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Moving from single-species management to ecosystem management

Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) has become popular in recent years, but there is broad debate about what it means and how to implement it. At its simplest level, EBFM involves improving fisheries management by moving beyond management designed for single species, towards considering interactions that are important for entire ecosystems. Part if the reason this is difficult, says a new paper, is that perceptions of what counts as EBFM differ among stock assessment scientists, conservationists, ecologists, and managers. 

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Combining trawl and acoustic surveys to assess the status of the largest U.S. fishery

Many species of fish spend some of the time on the ocean bottom, and some of their time far off the bottom, which makes them hard to survey. Acoustic surveys (that bounce sound off fish schools), can estimate the midwater component of so-called “semipelagic” fish, while trawl surveys can measure the portion on the bottom. Now a new method has been developed that combines data from both types of surveys into a single estimate using information about the environment (bottom light, temperature, sand type, and fish size). 

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A whole new ocean zone is needed for these fish species

Scientists currently classify groups of reef species by the depths at which they occur, with the so-called “mesophotic” species living at depths of 40-150 meters. Now, though, new data suggests that an additional depth zone is needed for reef species living in the coral reef twilight zone, to be called the “rariphotic” zone, covering the depths of 130-310 meters (400-1000 ft). 

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Stunning footage of bizarre mating anglerfish with glowing cat’s-whiskers fin rays

In a world’s first, a mating pair of anglerfish is observed in the wild, evoking awe in SAFS professor Ted Pietsch, who comments in UW Today on the video footage by researchers Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen aboard a submersible run by the Rebikoff-Nigeler Foundation. Only 14 females (and no males) of this species have ever been recorded, all collected in jars and none observed alive in the ocean. 

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Old-growth fishes are going missing through fishing

In 2011, National Marine Fisheries Service announced the end of overfishing in the U.S. This achievement was considered an important milestone for fishery management. Six years later, a study in Current Biology by Dr. Lewis Barnett (previous postdoctoral researcher) and Prof. Trevor Branch from School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences revealed a significant decline of old-growth fishes around globe, including the U.S. 

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Centennial Stories 4

John C. Field (PhD, 2004)
I began my fisheries career in Santa Cruz, California, when I took a night job as a deckhand on a local fishing boat while also taking a course in biological oceanography from the University of California Santa Cruz.  The course included a section on climate variability and the impact on fisheries resources, with a focus on the classic story of the rise and fall of both the California sardine fishery and the Peruvian anchoveta fishery.  

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Centennial Stories 3

Anne B. Hollowed (PhD 1990)
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have maintained close ties with SAFS. In 1990, I graduated from SAFS with a PhD, and found a position with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Seattle.  This gave me the opportunity to witness the impact of SAFS on fisheries science throughout the world over the last 30 years. 

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Centennial Stories 2

William G. Clark (PhD, 1975)
In 1969, I had a degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Michigan, but what I really wanted to do was to go to graduate school and build computer models of marine ecosystems. I interviewed at a number of oceanography departments, and they all turned me down because I didn’t have any undergraduate credits in biology. 

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Centennial Stories 1

Dick Myhre (School of Fisheries, BS 1950)
I graduated from high school in 1939 and enlisted in the Washington National Guard in November of that year.  The National Guard was activated in September 1940 and that meant I was on active duty in the Army.  I received my Honorable Discharge in October 1945 and was able to attend the UW on the GI Bill.  

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Why do some species associate together? Habitat is the key, not randomness

The species found in a particular place (“species assemblages”) differ from those found in other places, and figuring out why this is so has occupied the minds of ecologists since the mid-20th century. Currently two theories dominate: the niche theory, and the neutral theory. The niche theory holds that species assemblages result from species migrating into a particular place, and then either thriving or leaving based on how good of a match they are to the habitat and other living organisms (the “niche”) in that place. 

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