Winter Speaker Series

2022-2023 Zoom Speaker Series

Shimmering Shad & Splashing Sturgeon

John Lichter, Prof. Emeritus Biology & Environmental Studies, Bowdoin College,
and Renske Kerkhofs, International Student

Wednesday, November 9, 2022
, 7:00pm

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) second presentation of their 26th annual Winter Speaker Series, Shimmering Shad & Splashing Sturgeon! features Renske Kirkhofs, International Bowdoin College Student and John Lichter, Bowdoin College Biology & Environmental Studies Professor Emeritus.   FOMB’s Winter Speaker Series presentations are again being held via Zoom and are accessible via hyperlink at the top of the FOMB web page: This event takes place Wednesday, November 9th, at 7 pm. 

Over the past 50 years, Maine rivers have recovered substantially from overfishing and industrialization.  The Androscoggin River and Merrymeeting Bay are fast recovering the aquatic vegetation which supports the animal food web, including juvenile anadromous fish and other species.  However, fish passage over dams remains a challenge.  At the Brunswick-Topsham hydroelectric dam, relatively few shad make it up through the fish ladder to reach their spawning grounds.  “With the help of FOMB, we have monitored shad runs moving toward the fish ladder over the past several years to quantify how many shad are trying to migrate upstream to their spawning grounds but cannot navigate the ladder.” said Lichter.  “We hope these data will inform the FERC relicensing process coming up in 2029.”

Renske Kerkhofs is an international student from Belgium at Bowdoin College. Currently a junior studying Biology and Asian Studies, she is participating in Bowdoin’s Marine Science Semester, and in the spring, planning to go abroad to China! Renske is interested in marine ecology and animal rehabilitation, and after her spring stint with shad, on weekends she interns at the Maine Wildlife Park.



John Lichter is Professor Emeritus of Biology and Environmental Studies at Bowdoin College.  He’s a former director of Bowdoin’s Environmental Studies Program and spent 18 years studying the ecology and environmental history of Merrymeeting Bay with students and collaborators.  Now retired, John focusses on native plant gardening and outdoor photography. His work can be seen at:    

FOMB hosts their Winter Speaker Series October-May, the second Wednesday of each month. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the series continues via Zoom. The FOMB December 14th presentation: Episode 1: Arrivals features Natural History and Underwater Cinematographer Maurico Handler. This event takes place at 7:00 pm with the Zoom access link available at a week or so prior to the presentation.  

Speaker Series presentations are free, open to the public. Visit to see speaker biographiesfull event schedules, video recordings of past presentation, become a member, and learn more about how you can help protect beautiful Merrymeeting Bay and the Gulf of Maine.

For more information contact FOMB at 207-666-3372 or

Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler