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Habitat and Ecological Processes Research (HEPR) Program

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Report of the Bering Sea Project (BEST/BSIERP) Principal Investigators’ Meeting

Principal investigators of the Bering Sea Project (BEST/BSIERP) met to discuss and exchange research findings on 13-15 October 2009 in Girdwood, Alaska. About one hundred scientists attended the meeting. The goals of the meeting were to present summary results organized around related projects, to organize focal group discussions, and to build a road map for synthesis of Bering Sea Project results. Participants presented key research findings on the following topics: physical oceanography, iron and nutrients, benthos, ice algae and primary production, zooplankton, ichthyoplankton, fish surveys, fish and ocean conditions, seabirds and whales, patch dynamics, local and traditional knowledge and subsistence, lower trophic level models, upper trophic level models, competing models, data management, and outreach. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this interesting and productive meeting.


Essential Fish Habitat Proposals Reviewed

Proposals for FY 2010 essential fish habitat (EFH) funding recently were solicited from Alaska Fisheries Science Center and NMFS Alaska Regional Office staff. Project selection for EFH research is based on research priorities from the EFH Research Implementation Plan for Alaska. Approximately $500,000 is spent on about ten EFH research projects each year.

Research priorities are

  1. Potential impacts on coastal areas facing development
  2. Characterization of habitat utilization and productivity
  3. Sensitivity, impact, and recovery of disturbed benthic habitat
  4. Validation and improvement of habitat impacts model
  5. Seafloor mapping

The Habitat and Ecological Processes Research (HEPR) team completed a scientific rating of the 2010 proposals in early December. Alaska Regional Office Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Jon Kurland and HEPR Program Leader Mike Sigler agreed on rankings based on the scientific review and management priorities. Like last year, habitat recovery rate proposals were given higher management priority. The management prioritization generally followed the science ranking but a few changes were made to reflect the relevance of the proposals for fishery management decisions.

Ten projects were recommended for funding in the order shown in Table 1. Three projects are continuing EFH studies and seven are new studies. Of the 10 projects, 3 are recovery rate studies (1 continuing and 2 new). If more than $517,700 (subtotal of first 10 projects) is available for EFH studies, a recommendation for additional projects to fund will be made.

Table 1. Projects recommended for essential fish habitat funding for FY 2010.
Budget ($)
Principal Investigators
Title
$ 32,900          Malecha, Shotwell, Amman Recruitment and response to damage of an Alaskan gorgonian coral
$ 64,700         Rooper Collection of field data to support modeling bottom trawling impacts and subsequent recovery rates of sponges and corals in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska
$ 48,804         Stone, Waller, Mondragon Reproductive ecology of the red tree coral (Primnoa pacifica)
$ 9,500         Johnson, Eagleton Nearshore fish assemblages in coastal areas facing development in Upper Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound, Alaska
$ 42,800         Laurel, Ryer, Parrish, Knoth, Urban Productivity, habitat utilization and recruitment dynamics of Pacific cod
$ 96,300         Yeung, Yang Northern Bering Sea habitat suitability for benthic-feeding flatfishes
$ 112,250         Rooper, Hoff, Wilkins Identification of high relief living structures in the Gulf of Alaska slope areas
$ 19,000         Harris Reproductive biology of Pacific sand lance near Juneau, Alaska: spawn timing and location and larval distribution
$ 48,000         Ryer, Long, Spencer Recruitment, post-settlement processes and habitat utilization by Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi)
$ 43,450          Knoth, Conrath, Urban, Laurel, Worton Seasonal habitat use and overwintering habits of juvenile Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) in coastal nursery areas
$ 103,500         Hoff Skate nursery habitat mapping in the Aleutian Islands
$ 96,900         Johnson, Thedinga The nearshore ecosystem of the Arctic: an inventory of biological and physical characteristics in a rapidly changing environment

By Mike Sigler

 

Download the complete research report:  PDF;7.03MB.  (To view and print this document, you must install Adobe Acrobat Reader freeware. Adobe also offers free tools for the visually disabled.)

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