteins, albumin, and glucose were at or below the analytic range. Statistical comparisons showed significant differences among hatcheries for each remaining plasma chemistry analyte and for PCV, RBC, MCHC, MCH, eosinophil and monocyte counts, and N:L ratio throughout all 3 groups. Therefore, reference intervals were calculated separately for each population.
Reference intervals for fish maintained under differing conditions should be established per population.