Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Environmental and Urban Studies

Project Advisor 1

Elias Dueker

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The American eel, Anguilla rostrata, is a catadromous teleost fish that reaches adulthood in the freshwater streams and rivers of North America and then migrates to the Sargasso Sea to spawn en masse. After hatching, the larval eels migrate along the Gulf Stream as they mature into their secondary juvenile stage, the glass eel. It is at this stage that they enter the Hudson River Estuary. While the American eel has been the subject of numerous scientific studies dating back multiple decades, relatively little is known about their mass-spawning event in the Sargasso or their subsequent hatching and larval migration. These aspects of their life history could be investigated through analysis of their otolith microstructure. Over the course of this project I successfully established a protocol for the removal and processing of the sagittal pair of otoliths from glass-phase eel specimens using low-budget and low-tech tools and techniques, which can be replicated by any party with access to compound and dissecting microscopes. Use of these methods created a database of images that can be used to examine and interpret the life histories of the American eels migrating up the Hudson and into the Saw Kill through analysis of the otolith microstructure to determine their age and growth rates.

Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

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