Thompson joins DMR lobster science team

Katherine Thompson joined the Maine Department of Resources as the lead lobster sampling program scientist. PHOTO COURTESY DMR

Katherine Thompson joined the Maine Department of Resources as the lead lobster sampling program scientist. PHOTO COURTESY DMR

AUGUSTA — Katherine Thompson has joined the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) as the lead lobster sampling program scientist. Thompson, a doctoral student in marine biology at the University of Maine, will be responsible for the coordination of, implementation of and participation in the lobster sea sampling program in all seven lobster management zones, as well as the juvenile lobster ventless trap survey.

Thompson’s responsibilities will include supervision of DMR scientific staff and contractors who participate in the sea sampling and ventless trap survey programs.

The DMR sea sampling program places trained observers onto commercial lobster boats to gather data on the near-shore lobster fishery. The ventless trap survey uses specially modified traps distributed along the coast to help the DMR characterize the juvenile lobster population in Maine waters.

Thompson also will manage the lobster research program database, oversee data entry compilation and annual summary statistics/reports for publication, and assist in writing grant reports. In addition, she will present survey results at lobster zone council meetings.

Thompson brings to the position experience both in commercial fishing and fisheries research. Raised in a fishing family in New Harbor, Thompson served as a sternman for a Round Pond lobster fisherman during summers while she pursued a degree in biology from Smith College. The vessel she worked on participated in the DMR’s ventless trap survey, giving her a first look at cooperative research.

After graduating, Thompson completed an internship in lobster research through Bigelow Laboratory, focusing on the settlement index survey conducted by Richard Wahle.

In 2013, Thompson received her master’s degree in living marine resource science and management from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology. Her thesis project provided the first conclusive evidence of semiannual scallop spawning in U.S. waters on Georges Bank, which has important implications for management of the fishery.

From 2013 to 2014, Thompson served as a supervisory research biologist for Coonamessett Farm Foundation, a scientific research and education foundation based in Falmouth, Mass.

In January 2015, she began her doctoral studies at the University of Maine, focusing on northern shrimp reproduction and distribution.

“I’m excited about working closely with industry, especially here in my home state,” said Thompson.

“Katherine’s experience in scientific research of multiple fisheries provides a strong foundation for her work here at the DMR,” said the depatment’s Lead Lobster Biologist Kathleen Reardon. “She has the strong academic and practical experience in marine science and commercial fishing to help move our monitoring programs forward.”







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