Wildlands Trust Community Conservation Barn 
675 Long Pond Road
Plymouth, MA 02360

Driving Directions 


Jerry Levine 
Herring Ponds Watershed Association 

Research on the early life stages of river herring in Great Herring Pond

Dr. Joel Llopiz, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“We’re filling in a critical gap in our knowledge of the life history of these fish species and increasing our understanding of the conditions and factors that govern their survival at this critical early life stage.” 

Small marine fishes, or ‘forage fish’ represent a critical connection between plankton and large predators in the ocean. Our lab has multiple projects focused on forage fishes, including several on the early life stages of river herring during their freshwater residency. I will share results from three of these projects. The first, related to the feeding and growth of juvenile river herring in Great Herring Pond, highlights how individual variability in feeding has major consequences for the growth rates of these fish as well as the size at which they head to sea. The second study is an examination of the larvae of river herring from four ponds in SE Massachusetts, with the goal to see how different nursery habitats with different conditions influence growth and survival during the larval stage. Finally, I will mention our work continuously filming juvenile herring as they head to sea from Great Herring Pond. The ultimate goal of this study is to estimate the number of emigrating juveniles produced per spawning adult to quantify the productivity and health of this system.