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Recruitment Processes: Biological Oceanography Project

The biological oceanography project investigates ocean processes that produce food and predators for larval and juvenile fish. These investigations are focused at the base of the food web, with most of the attention given to mechanisms that create matches or mismatches (in space and time) between zooplankton and patches of larval or juvenile fish. Production of prey for larval fish begins in the spring (or fall) when conditions are right for a bloom of microscopic algae which together with microzooplankton (heterotrophic dinoflagellates, ciliates, and rotifers) fuel the growth and reproduction of the zooplankton (for example, copepods and euphausiids). The amount of prey required by fish larvae to survive and grow depends on the temperature, their size, and metabolic rate. Ancillary projects conducted by the project address production of food for other living marine resources such as baleen whales and seabirds. All of the processes that regulate the production of prey and predators are closely linked to physical and chemical oceanography and meteorology. Thus the biological oceanography project interacts with scientists from a number of other disciplines to accomplish its work.

Current studies include:

  • Affects of loss of sea ice in the eastern Bering Sea on plankton distribution, production, and food webs (link).
  • GLOBAL Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) in the coastal Gulf of Alaska. A synthesis of climate-mediated affects on the biological productivity of the region, and the effect on interannual variability in recruitment of pink salmon (Oncorhychus gorbuscha).
  • Summer production of zooplankton on the eastern Bering Sea shelf and mechanisms for nutrient replenishment.

Recent Publications, Poster Presentations, Reports & Activities

  • NAPP, J. M., R. R. HOPCROFT, C. T. BAIER, and C. CLARKE. 2005. Distribution and species-specific egg production of Pseudocalanus in the Gulf of Alaska. J. Plankton Res. 27:415-426.
  • Autonomous Zooplankton Sampling for Ocean Observing Systems
    Conference: : Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, AK, Jan 2007
    (2007 poster, .pdf 2.8MB) online
  • Physical and Biological Coupling in the Coastal Gulf of Alaska: Effect of Microplankton Assemblages on Diet and Egg Production Rates of Copepods
    By: J. M. NAPP, C. T. BAIER, S. L. STROM, E. L. MACRI
    Conference: GLOBEC Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR, Jan 2004
    (2004 poster, .pdf 2.6MB) online
  • Secondary Production in a Downwelling Ecosystem: Egg Production Rates of Calanus marshallae and Psuedocalanus spp. in the Coastal Gulf of Alaska, 2001
    Conference: Marine Science in the Northeast Pacific, Science for Resource Dependent Communities, Anchorage, AK, Jan 2003
    (2003 poster, .pdf 1.7MB) online

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