Date of Award
Rachel Lasley-Rasher PhD
estuary, environment, habitat restoration, Penobscot River
Estuaries provide many ecosystem services such as buffering the negative impacts of storms, offering recreation and commercial fishing opportunities, and they serve as a critical habitat corridor for migratory fish. In New England, estuarine habitats have been dramatically altered over the last 200 years due to dam construction; migratory fish such as Atlantic salmon and alewives have suffered. Recently, there have been several dam removal projects in Maine aimed to restore these populations – the largest of these efforts being the Penobscot River Restoration Project. In 2013, two dams were removed from the Penobscot River Estuary, opening more than 2,000 miles of rivers and streams to sea-run fish. Since 2013, migratory fish such as blueback herring and alewives have dramatically increased in number. In this study, we are measuring the effects on their zooplankton prey. Field surveys reveal an initial six-fold decrease in zooplankton abundance. Currently, we are exploring changes in species composition and diversity. These findings contribute to the understanding of trophic dynamics after following habitat restoration.
Bucci, Erin and Wilson, Karen, "Exploring the Effects of Dam Removals on Zooplankton in Penobscot Estuary" (2019). Thinking Matters Symposium. 209.