A slender little fish called the sand lance plays a big role as “a quintessential forage fish” for puffins, terns and other seabirds, humpback whales, and other marine mammals, and even bigger fish such as Atlantic sturgeon, cod, and bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Maine and northwest Atlantic Ocean. But scientists say right now they know far too little about its biology and populations to inform relevant management, climate adaptation and conservation efforts.
A collaborative team of 24 coauthors, including UConn Marine Sciences Professor Hannes Baumann and Professor Emeritus Peter Auster, who also serves as Senior Research Scientist at Mystic Aquarium, and led by first author and marine ecologist Michelle Staudinger at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, this week is calling for increased focus on sand lance and their ecological role in the region’s dynamic ecosystem, which is facing increased pressure and risks from climate change, fishing, and offshore wind energy development. Details are in the current issue of Fish and Fisheries. MORE