MESA: Forage Species
Forage species include many vertebrate and invertebrate species that provide food for marine fish, mammals, and birds. These forage species play a vital role in the ecological health of the oceans by supplying nutritional energy to marine predators. This group of species varies greatly in their life history, biology, and ecology, which make them very difficult to study. In southeastern Alaska, over 100 forage species were identified using hydroacoustics, trawls, longlines, seines, and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
Hydroacoustics, which use sound waves to detect fish, have been used to enumerate forage species throughout the water column. Hydroacoustics produces an echogram (an acoustic picture) in which dense layers of forage species are detected. Pelagic trawls are then conducted to sample fish from within the dense layers, identify species seen in the echogram, and collect biological data. Longlines are used to collect bottom-dwelling species while seines and ROVs are used to survey close to shore.
Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) and walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) are two common forage species sampled in our surveys, while bigmouth manefish (Caristius macropus) and longfin dragonfish (Tactostoma macropus) are sampled infrequently. Other forage species include invertebrates, such as shrimp, squid, and jellyfish.
Deep water acoustic echogram.
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
Featured Research, Publications, Posters, Reports, and Activities
- WOMBLE, J. N., M. F. SIGLER, and M. F. WILLSON.
2009. Linking seasonal distribution patterns with prey availability in a central-place forager, the Steller sea lion. J. Biogeogr. 36:1-11
- Humpback Whale Foraging Structures Winter Schooling Behavior of Pacific Herring
By: K. M. BOSWELL, J. J. VOLLENWEIDER, J. M. MORAN, R. A. HEINTZ, J. K. BLACKBURN, D. J. CSEPP
Conference: Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, AK, Jan 2012
(2012 poster, .pdf, 1.85 MB) Online.
To view and print these documents, you must install
Adobe Acrobat Reader
freeware. Adobe also offers
for the visually disabled
See the publications and poster databases for additional listings.