RECA: Recruitment Energetics and Coastal Assessment
Recruitment Energetics and Coastal Assessment program
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
The Recruitment Energetics and Coastal Assessment Program (RECA) is focused on understanding the processes regulating recruitment of forage fish and commercially valuable species. This entails measuring fish condition and evaluating habitat quality primarily in nearshore habitats.
Recruitment Energetics: Recruiting fish are those individuals that have successfully navigated the environmental factors that their limit survival to adulthood. In order to identify how well juveniles are navigating those factors we relate their nutritional status to their developmental state and environmental conditions. The different developmental stages of juvenile fish are associated with different life history demands. The ecological dependencies of larvae differ from those of metamorphosed young-of-the-year. Successful recruitment requires fish to acquire sufficient energy to satisfy the competing life history demands of development, growth and energy storage. We employ a variety of measures of nutritional status so we can relate each of the different developmental phases to their potential survival. These measures include fish diets, fatty acid, lipid class, and proximate composition, thiamine content and RNA/DNA content.
Coastal Assessment: It is not enough to know how well fish are performing in their environment. We also need to characterize their abundance, distribution and the habitats we find them in. We participate in and conductsurveys aimed at different developmental stages and in different seasons to get this information. Surveys we conduct are focused on nearshore habitats that many fish species use to rear juveniles. We are developing novel techniques for mapping habitat and survey fish distributions in these habitats. This includes use of an autonomous sampler we are developing in conjunction with University partners.
Alaska presents a challenge for coastal assessments due to wide ranging, regional differences from the Arctic to the Aleutian Islands, Gulf of Alaska, and inside waters of Prince William Sound and southeastern Alaska. Some of these areas are relatively pristine and largely unstudied requiring baseline studies and habitat mapping surveys. Other areas have had a major oil spill like the Exxon Valdez oil spill requiring an understanding of contaminants in the marine environment and long-term monitoring of impacted ecosystems. By combining expertise in recruitment, bioenergetics, and essential fish habitat the RECA Program activities are relevant to agency needs on many levels including an ecosystem approach.
RECA is also in the pursuit of utilizing novel techniques to aid our research goals. For example, shallow water acoustics and high resolution imaging of the seafloor are being used on an autonomous sampling platform to get the most accurate data possible in the field. In the lab, rNA/DNA methodologies are being developed for an instantaneous cellular growth index which can be applied to many fish species.
Recent Publications, Poster Presentations, Reports & Activities
- Estuarine fish ecology of the Yukon River delta, 2014-2015
HOWARD, K.G., K.M. MILLER, and J. MURPHY. 2017. Estuarine fish ecology of the Yukon River delta, 2014-2015. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Fishery Data Series No. 17-16, Anchorage
- Allometric relationships between body size and energy density of juvenile Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and chum (O. keta) salmon across a latitudinal gradient
MOSS, J. H., J. M. MURPHY, E. A. FERGUSSON, and R. A. HEINTZ. 2017. Allometric relationships between body size and energy density of juvenile Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and chum (O. keta) salmon across a latitudinal gradient. N. Pac. Anadr. Fish Comm. Bull. 6:161-168.
- Exploration of Potential Early Life Mortality in Canadian-Origin Chinook Salmon Eggs due to Thiamine Deficiency
By: C. FUGATE, S. LARSON, K. HOWARD, D. HONEYFIELD, J. MURPHY
Conference: Comparative Nutrition Society 2016 Symposium, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Aug 2016
(2016 poster, .pdf, 2.21 MB) Online.
- Seasonal Phenology of Zooplankton Composition in the SE Bering Sea, 2008-2010
By: LISA EISNER, ALEXEI PINCHUK, COLLEEN HARPOLD, ELIZABETH SIDDON, KATHY MIER
Conference: Ocean Sciences Meeting, New Orleans, LA, Feb 2016
(2016 poster, .pdf, 1.76 MB) Online.
Early Marine Ecology of Juvenile Chinook Salmon on the Yukon Delta, Alaska
Forage Fish and Humpback Whale Monitoring: Change in Prince William Sound
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See the publications and poster databases for additional listings.