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Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling Program

Fish Stomach Collection and Lab Analysis

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Apr-May-June 2013
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During the second quarter of 2013, Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling (REEM) program staff analyzed the contents of 1,989 groundfish stomachs. The majority of these samples were from 35 species sampled from the Chukchi Sea and 6 species were from the northern Bering Sea. Most of the small crustacean prey (e.g., euphausiids, hyperiid amphipods, gammarid amphipods, mysids, and calanoid copepods) were identified to species whenever their condition allowed.

Stomach contents from four species of groundfish sampled in Marmot Bay, Alaska (Gulf of Alaska region) were also analyzed. In total, these stomach content analyses resulted in 1,703 records being added to the AFSC Groundfish Food Habits database.

In preparation for stable isotope analysis, 90 muscle and liver tissue samples from Alaskan groundfish were ground, and 35 tissue samples were tinned in preparation for gas isotope-ratio mass spectroscopy. This ongoing project provides additional information on long-term integration of energy transfer in Alaska's marine food webs. Analysis of flatfish stomach contents and benthic grab samples for REEM's Flatfish Essential Fish Habitat project are also ongoing.

Fisheries observers collected stomach samples from arrowtooth flounder and walleye pollock in the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands region. In preparation for future stomach sampling by fisheries observers, REEM staff assembled stomach collection kits and delivered them to commercial fishing vessels in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

REEM personnel trained new fisheries observers on stomach sampling procedures and instructed them on how the samples are analyzed and the data are used. REEM personnel also trained AFSC personnel in the proper collection of stomach contents on board AFSC groundfish trawl surveys.

REEM staff participated in several outreach activities this quarter, including the NOAA Open House on June 13 and 14. The Food Habits Laboratory display and hands-on activity were very popular with children, teens, and adults. Finally, presentations and tours of the Food Habits Laboratory were conducted for a class of new fisheries observers.

By Troy Buckley, Geoff Lang, Mei-Sun Yang, Richard Hibpshman, Kimberly Sawyer, Caroline Robinson and Sean Rohan
 

 

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