CJ Carroll Schlick graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology in 2008 from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida. During her undergraduate work, CJ participated in freshwater ecology studies in the Florida Everglades under the direction of Dr. Philip Darby. CJ continued to Savannah State University to earn a Master of Science in Marine Sciences in 2010. Her thesis work focused on using acoustic telemetry to track snapper and grouper species spatially and temporally around Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary under Dr. Matthew Gilligan and Sarah Fangman. Fish were tagged during two extended research cruises. Also, CJ conducted numerous dives as a NOAA Scientific diver to characterize hard bottom habitat and maintain acoustic equipment. Upon completion of her Masters, CJ worked as a technician in Dr. Mary Carla Curran’s fish ecology lab at Savannah State University and as an instructor at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. In 2012, CJ moved to Virginia and began working on her Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science and Public Policy. CJ’s dissertation work is examining the life history traits and population dynamics of river herring under the direction of Dr. Kim de Mutsert.
River herring, alewife Alosa pseudoharengus and blueback herring A. aestivalis, are anadromous species that were historically commercially and recreationally important. Due to a combination of overfishing and habitat degradation, river herring populations have declined to such an extent that moratoria have been established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) in any state that could not show documentation of a sustainable fishery. Currently, the entire Chesapeake Bay region is under moratoria. CJ is examining the growth rates, maturity schedules, and spawning frequencies of adult river herring, as well as the growth rates and mortality rates of young-of-year river herring in the Potomac River tributaries. Data from these two studied will be used to develop a site specific, age-based, stochastic difference model of river herring recruitment in the Potomac River tributaries. The model will be used to determine if spawning and juvenile recruitment are successful in Potomac River tributaries. The last objective of CJ’s dissertation work is to compare the Potomac River spawning population to other spawning populations in the Chesapeake Bay by comparing the growth rates, maturity schedules, and spawning frequencies of adults capture in the Potomac River to adults captured in other Chesapeake Bay Rivers. If these adult life history traits differ between rivers in a small geographical area such as the Chesapeake Bay (relative to the species’ ranges), the differences are potentially caused by different anthropogenic variables, such as dams, date of moratorium establishment, area of impervious surface around the waterways, etc. Understanding how spawning populations are impacted by multiple factors could lead to the establishment of priorities for habitat restoration that benefits future river herring populations.
CJ is now a Conservation Biologist at North Carolina’s Division of Marine Fisheries.