Survival of the Fishes: Alewife Conservation and Effects of Alewife on Young-of-Year Bluegill

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David Post
Essay Abstract: 
Currently under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), an anadromous fish species, has declined over 98% from historic population levels. Alewife is a keystone species that plays an essential role in coastal ecosystems as predator, prey, and source of marine derived nutrients. The ecological and economic importance of alewives fuel conservation and management efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. This thesis presents original research on the impacts of two different life history forms of alewives on the size and diet of a competing fish species, bluegill (Lepomis Macrochirus), and discusses the implications of the diminishing social value of alewives on these fishes’ management and conservation.