Several diverse projects are underway to gather information on many aspects of Striped Bass ecology, population structure, movement patterns, and stewardship (community involvement). Brief descriptions of projects are provided with some links taking you to more in-depth project pages.
We will meet our goal by developing methods to better monitor Striped Bass populations and determine population health. Tagging Striped Bass (and other at-risk fishes) and collecting fish sizes and tissue samples (scales) are our main methods for collecting information on habitat use, movement patterns, growth, and to calculate parameters useful for population dynamics modeling. The last bit is a mouthful! Basically, both information on fish caught and tag returns from our tagging program provide a LOT of useful information!
We also conduct surveys on different groups that interact with Striped Bass. Surveys (or questionnaires) are a series of questions that help to uncover the practices and perceptions of groups (e.g. recreational anglers, commercial fishers, First Nations) as they interact with Striped Bass in their respective activities.
In 2018 and 2019, we are looking to gather fresh male and female gonads throughout the fishing season. Jackson Yang will be continuing his work on gonad development (see FB posts!) to characterize gonad development seasonally. It's important work to figure out more about gonad development which may lead to bigger questions on spawning and population health.
Stomach Content Identification using GastricDNA
In 2017 we began a new project to develop a method to quantify diet by using gastricDNA. Typically stomach content analysis is done by dissecting stomachs and trying to identify the different fish and invertebrate species by their morphology (what they look like), but this is difficult because stomach acid breaks down food quite quickly. Therefore, the window of time within which we can identify stomach contents is short. This window can be extended if we use gastricDNA to help with the identification process. The idea is fairly simple: homogenize stomach contents (mash everything together), extract DNA from the homogenized contents, and compare snippets of DNA to known snippets that identify other species. More coming on this project as it develops.
Molecular techniques can be extremely useful in determining differences between populations of Striped Bass. This project looks at the control region of Striped Bass mitochondrial DNA in the hopes of distinguishing between fish found all over Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy, and along the Canadian and US coast. Read more
Several tagging projects are ongoing with various species including Striped Bass, Winter Skate, Little Skate, and Atlantic Sturgeon. Tagging studies can provide information about movement patterns and growth, and may be used to find estimates of population size. Read more
Habitat Stewardship Program
This program is centered around creating awareness and education regarding Striped Bass and Striped Bass habitat in Nova Scotia. With the help of the fishing and angling community we hope to impact conservation practices and government regulations that will help conserve and increase populations while still allowing for continued sport fishing. Read more
Heather Reed, a past graduate student at Acadia University states "I have been very fortunate to work within a community of practice in Nova Scotia that addresses community capacity building, scientific and environmental literacy, and local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems through basic and applied research on threatened and endangered species." Read more