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Graham Sherwood, Ph.D.


Graham's research focuses on the intersections between food web ecology, fish bioenergetics and fisheries ecology. He is particularly interested in how variations in prey availability and prey type/size can lead to variations in fish energetics, production and/or recovery capacity (e.g., growth, condition and fecundity) in a wide range of commercially exploited fishes (e.g., Atlantic cod, haddock, monkfish and Atlantic herring). He is also interested in refining our understanding of stock structure, not only from the point of view of describing movement and exchange among and within areas, but also with respect to what drives different movement behaviors in fish (e.g., predator-prey interactions and habitat associations) and how movement behavior may relate to variable life-history strategies (e.g., partial migration).

Graham employs various techniques to address complex problems in fish energetics and ecology. Stable isotope analysis (primarily 15N and 13C) factors prominently in most of his research to elucidate pathways of energy flow and foodweb structure both within and among (e.g., freshwater marine linkages) aquatic ecosystems. Acoustic tracking is another valuable tool that he applies to understanding patterns of residency (e.g., use of closed areas), habitat associations, and predator-prey interactions in a variety of fishery species including lobsters.

In addition to focal research, Graham is collaborating with a number of scientists at GMRI, as well as other institutions, to examine bottom-up and top-down forcing in fishery ecosystems (both contemporary and historical), the interplay between ecology, environment and economics when considering fisheries from an ecosystem perspective, inconsistencies in age determination and growth (e.g., stunting), and the efficacy of various management measures (e.g., closed areas) for rebuilding collapsed groundfish stocks. The Demersal Ecology laboratory at GMRI is currently set up to conduct diet, age, tagging (acoustic, data storage and conventional), and stable isotope (preparatory work only) analyses for a wide range of fish species.

Primary Research Interests

  • Potential food limitation in North Atlantic fish and its impact on stock productivity and recovery.
  • Fish tagging (conventional and electronic) to assess localized stock structure, migration, habitat associations and foraging behavior.
  • Predator prey interactions with particular emphasis on cod herring lobster relationships.
  • The existence of alternate life-history strategies in cod (e.g., resident versus migrant and red versus normal) and their impact on management decisions.


  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, Canada.
  • Ph.D. Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
  • B.Sc. Biology and Environmental Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Service to Science and Community

  • New England Fisheries Management Councils Monkfish Plan Development Team
  • Science Steering Committee - Downeast Initiative (DEI)
  • Workshop organizer Exploring Fine-Scale Ecology for Groundfish in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Maine, School of Marine Sciences
  • Adjunct Scientist, University of Southern Maine