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Virginia sturgeon may be key to recovery

December 2, 2010

Researcher Matt Balazik wears his passion for saving the Atlantic sturgeon on his right arm - a tattoo of the ancient fish - and lives it by counting the bottom-feeding giants in the James River.

The 30-year-old doctoral student is part sturgeon wrangler, part census taker as he patrols the river in a small boat, checking 1,000-foot-long nets for what scientists believe is the last viable reproductive population of Atlantic sturgeon in the Chesapeake Bay. Sturgeon, which have survived virtually unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, are dwindling worldwide under the influence of human beings.

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