American Eels

Wildlife Conservation Society's Webinar Series

Join our teacher webinar on Wednesday April 13th at 7pm EST

Join Our Webinar

Join our student webcast on Wednesday April 20th at 1pm EST

Join Our Webcast

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

This month we will be running both a teacher webinar and a student webcast. We encourage teachers to participate in both experiences but this is by no means a requirement. Each opportunity has unique benefits and each is a great way to learn some cool science. We look forward to having participation by both teachers and their classroom students.


Teacher Webcasts Student Webinars
Share WCS science with teachers Connect students to science in their lives
Demonstrate for teachers how to introduce core science concepts to their students through the lens of WCS research and experts Introduce students to core science concepts through the lens of WCS research and experts
Allow teachers to earn PD credit while learning from a science expert Provide students with positive STEM role models

Teacher Webinar:

Join the Wildlife Conservation Society, headquartered at the Bronx Zoo, for our upcoming teacher webinar. During this professional education opportunity you will hear from our science expert, Jake LaBelle, about his work with American eels. Following this live conversation, we will hear from zoo educator, Paloma Krakower, about how to bring this exciting work into the classroom. Educators, or students, who participate live are eligible to receive credit for PD hours. This is a great way to learn about science happening on site in New York, while continuing your own education.

Presenter Bios:

Paloma Krakower

Coordinator of Professional Development

Act Now

Jake Labelle

New York Seascape Research Coordinator

Act Now

American Eels are a source of great mystery for those who study them. These eels live most of their lives in inland rivers of the northeast United States. However, their lives truly become shrouded in mystery when they head out to sea to spawn. Scientists believe that the eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea, however, a spawn has never been witnessed. Larval American eels travel from the Sargasso Sea into the rivers of the northeast, some stay in the brackish waters close to coast, while others travel thousands of miles inland through freshwater rivers. It is unknown why some eels stay in brackish water and some migrate to fresh. What is known that is has become harder for these young eels to move upstream.

Humans have changed the rivers and streams of our continent with dams, roads, bridges, and other man-made structures that there are many places where eels simply can't get past. Scientists, like Jake Labelle, are working to document where these bottlenecks are, and figure out ways to help eels around them. Eel ladders, or modifications to fish ladders, are one of the most common solutions. These ladders let eels wriggle up and over obstacles to keep heading upstream.

Eels are threatened by many human actions, not just the building of dams. Overfishing has become a huge issue as well, with eels being sought after for use in food like sushi. Young eels can garner up to $2,100 a pound, so it is easy to see why they are being fished so rapidly. Working to understand American eels is our best hope for saving these interesting and industrious animals.

Getting Started:

Our webinars broadcast through Blackboard Collaborate, a web-based software. A plug-in needs to be installed on your computer at least one day before the webinar goes live.

If you have any trouble, review Downloading Blackboard Collaborate.

We also recommend reviewing Blackboard Collaborate Tips and Tools to become familiar with what is available for communicating during the broadcast.


Eels Webcast from 2015
Learn about the citizen science project run by the New York Aquarium.

Let's Not Shatter the Glass Eel
Article about threats to American eels, specifically overfishing

Additional Resources

Student webcast:

On April 20th, during National Environmental Education Week, we will be broadcasting a live interactive student webcast through Google Hangouts. The webcast will take place at 1PM EST and last around 30 minutes. During this webcast, students will have the opportunity to interact with Jake Labelle and see what it's like to search for eels! Classrooms can register as participants and submit questions beforehand, or anyone can register to join the live broadcast. These webcasts are a great way to introduce your students to STEM role models and give them the chance to ask questions they may have about pursuing science as a career.


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