UMCES scientists win Best Paper of the Year award from American Fisheries Society

October 13, 2015

UMCES' Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) alumnus Adam Peer and CBL Director Dr. Tom Miller were recipients of the Best Paper of the Year 2014 awarded by the American Fisheries Society for its journal North American Journal of Fisheries Management.

The paper, "Climate change, migration phenology and fisheries management interact with unexpected consequences," (North American Journal of Fisheries Management vol 34, pages 94-110) uses data from a longer term study of spawning behavior of striped bass in the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay collected by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources from 1985-2010. 

In the paper, Peer and Miller test the idea that the timing of springtime spawning migration by striped bass varies because of environmental factors such as temperature and ocean conditions. They hypothesized that in warmer years, striped bass will move onto spawning grounds earlier.  Because the opening day of the fishing season occurs is fixed, more females have a chance of escaping the fishery in warmer years than in cooler years.  

Using a sophisticated statistical analysis Peer and Miller found that spring temperature did indeed strongly influence the timing of migration. They found that more egg-bearing females were vulnerable to the fishery in cooler years as hypothesized.  Their work suggests the need to establish flexible management rules that can reduce potential climate induced variability in catches of striped bass.   

Adam Peer successfully defended his Ph.D. in 2012 in Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences, a program in which UMCES and the University of Maryland College Park jointly award degrees. Peer's work, of which the award-winning paper was a part, explored the reproductive ecology of striped bass in the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers, as well as the Chesapeake Bay. Hiswork was supported, in part, by the Steven Berkeley Marine Conservation Fellowship and the Maryland Sea Grant Program. Peer is currently employed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, DC.