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Centennial Story 45: Eveline (Evi) Emmenegger (MS, 1994) and Blake Feist (MS, 1991; PhD, 1999)

Blake and Evi pose during a hike in Colorado in 1994, back when Blake had hair

Evi, the first child of Swiss emigrants, was born and raised in Alaska, where fish and fishing were a way of life. She spent her summers commercial fishing for salmon with her family on the Susitna Flats (between the Susitna and Little Susitna Rivers), just west of Anchorage, using set gillnets, living in a cabin precariously perched atop stilts above the intertidal flats, which served as her family’s “field station.” Evi also worked in a salmon roe cannery, where she was particularly adept at layering the top “show row” of eggs. 

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Centennial Story 44: Dawn Dougherty (MS, 2009; QERM) and Brandon Chasco (MS, 2004)

10 years and one kid later, Brandon, Dawn and Clara at the coast, 2018

Dawn and Brandon met at a Hilborn lab meeting when Brandon was reporting on a recent trip to the Serengeti. With a shared excitement for travel and unplanned adventure, they have spent the last ten years working and traveling together. After Dawn earned her MS degree with QERM, they moved from Seattle to Santa Barbara, where they worked with Chris Costello and Steve Gaines at the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UCSB. 

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Centennial Story 43: Sarah Carter (MS, 1998) and Andrew Fayram (MS, 1996)

The family celebrating Sarah's dissertation completion at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in November 2014

Sarah and Andrew first met in Loveday Conquest’s QSCI 482 class. Statistics isn’t necessarily known for romance, so it’s not surprising that it wasn’t until the Fisheries Interdiscipinary Network of Students (FINS) transition meeting a couple of months later (Andrew was headed out, Sarah had just signed up) that they realized they liked each other. From that point on, Andy looked forward to class even more than usual (it was an excellent class) and thinks that his continued interest in statistics is a result. 

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Newly discovered fish species: the Polkadot Dwarfgoby

Oceanic discoveries of new species continue at pace, with a new species added to the 34,000 previously described: the Polkadot Dwarfgoby (Eviota maculosa). The new species occurs in New Guinea, Indonesia, and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, and is distinguished by unique fin patterns, distinctive genetics, and multiple rows of trident-like teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. 

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Does more fish mean more money?

Bristol Bay in Alaska hosts one of the world’s largest salmon fisheries every year, targeting bountiful runs of sockeye salmon. The fishery is managed using escapement goals that ensure sufficient salmon escape the fishery every year to spawn upriver. Recently, increased escapement goals were proposed for Bristol Bay that were intended to allow more salmon to spawn upriver, because of calculations suggesting this would lead to larger average catches. 

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Small schooling fish require carefully tailored management to balance catches and collapse risks

Forage fish are small, densely schooling fish at the heart of many marine ecosystems. These fish, including sardines, anchovies, menhaden and their kin, consume tremendous quantities of plankton and also provide abundant food for top marine predators such as larger fish and whales. A key characteristic of these species is their dramatic fluctuation in numbers between high “bonanza” periods and low “collapse” periods, which make them hard to manage. 

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Rebuilding endangered species using a stepping-stone model for reintroduction

Captive breeding programs are intended to rebuild highly endangered populations, but a major problem is how to reintroduce captive-bred individuals back to their native habitat. Often, there is low survival of reintroduced individuals compared to wild-born individuals. Such is the case for the critically endangered Vancouver Island marmot, which had shrunk to just 30 individuals in 2003. A new experiment compares survival to breeding age for three strategies: transferring wild-born individuals, translocating captive-born individuals to wild habitat, and a new stepping stone strategy that involved first transplanting captive born individuals to a safe wild area with high survival before transferring them in their second year to the lower-survival final destination. 

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Polar bears gorged on whale carcasses to survive past warm periods, but strategy won’t suffice as climate warms

Polar bears scavenge on the carcass of a dead bowhead whale that washed ashore on Wrangel Island in Chukotka, Russia.Chris Collins/Heritage Expeditions

A new study led by the University of Washington found that although dead whales are still valuable sources of fat and protein for some polar bears, this resource will likely not be enough to sustain most bear populations in the future when the Arctic becomes ice-free in summers, which is likely to occur by 2040 due to climate change. The results were published online Oct. 9 in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

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