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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Embargo Period


Degree Program

Wildlife & Fisheries Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The reproductive biology of anadromous rainbow smelt, Osmerus mordax (Mitchill), in the Parker River-Plum Island Sound estuary was investigated during the fall 1974 and spring 1975. Only one set of maturing eggs was observed within the ovaries of fish examined; all ovarian locations matured at a similar rate. Larger fish produced larger ovaries and eggs but fewer eggs per gram of ovarian weight. Mean maturity indices for females and males during November through March increased 576.7% and 72.1%, respectively. Total fecundity ranged from 7,038 eggs for an age I, 127 mm female to 44,241 eggs for an age II, 204 mm specimen. Fecundity correlated highest with ovarian weight.

In 1975 spawning commenced in the Parker River on 17 March and terminated in Cart Creek on 27 April; corresponding water temperatures were 4.0°C and 8.3°C, respectively. The mean egg densities for spawning sites in Cart Creek and the Mill River were 0.79 and 0.23 eggs/cm2 , respectively. A total egg population in Cart Creek of 1,772,492 ± 278,881 was estimated by a representative but disproportionate sampling technique. Spawning stock abundance was calculated from the egg population estimate.

The influence of environmental factors upon spawning activity was examined with stepwise multiple regression; only one variable, tidal periodicity, was highly significant. Peaks of spawning activity corresponded with the bimonthly spring tides.


First Advisor

Charles F. Cole