Kiera Malone (SEBS '20) worked in Dr. Olaf Jensen's lab studying the movement of American shad and river herring through the fish ladder at the Island Farm Weir in Bound Brook, New Jersey. As anadromous fish, American shad and river herring annually migrate from the sea upriver to spawn; dams and weirs serve as major physical obstacles that inhibit this natural process. Fish ladders are a type of fish passage device, which in theory are supposed to allow fish to pass dams to complete their migration. Last spring, American shad and river herring were sampled in the Raritan River using both a 300-foot seine net and hook and line methods;
target fish were then tagged with PIT tags and released. When fish move through the ladder, the PIT tags are detected by four antennae throughout the structure, functionally acting like "ez pass" for fish. The long-term study is designed to determine the effectiveness of the Island Farm Weir fish ladder as a fish passage device for migratory fish. In addition, she has reviewed and analyzed hundreds of hours of video depicting all fish species passing though the fish ladder, identifying over 1,500 individual fish. She will continue to analyze video data to identify patterns such as: which species are most active during the day vs. night, effects of temperature on species using the fish ladder, and effects of river discharge on species using the fish ladder. As exciting as watching hours of fish video is, Kiera is excited for the upcoming spring field season!