Kenneth W. Able
Emeritus, Faculty
Professor Emeritus
800 c/o 132 Great Bay Blvd, Tuckerton, NJ 08087

Full CV | Down The Shore: Station 119

Research Interests

My interests are diverse and include the life history and ecology of fishes with emphasis on habitat quality as it relates to recruitment. These studies have occurred in salt waters from less than 10 mm in salt marshes to > 300 meters at the edge of the continental shelf on a diverse array of species. Recently, these studies have been focused on an enhanced understanding of estuarine ecosystems with an emphasis on larval supply as it relates to recruitment and the habitat ecology of piscivorous fishes. The essence of these activities is based on several continuous fish monitoring efforts in the Mullica River – Great Bay estuary over the last 20-25 years. These have allowed us to answer questions about the impacts of fisheries, urbanizing estuaries, and climate change on fishes.

Short History

I received my Ph.D. from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science/College of William and Mary in 1974, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University. I began my appointment at Rutgers University in 1977, and have been the Director of the Rutgers University Marine Field Station since 1986. In that time, I have been the advisor for 37 graduate students (14 Ph.D. and 23 M.S.) and 23 postdoctoral fellows. During this period I was awarded the Oscar Sette Award from the Marine Fisheries Section of the American Fisheries Society, the 2014 Research Excellence Award from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University and, most recently, was the 2014 recipient of the Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award from NOAA Fisheries, Office of Habitat Conservation.

Teaching Efforts

Ichthyology (Course #11.628.321) and Byrne Seminar: Winter in the Estuary (Course #11.090.101). I am also involved in education outside of the classroom. RUMFS typically supports 3-5 RIOS summer interns per year (including one as the result of a collaborative agreement with Stockton University). I, along with others at RUMFS, am also engaged in training undergraduates and post-B.S. individuals year-round.


Outreach activities typically take place in meetings and gatherings elsewhere along the East Coast (New York Harbor, Gulf of Mexico/coast of Louisiana) and in New Jersey (Jacques Cousteau NERR, Tuckerton Seaport). Others result from informal collaborations with the NJDEP Bureau of Fisheries. Out most successful effort is an Open House at RUMFS every September which draws 300-800 individuals. Interactions with the fishing community (recreational and commercial) result from face-to-face, one-on-one conversations that take place on docks, in bait shops, etc., during research and fishing tournaments.

Select Publications

Able, K.W. and M.P. Fahay. 1998. The First Year in the Life of Estuarine Fishes in the Middle Atlantic Bight. Rutgers University Press. 342 p.

Able, K. W. and M. P. Fahay. 2010. Ecology of Estuarine Fishes: Temperate Waters of the Western North Atlantic. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 566 p.

Able, K. W. 2015. Station 119: From Lifesaving to Marine Research. Down the Shore Publishing, West Creek, NJ. 128 p.