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Micah Kieffer

Biography

Micah Kieffer’s research activities have always focused on movements and ecology of wild New England sturgeons.  Of significance is his ongoing pursuit of sturgeon investigations that have been a part of the Conte AFRL mission since its opening in 1991.  Published results of these efforts continue to influence sturgeon management in the Connecticut River and Gulf of Maine, placing him in a unique position to guide new investigations and advise management concerns, particularly in light of significant recent changes to passage structures and water regulation on the Connecticut River.  Sturgeon conservation/protection support activities include advising state and federal management agencies, serving on managerial and information sharing teams, and providing routine sturgeon handling training for investigators working in the Northeast.  In addition to research pursuits, he is a leader in CAFRL water safety training, manages CAFRL research vessel fleet, and serves the local community as a public safety diver.  His MS degree was achieved in 1991 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, identifying the status of shortnose sturgeon in the Merrimack River.  His BS degree in marine and environmental science was achieved at East Stroudsburg University in 1982.  Between degrees, he worked as a High Seas Fisheries Compliance Inspector/Foreign Fisheries Observer, deployed in the Gulf of Alaska/Bering Sea and North Atlantic Ocean on commercial fishing vessels from six nations.

Current Projects

  • Participant in Gulf of Maine-wide investigation of coastal movements of shortnose and Atlantic sturgeons.  Recent noteworthy achievements include the identification of annual coastal spawning migrations of shortnose sturgeon living in the Merrimack River and spawning in the Kennebec River and the identification of critical life history elements of the Atlantic sturgeon, recently listed as a federally protected species.
  • Leader in determining scope of sturgeon presence within the Piscataqua/Great Bay System of New Hampshire and Maine, and their interactions with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and proposed dredging/construction activities.
  • Participant in the evaluation of migrant shortnose sturgeon lifted upstream of the Holyoke Dam through newly modified up- and downstream passage modifications.
  • Leader in the development of inter-agency investigations of shortnose sturgeon possibly inhabiting previously unknown Connecticut River reaches.
  • Co-investigator in proposed studies involving sturgeon ageing, population genetics, and eDNA.