Date of Award

Winter 2013

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

David L. Berlinsky

Second Advisor

W. Hunting Howell

Third Advisor

Winsor H. Watson


Rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) are anadromous fish that spawn in coastal streams and rivers and provide an important prey base to many marine predators. Populations range-wide have experienced severe decline possibly due to habitat degradation and loss of spawning habitat. This study quantified within-season repeat spawning behavior by rainbow smelt at two spawning sites in the Gulf of Maine, and described movements and habitat use during and following the spawning season in the Great Bay and Piscataqua River estuary complex in New Hampshire. Repeat spawning behavior was found to be a predominantly male behavior, consistent with past studies. The rate of repeat spawning by males was found to be consistent among years and between two study sites. Regarding larger scale movements, smelt of both genders visited multiple rivers within an embayment during the spawning season, and further, made use of a tidal estuary system after spawning activity ceased.