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Kodiak Laboratory: Internship Program, RACE Division

2009 Hollings Scholarship student

Intern Ben Cournoyer
Ben Cournoyer, Hollings Scholarship recipient, checking water temperatures during his 2009 research on juvenile red king crab habitat preference.

Ben Cournoyer is a senior at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, Florida. He is majoring in marine science with minors in mathematics and chemistry.

Ben received the 2008 NOAA Hollings Scholarship and chose to assist NMFS researchers Sara Persselin and Bob Foy with their study of king crab early life history and behavior. His summer research entails determining whether 3-month-old and 1-year-old red king crab have preferences for different types of synthetic substrates, such as used fishing gear, or for vertical or horizontal orientation of habitat.

One of NMFS’ goals in the North Pacific is to enhance the depleted crab stocks in Alaskan waters. This will contribute to increased survival of hatchery grown crab. During his stay in Kodiak, Ben is assisting in project planning, conducting the experiment, and compiling literature pertaining to king crab habitat with ontogeny. In late July 2009, Ben will present his study at the NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Alaska Fisheries Science Center Internship student

Intern Brita Mjos
Brita Mjos, 2009 AFSC intern, sectioning rockfish ovaries in preparation for tissue processing as part of the study of reproductive biology of Gulf of Alaska rockfish species.

Brita Mjos is an undergraduate senior at Western Washington University where she is studying environmental science and marine ecology. She grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and enjoys hiking, skiing, fishing, and kayaking.

This summer Brita was awarded an Alaska Fisheries Science Center internship and will be working with RACE Division groundfish biologists in Kodiak, Alaska. As part of the 10-week internship, she is conducting a research project comparing the reproductive biology of several Gulf of Alaska rockfish species captured in different seasons. She will examine the length at maturity and reproductive seasonality of these species utilizing histological techniques. Brita will also utilize historical survey data to map the distribution of these species in order to examine the relationship between these parameters and habitat. Histology is a significant part of the project, and Brita is learning to use instruments and laboratory techniques that enable accurate analysis of rockfish reproductive biology. Understanding rockfish life history has important implications for the management of commercial fisheries which target rockfish in the Gulf of Alaska.

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