Home > NOAA Internships > Understanding River Herring Condition Through Lipid Content and Fatty Acid Composition
Internship Opportunity

Understanding River Herring Condition Through Lipid Content and Fatty Acid Composition

Posted on: 01/09/2024
Research Area(s): Internships / Research

Summary / Description

River Herring are diadromous fish that consist of two species, Blueback Herring and Alewives (Alosa aestivalis and Alosa pseudoharengus) native along the east coast of the United States. Adults of both species migrate from the Atlantic Ocean to spawn in freshwater streams and lakes while the juveniles spend several months in these inland habitats before migrating to the ocean to mature for several years before returning to their natal watersheds to spawn. Despite mitigation efforts such as dam removal and habitat restoration, river herring populations are at historic lows. Between rivers and regions, habitat restoration programs have had uneven success in increasing herring return rates and population stability.  

This study will look at the condition of returning, spawning age individuals from rivers in NJ, NY, and Maine that have had differing degree of success in regard to population rebound. Individual condition will be assessed through the analysis of total lipid content, lipid class composition, and fatty acid profiles. Student(s) will process fish tissue samples using established SOPs and follow laboratory safety procedures. They will also analyze data, plan and create presentation materials, and present a summary of the project to other student interns and laboratory staff. Students will also participate in weekly meetings of the Sandy Hook Internship Program (SHIP) wherein interns and mentors discuss and share topics relevant to students and early career scientists (e.g., applying to / life in graduate school, finding research topics, grants, networking, presentations, careers, etc.). 

Skills Required

The prospective student will have a basic understanding of marine biology and chemistry. Knowledge of chromatography and mass spectrometry will be helpful, but can be learned as a part of the training. The prospective student should also have a strong work ethic, be detail oriented and organized, work well individually and as team member, and be a clear communicator. Most importantly, the student should be flexible and adaptable.

Type of Opportunity



Remote or In-person:



Sandy Hook, NJ

Other Information

Intern Supervisor:

Jim Vasslides and Beth Sharack

Number of Slots Available:



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