Formal stock assessments are conducted for many large and valuable fisheries, but these typically require reliable catch data, estimates of trends in fish numbers, and age data from caught fish. In data-poor fisheries, these kinds of data are not available, resulting in difficulties in assessing whether they are overfished or sustainably fished. Now a new model called LIME has been developed that accounts for variability in recruitment (the number of baby fish produced each year), and can assess status from samples of the lengths of fish in each year, together with whatever additional information is available.Read more
Many populations of native steelhead trout in the Pacific Northwest US are threatened by disease, habitat loss, poor ocean survival, and genetic mixing with hatchery steelhead trout. Steelhead are a form of rainbow trout that migrate out to the ocean when young, and return to spawn, just like many salmon species. Hatchery-produced steelhead have lower survival in the wild because they become less afraid of predators; one of the resulting concerns is that interbreeding between hatchery and wild steelhead will erode the natural fitness of wild steelhead and hinder their recovery.Read more
Salmon returning to streams and lakes in Southeast Alaska are affected greatly by water temperatures both in winter and summer, and these temperatures are projected to increase given climate warming. Changes in water temperature affects the time it takes for salmon eggs to hatch and emerge, and the timing of salmon returning to each stream, as they seek to avoid dangerous peak stream temperatures.Read more
Interviews with 25 Inuit polar bear hunters in East Greenland provide a wealth of knowledge about changes in sea ice, warming, and polar bear distribution and trends. Evidence of climate change reported by the hunters included receding glaciers, higher temperatures, and the loss of sea ice. These changes made it harder for them to access sea ice, because dog sledges are no longer safe given wide patches of open water during months when sea ice used to be safe to travel over.Read more
Ocean acidification is the a suite of chemical reactions in the ocean caused by climate change that include higher levels of carbon dioxide and lower pH levels, caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. A new model now projects the impacts of ocean acidification from California to Washington, finding that species declined most in the southern regions, but economic impacts were highest in the northern regions.Read more
Some types of aquaculture-raised (farmed) fish and crustaceans rely on wild-caught fish as feed for omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients. But with the rapid and continuing rise of aquaculture, and the natural limits to the supply of forage fish (anchovies, herring, and their relatives), eventually this supply of feed will be exhausted. A new study now highlights ways in which the supply of fish food can be eked out further by: (1) reducing the proportion of feed that is based on wild-caught fish and switching to crop-based diets such as soy; (2) increasing catches of forage fish to maximum sustainable levels, adding 30% more catch compared to 2012 levels; (3) eliminating the addition of wild-caught feed to non-carnivorous farmed species; (4) eliminating forage fish from pig and poultry diets; (5) using trimmings from the processing of other wild-caught species as food for farmed fish; and (6) increasing the efficiency of farmed fish production.Read more
Polar bears rely heavily on sea ice to search for prey, and in Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland, such ice-associated searching halts during ice-free months. However, since 1979, higher temperatures have resulted in the ice-free season in this region increasing by 12 days per decade in this region. Now, satellite-tags placed on 81 polar bears in Baffin Bay reveal that polar bears greatly reduced the area in which they forage between 1991-95 and 2009-15, by as much as 70% in summer.Read more
Alexandre N. Zerbini (PhD, 2006)
It all started on a warm morning in the summer on the beach in my home country of Brazil when I was about 10 years old. I went for a walk with my father and three brothers when we came across a dead dolphin. It was a franciscana (scientifically known as Pontoporia blainvillei), one of the smallest cetaceans, and a species endemic to the western South Atlantic Ocean.
Josh London (PhD, 2006)
The University of Washington seemed like an odd choice for a kid from Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, after a visit to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, I knew where I wanted to be. And, even though I was initially not accepted, the UW became home for nearly 15 years. And, Seattle has been home for 25 years.
As a freshman, I signed up for the wildlife science program in the College of Forest Resources.
Donna Hauser (BS, 2003; MS, 2006; PhD, 2016)
I grew up in Alaska, with wilderness always at my fingertips and primed to study marine biology from my first undergraduate days at UW. Yet the transition to Seattle’s urban environment was challenging until I found a home at SAFS, where professors knew your name, your classmates were your allies, and learning was by experience.