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Sea Run Fish

Restoration of river herring is critical to rebuilding coastal ecosystems and strengthening climate resilience as the Gulf of Maine continues to warm. Manomet supports community-driven river herring restoration and is tracking the impact of such efforts on river herring abundance and coastal food webs.    River herring is a collective term for two species, alewives and blueback herring. They are anadromous, which means they live primarily in the ocean and migrate upstream each spring to spawn in freshwater lakes and ponds before returning to the ocean. Historically, they have been foundational species in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, comprising an important source of forage, along with marine species such as Atlantic herring and menhaden, for birds, mammals, and commercially valuable...

Interview with Scott Johnston, US Fish and Wildlife

One of Manomet’s core beliefs is that by working in partnership, we can more effectively influence and scale our impact. One key example of this partnership is the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative (AFSI), led by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Manomet serves on the Executive Committee of AFSI, working closely with Scott Johnston of the USFWS. We had the opportunity to sit down with Scott to get an update on the ASFI business plan and some of his other work. Tell us a little bit about your work at the USFWS. I am the Branch Chief for Populations in the Division of Migratory Birds, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region. The Branch of Populations focuses on waterfowl,...

Resilient Habitats

Mending nature to benefit wildlife and human communities For animals that travel tremendous distances — like migratory shorebirds that span continents, or fish that leave ocean life to spawn in rivers and streams — a diverse network of healthy and intact coastal, riverine, wetland, and grassland habitats are critical to ensuring that migratory populations thrive. At Manomet, our greatest conservation accomplishments involve our ability to work with others, integrating cutting-edge science, targeted management actions, and long-term monitoring to improve habitat. Throughout the Americas, we identify threats to nature and develop measures to alleviate pressure on the most valuable and sensitive ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems and vibrant wildlife populations are critical to ensuring that human communities thrive. Manomet is committed to understanding...

Georgia Bight Shorebird Conservation Initiative

The Georgia Bight Shorebird Conservation Initiative was launched in May 2018 to address specific threats to the shorebirds dependent on the southeastern region of the Atlantic Coast. By increasing the involvement of the public, as well as state and federal agencies, we strive to build a local, holistic culture of shorebird conservation to ensure the region continues to provide the resources necessary to sustain shorebirds throughout the year. For many shorebirds our focal geographic area, which encompasses coastal South Carolina, Georgia and northeastern Florida, provides exceptional habitat. This section of the coast is studded with barrier islands and highly dynamic inlets and estuaries that support more than 300,000 shorebirds annually. The unique curved coastline of the Georgia Bight results in...

Green Crab Research

As climate change continues to alter the abundance and distribution of invasive species, new strategies will need to be developed to mitigate the resulting ecological and socioeconomic impacts. Manomet’s green crab work aims to develop fisheries and markets that will provide a new source of economic opportunity for fishers and coastal communities. Utilizing an invasive species to diversify fisheries resources may ultimately enhance the future resiliency of New England’s coastal communities, and could serve as a unique example of how to mitigate and adapt to the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of climate-driven change.

Arctic Shorebird Research

In recent decades, shorebird populations have plummeted. Without effective and immediate action, some species could disappear entirely in the coming decades. Scientists know that populations are falling precipitously, but they don’t know exactly why. Through our Arctic shorebird research, Manomet researchers hope to unlock some of the mysteries of these dramatic shorebird population declines.

American Oystercatcher Recovery

By 2009, human encroachment, habitat loss, destruction and other threats had reduced the entire North American population of American Oystercatchers to around 10,200 individuals. Our research team works to increase this number by coordinating the American Oystercatcher Working Group, which implements rangewide research and management efforts that promote the conservation of American Oystercatchers and their habitats. Manomet supports participating organizations with fundraising, coordinates the monitoring that serves as the common success measure for the initiative, and conducts research on factors limiting Oystercatcher populations. We currently manage and monitor nearly 400 nesting pairs of oystercatcher in the Northeast. Our key strategies respond directly to the issues raised in the Business Plan for the Conservation of the American Oystercatcher, and include: Predation...

Fall Field Guide for the Gulf of Maine

Fall is a time of many changes; on land, it’s hard to ignore the changing color of the leaves and cooling temperatures. While the changes happening underwater may not be as visible, if you look close enough, you’ll see that marine organisms go through their own transitions, too. Several species are currently preparing for the harsh winter conditions of the Gulf of Maine and the changing seasonal cues trigger many different types of behavior. If you find yourself in intertidal and shallow subtidal areas of the coast of New England this season, see if you can spot examples of these seasonal marine phenomena. For most shellfish, the growing season is during the warmer months, when there is more food available...

New fish on the block: The expanding range of black sea bass in the Gulf of Maine

The Gulf of Maine is one of the world’s most productive marine ecosystems—the heart of New England’s fishing heritage for over 400 years. Today, the Gulf is one of the fastest warming bodies of water on the planet, leading to big changes in the marine environment and a changing mix of species that survive and thrive. Black Sea Bass – a temperate reef fish once a rarity in these waters – are becoming increasingly abundant. Join Dr. Marissa McMahan, Director of Fisheries, to learn how we are studying sea bass in its newly expanded habitat in order to understand its ecological impacts, as well as support the development of a black sea bass fishery in the Gulf of Maine.

eDNA Research

Environmental DNA, or eDNA, is a new research and monitoring tool that Manomet uses in our fisheries and shorebirds research. All organisms shed DNA – in the form of scales, gametes, waste products, and more. By analyzing water and sediment samples, we can match DNA found in the samples to that of species of interest, allowing us to learn more about species distribution and population abundance. For our fisheries research, we are focused on river herring and shellfish. The mapping of the human genome was a huge breakthrough less than 20 years ago; now, the process of mapping genomes has become routine and the genomes of thousands of species are available from a federal database. The benefits of eDNA analysis...

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