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MESA: Marine Ecology

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Marine Ecology & Stock Assessment
Marine Ecology:
Benthic Habitat
Deep-sea Corals
Rockfish Habitat
Stock Assessment
Surveys & Field Studies
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A juvenile rockfish amongst a variety of brittle stars and sea stars
A juvenile rockfish amongst a variety of brittle stars and sea stars
 
Pacific cod and northern rockfish over a mix of living substrate composed of sponge and coral
Pacific cod and northern rockfish over a mix of living substrate composed of sponge and coral
 
Juvenile rockfish (circled) hiding amongst sponges, corals, and anemones
Juvenile rockfish (circled) hiding amongst sponges, corals, and anemones

The marine ecology component of the MESA program conducts important research on processes that occur pm the seafloor and within the water column. Seafloor research focuses on the distribution, species association, ecology, and anthropogenic impacts to benthic organisms such as deep sea corals and sponges. Studies of the water column include assessments of fish and oceanography that are used to explain and predict patterns of fish recruitment and ocean productivity.

A variety of gear types are used in these studies. Drop cameras, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and scuba allow scientists to identify the physical and biological characteristics of the seafloor. These observations provide insight for describing the life histories of fish and living habitat (e.g. corals and sponges). Large research vessels are used to collect high resolution sonar data to generate benthic habitat maps of important conservation areas and fishing grounds in the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands. Other research vessels are used to collect juvenile and adult fish to determine their abundance, size, and distribution. Oceanographic data, including physical characteristics of the water column, phytoplankton and zooplankton abundance, is collected to assess ecosystem processes that affect fish populations. Scientists working under the marine ecology element continue to develop new studies to describe life history characteristics and habitat requirements for many important fish and invertebrate species.


Contact:
Pat Malecha
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
Pat.Malecha@noaa.gov


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