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Fisheries Ecology Lab

The Fisheries Ecology Lab is led by Dr. Lisa Kerr and is focused on fisheries research that is directly relevant to resource management. We address questions about fish stock structure, species-climate relationships, and factors that contribute to the resilience of our fishery resources and ecosystems. We aim to understand biocomplexity within fish stocks (e.g., spatial structure, population connectivity, life history diversity) and its impact on their response to climate change, fishing, and alternative management strategies. We apply field sampling, as well as laboratory analysis and mathematical modeling to address these questions. Our research spans a gamut of species, including alewife, Atlantic cod, striped bass, and Atlantic bluefin tuna. Our research is made relevant through advisory work, including service on the New England Fisheries Management Council’s Science and Statistical Committee and other state, federal, and international agencies, on fisheries stock assessment, climate impacts and ecosystem based fisheries management.

Lab Staff

Research Scientist, Marine Fisheries Ecology
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Quantitative Research Technician
Research Associate, Vessel Safety Officer

Recent Projects

Robust Management Strategies for Northeast Groundfish Fisheries in a Changing Climate
Fisheries Ecology
The Northeast U.S. Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (NESLME) has experienced recent decadal warming that is faster than 99.9% of the global ocean and the impacts...
Crafting Guidance for Adapting to Shifting Fish Populations
Climate Adaptation
Climate change is altering the distribution of marine species, causing many to shift away from traditional fishing grounds. When a stock shifts, managers must...
Otolith Chemistry as a Natural Marker of Origin of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Populations
Fisheries Ecology
Overview Atlantic bluefin tuna ( Thunnus thynnus ) is a highly migratory species with a distribution that spans the north Atlantic basin. Although bluefin tuna...
Management Strategy Evaluation of Mixed Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Stocks
Fisheries Ecology
Overview Bluefin tuna are assessed and managed as two distinct stocks by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas with the...
Snap-a-Striper Program
Ecosystem Monitoring
What: Snap-a-Striper is a data collection program aimed at 1) compiling photos of live release and legal keeper striped bass caught in Maine waters and 2)...
Casco Bay Aquatic System Survey
Ecosystem Monitoring
The Gulf of Maine has experienced fundamental changes over the last 40 years. The coastal region has seen dramatic declines in groundfish, an explosion of...
Ecological Diversity of Cod in the Gulf of Maine and its Role in Resiliency of a Fishery
Fisheries Ecology
Cod is an iconic species in New England and historically was one of the most economically and socially important fish in the North Atlantic for commercial and...
Identification and Modelling of Alewife Stock Structure
Fisheries Ecology
Alewives are an integral part of and link between freshwater and marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Maine. Little is known about the life history and...

Recent Press

Scientists struggle to measure change in the natural world
Aug 5, 2018
Portland Press Herald: Lisa Kerr, a fisheries ecologist at Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) in Portland, acknowledges how hard it can be for marine...
Climate study underscores challenge of managing Gulf of Maine fisheries
Sep 7, 2017
Incorporating climate change and its effects on marine life will be an important part of sustaining key fisheries in the Gulf of Maine that already...
Gulf of Maine Research Institute Gets $1 Million To Study Climate Change's Effect On Fisheries
Sep 6, 2017
Dr. Lisa Kerr, who leads the project at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, says the idea is to create a predictive tool for managers...
Is It Time To Catch The Wave Of Rebounding Atlantic Bluefin Tuna?
Nov 9, 2017
After charting a strong bluefin presence in 2016, preliminary data for this year suggest even more. "The increase has been incredible, just incredible," says Walter...
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Stocks Are Rebounding — But Should The Quota Be Raised?
Nov 6, 2017
After charting a strong bluefin presence in 2016, preliminary data for this year suggest even better. “The increase has been incredible. Just incredible,” says Walter...