Throughout NY State and beyond, citizen scientists are rising up to protect a vulnerable species in decline, the American eel. A migratory fish with a large range and fascinating life cycle, the American eel is born in the Sargasso Sea and enters North American estuaries as transparent glass eels, eventually returning to the Atlantic years later to spawn.
A team of of scientists, students, and educators led by WCS is collecting data at sites near the NY Aquarium and the Bronx Zoo. Using eel mops and other techniques, data are collected and shared with partners to inform statewide conservation decisions. As they count, weigh and release glass eels and gather other environmental data, these volunteers are learning about the health of the wildlife and ecosystems found in our backyards.Meet the experts –Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS VP and Director, NY Aquarium
As Director of the NY Aquarium, Jon oversees the care and exhibition of over 12,000 animals representing 395 species, as well as the construction of a new $150M Ocean Wonders exhibit and the post-Hurricane Sandy rebuilding of the aquarium. In partnership with the WCS Marine Program, Jon also guides the NY Seascape field conservation program, which researches great whale migrations, sand tiger shark habitats, anadromous fish populations, fisheries policy, and of course, American eels, among other species. Both a biologist and architect by training, Jon joined WCS in 1997 and worked as an Exhibit Designer and Project Manager prior to leading the aquarium. He also serves on several Brooklyn boards and councils, including as Chair of the Alliance for Coney Island.Melissa Carp, Conservation Educator, WCS NY Aquarium
Melissa has been an instructor at the NY Aquarium for over 15 years, where she inspires children to care about and make an impact on the world around them. She teaches school groups through a variety of programs, including citizen science projects and summer camp. Before coming to the Aquarium, Melissa worked with homeless families at a NYC shelter, connecting children to the city’s nature and biodiversity.
We hope you can tune-in. You can ask us about the American Eel Project via the Q&A app or using the hashtag #WCSEelsHoA
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