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NOAA Corps Hydrographer Adam Pfundt Joins the Habitat Research Group

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ENS Adam Pfundt. Photo by Karna McKinney.  

In 1996, Congress recognized the need for basic information about the habitats used by fish and shellfish, and mandated the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to describe and identify essential fish habitat (EFH) of all federally managed species in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. The National Ocean Service (NOS) is responsible for hydrographic surveys and nautical charting to ensure safe, efficient, and environmentally sound marine transportation in these same waters. Both mandates require quantitative environmental observations of the seafloor over sizable geographic areas. As such, there is a great opportunity for collaborative efforts to develop a seafloor map for multiple purposes. This is the theme of NOAA’s Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) initiative.

Recognizing the potential benefits of collaborations between biologists and hydrographers, a unique “cross-over” billet was established to encourage productive interactions between the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the Pacific Hydrographic Branch, which are both located at  NOAA’s western regional campus in Seattle. Beginning in 2005, a NOAA Corps hydrographer has been billeted with the RACE Division’s Habitat Research Group (HRG) as a benthic mapping specialist. This officer is required to have extensive experience acquiring and processing hydrographic data and to have an interest in fisheries-related studies. He/she primarily functions as a liaison between NOAA’s hydrographic community and HRG scientists. Previous duties have included participation in multi-mission cruises to collect acoustic backscatter for use in quantitative fish-habitat models; preparation of hydrographic data to update nautical charts, including a first-ever comprehensive survey of Pribilof Canyon; and the development of specialized technology for acquiring and processing multi-purpose environmental data.
ENS Adam Pfundt joined the HRG on 18 January 2012 to begin a 3-year assignment as a benthic mapping specialist. He replaces LT Meghan McGovern who has returned to sea duty in Alaska. Adam served one field tour as a hydrographer aboard the NOAA ship Fairweather working in the Bering Sea and the Arctic. He holds a bachelor’s degree in fisheries science from the University of Washington, has worked as a fisheries biologist, and has extensive commercial fishing experience in Alaska and Washington. He is very well-suited to his new position and will participate in the multi-mission FISHPAC research cruise this summer in the eastern Bering Sea. Welcome Adam!

Bob McConnaughey



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