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CCRM Research: Fish Health

Within coastal plain systems, the American shad Alosa sapidissima, an anadromous clupeid, is a prime example of a species affected by loss and degradation of habitat. Within the Mattaponi River, a tributary of the York River where American shad spawn, three geomorphologically distinct aquatic habitat types have been noted: the upstream segment with shallow, narrow channels; the mid-river segment with wide, shallow sandbars; and the downstream segment with wide, deep channels (Bilkovic et al. 2002b). Within each of these distinct habitat types, in-situ mesocosm experiments were conducted to discern differences in survival rates, food webs and growth of larval American shad.

See link for .pdf article on the shad mesocosm project.


fish mesocosms
Field Research Manager, Dave Stanhope, collects shad from fish mesocosms.
Photo: Donna Bilkovic

shad mesocosms








Research Associate Donna Bilkovic leads a shad mesocosm study.
Photo: Dave Stanhope

Bilkovic, D. M., C. H. Hershner, and J. E. Olney. 2002b. Macroscale Assessment of American Shad Spawning and Nursery Habitat in the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers, Virginia. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 22(4): 1176–1192.

Recent presentation related to Fish Ecology:

Olney, J.E., D.M. Bilkovic, C.H. Hershner, L.M. Varnell, H. Wang, and R.L. Mann. Six fish and 600,000 Thirsty Folks; A Fishing Moratorium on American Shad Thwarts a Controversial Municipal Reservoir Project in Virginia, USA; Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, A poster presented at the 4th World Fish Congress in Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 2004.

  • Read more about the response to the King William Reservoir project.