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Resource Assessment & Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division

Groundfish Assessment Program

Groundfish Systematics

James Orr, Duane Stevenson, and Elaina Jorgensen are continuing work on the taxonomy and systematics of several families of fishes, most recently skates, snailfishes, rockfishes, and eelpouts, and cephalopods.

Orr and Stevenson with Jerry Hoff and John McEachran (Texas A&M University) are preparing the description of a new species of skate from the Aleutian Islands, as well as participating in a study with Ingrid Spies and Mike Canino in their genetic analysis of skates of Alaska.

Orr’s research on snailfishes has expanded with descriptions of four new species of Allocareproctus with Morgan Busby, two new species of Careproctus with Katherine Maslenikov of the University of Washington Fish Collection, and several new species of Paraliparis with Zachary Baldwin, an undergraduate intern from the University of Washington.

Orr’s work with Sharon Hawkins of Auke Bay Laboratory on the recognition, identification, and nomenclature of species of the rougheye rockfish complex is continuing.

Stevenson’s description (with M. E. Anderson) of the new species Bothrocara nyx has now been published, and Stevenson and Orr’s description of a new species of eelpout of Lycodes is in press.

Stevenson’s most recent research is focused on the systematics of eelpouts, including a revision of the genus Bothrocara (with Anderson and G. Shinohara), during which he has recognized the presence of at least three additional species in the eastern Bering Sea. He is also conducting an examination of morphological variation in Lycodes diapterus from across its entire range in the North Pacific in an effort to better understand its taxonomy.

Both Orr and Stevenson have recently published notes on the distribution of fishes in the Bering Sea, including two species of deep sea skates, Bathyraja abyssicola and Amblyraja badia, the slickhead Roulenia attrita (with Chris Kenaley, University of Washington), as well as the snailfish Paraliparis paucidens and the deep-sea cuskeel Bassozetus zenkevitchi (with Beth Sinclair and Bill Walker of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory).

Cephalopod taxonomic research is being conducted by Elaina Jorgensen. She is preparing guides to the both the adults and early life history stages of cephalopods of the North Pacific and, with Louise Allcock of Queen’s University Belfast, is working on the redescription of a small, very common octopus found on the Bering Sea slope.

By Mark Wilkins

Juvenile Rockfish Distribution and Habitat

During the fall quarter Chris Rooper continued to analyze sidescan and multibeam sonar and video data collected at the Islands of Four Mountains rockfish habitat study sites. A method for characterizing and mapping seafloor habitat using these data was developed and described in a manuscript that is currently undergoing internal review. Analysis of juvenile rockfish distribution and habitat use in the study area has also continued during the fall. A web site documenting the progress and results of this project has been launched on the AFSC web site at

By Mark Wilkins


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