Sturgeons are currently the focus of intense conservation efforts because of the precipitous decline in abundance of many sturgeon species and populations. The reason for the decline is historic overharvesting in commercial fisheries (due to their economic value) and their vulnerability to habitat modifications as a consequence of anthropogenic activities. Numerous sturgeon species and stocks are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and more are listed as vulnerable or as species of special concern by state and provincial agencies in the United States and Canada. Although population viability of sturgeon species and stocks in many cases is uncertain, the need for their protection is paramount. In a recent article Musick et al. (2000) reported that of nearly 60 genera of endangered fishes, other than marine Sebastes spp., more North American sturgeons were listed as threatened or endangered than any other group. Many recent publications attest to the immediate attention required to reverse this trend. Although past volumes on sturgeon address a broad range of sturgeon topics from a global perspective (e.g., Birstein et al. 1997; Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Sturgeons 1999), this book presents a diverse array of biological and ecological research that is directly applicable to effective conservation and management of North American sturgeons.