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Joseph Zydlewski

Sampling American shad on the Penobscot River.


  • Ph D University of Massachusetts 1997
  • BS Bates College 1990


Joe joined the Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in 2004 as Assistant Unit Leader, coming from the USFWS Columbia River Fisheries Program Office. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology and cooperating faculty in the School of Biology and Ecology and the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine, Orono.

Research Interests

Joe's work centers on the study of fish movements and migrations. Many vital fisheries issues in the northeast United States are dependent upon a rigorous understanding of life history expression. He has effectively addressed both basic and complex management questions in innovative ways, developing a program which includes three main themes: i) Connectivity and River Restoration ii) Physiology and Behavior of Migration , and iii) Species interactions. As a critical part of his position, Joe's work is responsive to the requests of MCFWRU cooperators (e.g. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the University of Maine’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and US Fish and Wildlife Service).

Teaching Interests

As part of his appointment to the graduate faculty at the University of Maine through the MCFWRU, Joe provides graduate instruction in the form of formal courses (e.g. "Movements and Migration" and "Quantitative Freshwater Fisheries Ecology"), directing independent studies of selected topics (fisheries science, migration biology), and interacting with graduate students. Joe serves on numerous committees as degree program advisor, co-advisor, or committee member.

Research Publications

  • Grote, A., Bailey, M., and Zydlewski, J. (2014) Migration and spawning behavior of American shad in the Penobscot River Maine. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 143:552-563.

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  • Zydlewski, J., Cox, O., O’Malley, A., Ruksznis, P., and Trial, J. (2014) Growth and smolting in lower mode Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, stocked into the Penobscot River, Maine North American Journal of Fisheries Management 34:147-158.
  • Grote, A., Bailey, M., Zydlewski, J., Hightower, J. 2014 Multibeam sonar (DIDSON) assessment of American shad (Alosa sapidissima) approaching a hydroelectric dam. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71:545-558. Download  | 
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Current Projects

Completed Projects


  • WLE 650 Graduate Seminar - Movements and Migrations (2013)
  • WLE 650 Graduate Seminar – Fish Physiology (2013)
  • WLE 490 Special Projects in Fisheries (2012)
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Technical Publications

  • Loftin, C.S., J. Zydlewski, and A.Elskus. 2008. Examination of mercury contamination in northern two-lined salamanders and slimy sculpin inhabiting watersheds in coastal Maine, Report to Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, 15 pp
  • Zydlewski, J. and C.S. Loftin. 2008. Using dendrochonology and stable isotopes to document historical deposition of marine derived nutrients in the Penobscot River Basin, Maine, Report to Penobscot Indian Nation, 4 pp.
  • Studies on Lake Whitefish in Maine. (2006) Annual Report to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 6

Phd Students: 7

Post Docs: 2

University Staff: 3

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 26

Scientific Publications: 55

Presentations: 230

Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. U.S. Geological Survey
  4. University of Maine
  5. Wildlife Management Institute