The Impact of Alewives in Local Maine Waters

Specifically, MacRae and her research student will look at the effects of re-introducing alewives on small schooling fishes in the littoral zone, the area of the lake that is close to the shore. These littoral fish typically feed on plankton and are prey to area sport fish, occupying an important place in marine food webs.

Maine’s historically thriving alewife population has plummeted over the last two centuries, largely due to dams that block the natural spawning migration pattern of the species. The effect on recreational fish of alewife re-introduction in area lakes has been the focus of various local studies, however, MacRae’s background and experience as a fish community ecologist bring to light the importance of examining the impact on small forage fish as well.