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Resource Ecology & Ecosystem Modeling Program

Fish Stomach Collection and Lab Analysis

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During the fourth quarter of 2013, Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling (REEM) staff analyzed the contents of 4,853 groundfish stomachs.  Laboratory analysis was completed and the resulting data was error-checked and loaded into the AFSC’s Groundfish Food Habits database, resulting in 26,012 added records.  The majority of the samples analyzed were walleye pollock from the eastern Bering Sea, but samples from 4 other species in the eastern Bering Sea and 10 species from the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands regions were also analyzed.  
Other REEM program highlights include development of a web page called the Stomach Examiner’s Tool (SET), which links a variety of taxonomic data and descriptive pictures compiled and produced by the Food Habits Lab. The web page is designed to improve the ability, accuracy, and speed of prey identification from the stomach content.  

Program members also gave a training and informational presentation to fisheries observers, instructing them on the techniques of stomach sample collection, as well as an overview of the REEM program’s use of the resulting data for environmental assessments and ecosystem modeling.  

Stomach sampling was performed by fisheries observers on 364 walleye pollock, arrowtooth flounder, and Pacific cod from the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands regions. 

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

Ecosystem Modeling

The Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP) is part of the Bering Sea Project, a multi-year partnership between the National Science Foundation and the North Pacific Research Board.  As the Bering Sea Project wraps up, analysis of the 40- year hindcast for the FEAST model (Forage and Euphausid Abundance in Space and Time) has been ongoing since the conclusion of all simulations last September. Analysis was focused initially on overall regional oceanography and zooplankton dynamics and has now moved on to fish bioenergetics and movement. Results of the hindcast and multi-year simulations will be presented at the Bering Sea Open Science Meeting and Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Meeting, 23-28 February 2014 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Three papers are being prepared, one detailing the bioenergetics, the second detailing movement and the third one detailing the vertically integrated model from climate input to fishery catches.

By Ivonne Ortiz and Kerim Aydin



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