I received a 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) grant to work alongside commercial fishermen on the New Hampshire coastline. Declining populations of traditional groundfish species, such as Atlantic cod, have forced New Hampshire commercial fishermen to target different species. One of their new targets, the spiny dogfish, is a species of shark that migrates along the eastern seaboard over the course of the year. The mechanism behind this migration is still unknown, but typically dogfish are seen in New Hampshire waters from June to August. With the increase in ocean water temperatures in recent years, some fishermen have begun noting unusual catch patterns concerning spiny dogfish. My project sought to relate benthic water temperature to the presence of dogfish at popular commercial fishing locations offthe coast of New Hampshire. I predicted that dogfish would be more abundant at higher benthic water temperatures. Our findings refute this hypothesis, as water temperatures continued to rise through the end of August despite declining catches of spiny dogfish. These findings indicate that other variables, such as dogfish prey abundance, play a critical role in the movement patterns of spiny dogfish in New Hampshire waters.

Publication Date

Spring 4-1-2017


UNH Undergraduate Research Journal

Journal Title

Inquiry Journal


Erik Chapman


Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire

Document Type