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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology Program

Photo of infra red camera frame used to study the effect of a trawl footrope on flatfish behavior Photo of infra red camera frame used to study the effect of a trawl footrope on flatfish behavior

Traditional fishing methods, scientific surveys, population modeling, and fishery management strategies are all dependent upon a fundamental understanding of fish behavior. The Fisheries Behavioral Ecology Program, based at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, conducts research aimed at understanding the relationships between fish behavior and environmental variables (physical and biological), and how this influences distribution, survival, and recruitment of economically important fish species. Program research also includes experimental analysis of fishing gear performance, and the survival and recovery of fishes from stresses imposed during fishing activity.

The goal of the Program is to provide critical information needed to improve survey techniques, to improve predictions on population abundance, distribution and survival, and to conserve populations of economically significant resource species and their habitats. The Program has four primary research topics to meet this goal.

Photo a tank systems used for studying juvenile fish feeding and social interactions Photo a tank systems used for studying juvenile fish feeding and social interactions

Research emphasis is placed on five species that comprise the largest fisheries in Alaska and the northeast Pacific Ocean: Walleye Pollock, Sablefish, Pacific Halibut, Rock Sole, Pacific cod, and Lingcod. Experimental research is conducted with all life history stages from eggs to adults, and brood stock populations and cultures of prey are maintained for larval and juvenile fishes.

Emphasis is also placed on peer-reviewed publication of basic research applicable to species and issues relevant to the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and collaboration is routinely conducted with other agencies, including:

Photo of student working in lab Photo of student working in lab

Interns, graduate students, and part-time employees are supported through a variety of mechanisms at both regional and national levels.


Recent Poster Presentations, Publications, Reports & Activities

  • HURST, T. P., B. J. LAUREL, E. HANNEMAN, S. A. HAINES, and M. L. OTTMAR. 2017. Elevated CO2 does not exacerbate nutritional stress in larvae of a Pacific flatfish. Fish. Oceanogr. 26:336-349.   Online.
  • FEDEWA, E. J., A. J. MILLER, T. P. HURST, and D. JIANG. 2017. The potential effects of pre-settlement processes on post-settlement growth and survival of juvenile northern rock sole (Lepidopsetta polyxystra) in Gulf of Alaska nursery habitats. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. Early online.   Online.
  • YOCHUM, N., A. W. STONER, D. B. SAMPSON, C. ROSE, A. PAZAR, and R. EDER. 2016. Utilizing reflex impairment to assess the role of discard mortality in “Size, Sex, and Season” management for Oregon Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) fisheries. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Early online.   Online.
  • RYER, C. H., M. OTTMAR, M. SPENCER, J. D. ANDERSON, and D. COOPER. 2016. Temperature-dependent growth of early juvenile southern Tanner crab Chionoecetes bairdi: Implications for cold pool effects and climate change in the southeastern Bering Sea. J. Shellfish Res. 35:259-267.   Online.
  • Energetic Status, Diet, and Size of Age-0 Pacific Cod During Warm and Cold Climate States in the Eastern Bering Sea
    Conference:  Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, AK, Jan 2013
    (2013 poster, .pdf, 1.1 MB)   Online.

  • Habitat and Ecological Processes Research (HEPR) Program
    Conference:  non-conference use
    (2011 poster, .pdf, 1.14 MB)   Online.


See the poster and publications databases for additional listings.

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Last updated 3 November, 2015

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