Fish Research Program

Climate change impacts in fish

Increases in water temperature and acidity has been documented worldwide and these are linked to climate change. Also reductions in oxygen content and increases in carbon dioxide are becoming more widely reported. However what effects this has on local prey and commercially relevant fish species in this area are not known. Studies in this area are focused on growth profiles in various species of fish in comparison to historical reference fish when such changes were less, in order to better understand these issues.

Heavy metals and their health effects in commercial fish

Increases in heavy metal levels have been reported in the Bay of Fundy and surrounding waters. Whether this is affecting the various fish species in this area is unknown. To address this, since 2014, samples of commercially relevant fish species have undergone morphometrical assessment and full necropsies including biopsies for full heavy metal profiles. In addition any structural anomalies are also documented. Local species ranging from benthic to demersal have been studied and results have been presented at numerous international meetings and publications in peer reviewed journals.

Plastics and their ingestion

Micro and nano plastics are impacting fish species worldwide. However, very little research has been done on local fish species inhabiting the bay of Fundy/Gulf of Maine area. These very small almost invisible to the naked eye pieces of plastic and can be ingested, affect gills and even enter the bloodstream and lodge in various organs of fish. How severe this issue is in this region and how species specific is currently unknown and forms the basis for this work.