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About Barbara Brennessel

Barbara Brennessel, Ph.D is a Professor Emerita at Wheaton College where she retired from teaching in 2013.  Although she trained as a biochemist, her experiences as a homeowner on Cape Cod, as well as her membership on the Board of several Wellfleet and Cape-wide environmental organizations, led her to pursue research and conservation work outside of the laboratory.  She is the author of  Diamonds in the Marsh: A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin, Good Tidings: The History and Ecology of Shellfish Aquaculture in the Northeast, The Alewives’ Tale: The Life History and Ecology of River Herring in the Northeast, and a children’s book, The Adventures of Allie the Alewife.  She is coauthor of Tidal Water, a book about the history of Wellfeet’s Herring River. 

Barbara Brennessel will describe the biology, natural history and ecology of river herring.  The presentation will also emphasize the historical importance of these fish, as well as threats to their survival, as they journey from the ocean to freshwater spawning areas, and back again. The presentation will also outline some efforts to restore river herring populations: dam removal projects, culvert replacements, by-catch reduction regulations, and habitat restorations. 


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