Shellfish Assessment Program
Shellfish Assesssment Biologists conduct a wide range of research on various fish, crab, and shellfish
species native to Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea waters. Program research efforts are coordinated between two
facilities, the AFSC's Kodiak Laboratory at the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center in Kodiak, AK and the NOAA Western
Regional Center in Seattle, WA.
AFSC Kodiak Laboratory
Kodiak Fisheries Research Center
301 Research Court
Kodiak, AK 99615
Phone: (907) 481-1700
Fax: (907) 481-1701
AFSC Fisheries Resources Pathobiology
NOAA Western Regional Center
7600 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115-6349
Phone: (206) 526-6572
Fax: (206) 526-6723
Kodiak Shellfish Research
A significant focus of Shellfish Assessment scientists at the Kodiak Laboratory is the annual
crab/groundfish surveys, which assess the distribution and abundance of various
commercially important crab and groundfish resources in the eastern Bering Sea. A key product of
the surveys is the annual
Bering Sea Crab Survey
Report, which is used to both aid the fishing industry in locating productive fishing grounds and help
Crab Fisheries Management regulate
takes to improve viability of future stocks.
In addition, a variety of other major research activities take place both in the field and laboratory. The seawater laboratory allows studies on various species of crab, currently golden king crab, and fish to further our knowledge of their life history and reproduction.
A collaborative crab enhancement project is underway to study if red and blue king crab larvae can be raised under hatchery conditions.
Fisheries Resources Pathobiology
Pathobiologists at the AFSC's headquarters in Seattle, Washington investigate the biology and life history of
disease pathogens and parasites that can afflict important fish and crab species.
Research on the life history of the blood parasite, Hematodinium, which
afflicts Tanner and snow crabs, is one example. The effects of
Hematodinium on crabs is commonly known as Bitter Crab Syndrome, due to
the very bitter taste that infected crabs have if their meat is cooked and
eaten. Although harmless to humans, evidence suggests that Hematodinium
is 100% fatal for crabs infected with this parasite. The picture at right is a
crab gill tissue section stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin showing heavy
infection of Hematodinium (the black granular spots).
The Fisheries Resources Pathobiology Team is also actively investigating the potential impacts of parasitism and
disease on Steller sea lion populations, and on the recruitment of walleye pollock stocks.
2012 EBS crab report (DRAFT) is now available. Go there >>
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Recent Publications, Poster Presentations, Reports & Activities
- SMITH, K. R., and C. E. ARMISTEAD.
2014. Benthic invertebrates of the eastern Bering Sea: a synopsis of the life history and ecology of the sea star Asterias amurensis. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-273, 60 p. (.pdf, 4.5 MB). Online.
- DALY, B., and W. C. LONG.
2014. Intra-guild predation among early benthic phase red and blue king crabs: Evidence for a habitat-mediated competitive advantage. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 451:98-104.
- DALY, B., and W. C. LONG.
2014. Inter-cohort cannibalism of early benthic phase blue king crabs (Paralithodes platypus): Alternate foraging strategies in different habitats lead to different functional responses. PLoS ONE 9(2):e88694. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088694 Online.
- LONG, W. C., A. J. SELLERS, and A. H. HINES.
2013. Mechanism by which coarse woody debris affects predation and community structure in Chesapeake Bay. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 446:297-305.
- Ocean Acidification Research Will Increased Ocean Acidity Affect Alaska’s King Crabs?
By: ROBERT FOY, CHRIS LONG, KATHY SWINEY, MIKE LITZOW, JEFF SHORT, SARA PERSSELIN, LISA HOFERKAMP, SUSAN PAYNE, AAREN ELLSWORTH
Conference: ComFish Alaska 35th Annual Trade Show, Kodiak, AK, Apr 2014
(2014 poster, .pdf, 921 KB) Online.
- Cannibalism in Red King Crabs: Effects of Habitat, Predator Interference, and Predator Size on the Functional Response
By: W. CHRISTOPHER LONG, JESSICA POPP, LAURA WHITEFLEET-SMITH, KATHERINE SWINEY, SCOTT Van SANT
Conference: ComFish Alaska 34th Annual Trade Show, Kodiak, AK, Mar 2013
(2013 poster, .pdf, 915 KB) Online.
See the poster and publications databases for additional listings.