« Atlantic Salmon Ecosystems Research Team
Atlantic sturgeon
taken pursuant to ESA permit
numbers 1595, 16306 and 16526
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Understand the life history, population dynamics and habitat requirements of our most iconic fishes…Atlantic salmon and sturgeon.
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Atlantic salmon

NEFSC’s Atlantic Salmon Ecosystems Research Team Internships

The Atlantic Salmon Research Team and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture are pleased to announce the continuation of a work study/internship program, available to students at the University of Maine. These paid work opportunities will introduce undergraduates to careers in fisheries science through active involvement in research projects and mentoring by NOAA scientists, in conjunction with the University’s School of Marine Sciences and other natural resource programs.

The Maine Field Station, located in Orono, is specifically dedicated to the study of sea-run fish and their ecosystems. While Atlantic salmon is a primary focus, researchers work on a suite of species such as alewives, blueback herring, rainbow smelt, American shad, Atlantic tomcod and Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon. These fish occur throughout Maine’s watersheds and their life histories connect our coastal rivers with the Gulf of Maine and the oceanic waters from Florida to Greenland.

Historically, US Atlantic salmon were abundant in rivers from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, but now the only naturally spawning populations are found in Maine. These Gulf of Maine salmon are at great risk of extinction and are listed as an endangered species. This decline can be attributed to both natural and anthropogenic factors with primary threats being decreased marine survival and habitat loss. Evaluating contemporary marine survival by tracking Atlantic salmon with telemetry and following growth patterns using fish scales are two methods employed to assess marine threats. Evaluating the impacts of dam removal and habitat restoration are also ongoing efforts by Maine Field Station staff, and have been a focus of the Northeast Salmon Team, which works to promote the recovery and future sustainability of Atlantic salmon and all native sea-run fish.

Students will have an opportunity to work from 2 to 3 hours per week, during the academic year, and up to a 10 week summer internship, and will become involved in different aspects of the activities listed below. Work options will range from manual labor, to data entry, to preliminary data analysis, and could involve independent Capstone Projects:

  • Age and growth studies of diadromous (sea-run) fish
  • Surveys to assess diadromous fish in Maine’s rivers
  • Stock assessments for Atlantic salmon
  • Examining historical tagging databases in US and Canada
  • Evaluating dam removal as it relates to sea-run fish habitat restoration
  • Hatchery rearing of salmon from egg to smolt, to release in the wild
  • Policy related to endangered and protected species

For further information, and detail regarding specific projects, contact:
Dr. Gayle Zydlewski (gayle.zydlewski@maine.edu) or Dr. Rich Langton (rich.langton@noaa.gov)

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(File Modified Aug. 23 2016)