Atlantic salmon—also known as the “King of Fish”—spend part of their lives in both fresh and saltwater. Their relatively complex life history begins with spawning and rearing juveniles in rivers. Then they migrate to saltwater to feed, grow, and mature before returning to freshwater to spawn.
Wild Atlantic salmon population levels are very low due to a variety of factors, including habitat destruction, dams, and historic overfishing. Atlantic salmon once returned by the tens of thousands to most major rivers along the northeastern United States. Now, they only return in small numbers (<2,000) to rivers in Maine.
We study these salmon, their movements, and the ecosystems where they live to better understand how to recover their populations.
Understanding Salmon Populations
The Atlantic Salmon Ecosystems Research Team (ASERT) studies the dynamics of U.S. Atlantic salmon populations in a variety of areas: Maine rivers and estuaries, the Gulf of Maine, the Northeast shelf into the northern Labrador Sea, and Coastal Greenland.
We focus on endangered U.S. Atlantic salmon populations and the ecosystems where these iconic fish live. An essential part of these ecosystems is the diadromous fish community, which includes river herring, American shad, rainbow smelt, and eight other species.