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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2012-08-03
    Description: The growth rate of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) pups was studied in southeast Alaska, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands during the first six weeks after birth. The Steller sea lion population is currently stable in southeast Alaska but is declining in the Aleutian Islands and parts of the Gulf of Alaska. Male pups (22.6 kg [±2.21 SD]) were significantly heavier than female pups (19.6 kg [±1.80 SD]) at 1−5 days of age, but there were no significant differences among rookeries. Male and female pups grew (in mass, standard length, and axillary girth) at the same rate. Body mass and standard length increased at a faster rate for pups in the Aleutian Islands and the western Gulf of Alaska (0.45−0.48 kg/day and 0.47−0.53 cm/day, respectively) than in southeast Alaska (0.23 kg/day and 0.20 cm/day). Additionally, axillary girth increased at a faster rate for pups in the Aleutian Islands (0.59 cm/ day) than for pups in southeast Alaska v(0.25 cm/day). Our results indicate a greater maternal investment in male pups during gestation, but not during early lactation. Although differences in pup growth rate occurred among rookeries, there was no evidence that female sea lions and their pups were nutritionally stressed in the area of population decline
    Keywords: Biology ; Ecology ; Fisheries
    Repository Name: Aquatic Commons
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2012-06-12
    Description: Delayed mortality associated with discarded crabs and fishes has ordinarily been observed through tag and recovery studies or during prolonged holding in deck tanks, and there is need for a more efficient assessment method. Chionoecetes bairdi (Tanner crab) and C. opilio (snow crab) collected with bottom trawls in Bering Sea waters off Alaska were evaluated for reflexes and injuries and held onboard to track mortality. Presence or absence of six reflex actions was determined and combined to calculate a reflex impairment index for each species. Logistic regression revealed that reflex impairment provided an excellent predictor of delayed mortality in C. opilio (91% correct predictions). For C. bairdi, reflex impairment, along with injury score, resulted in 82.7% correct predictions of mortality, and reflex impairment alone resulted in 79.5% correct predictions. The relationships between reflex impairment score and mortality were independent of crab gender, size, and shell condition, and predicted mortality in crabs with no obvious external damage. These relationships provide substantial improvement over earlier predictors of mortality and will help to increase the scope and replication of fishing and handling experiments. The general approach of using reflex actions to predict mortality should be equally valuable for a wide range of crustacean species.
    Keywords: Biology ; Ecology ; Fisheries
    Repository Name: Aquatic Commons
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2012-06-12
    Description: Demersal fishes hauled up from depth experience rapid decompression. In physoclists, this can cause overexpansion of the swim bladder and resultant injuries to multiple organs (barotrauma), including severe exophthalmia (“pop-eye”). Before release, fishes can also be subjected to asphyxia and exposure to direct sunlight. Little is known, however, about possible sensory deficits resulting from the events accompanying capture. To address this issue, electroretinography was used to measure the changes in retinal light sensitivity, flicker fusion frequency, and spectral sensitivity in black rockfish (Sebastes melanops) subjected to rapid decompression (from 4 atmospheres absolute [ATA] to 1 ATA) and Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) exposed to 15 minutes of simulated sunlight. Rapid decompression had no measurable influence on retinal function in black rockfish. In contrast, exposure to bright light significantly reduced retinal light sensitivity of Pacific halibut, predominately by affecting the photopigment which absorbs the green wavelengths of light (≈520–580 nm) most strongly. This detriment is likely to have severe consequences for postrelease foraging success in green-wavelength-dominated coastal waters. The visual system of Pacific halibut has characteristics typical of species adapted to low light environments, and these characteristics may underlie their vulnerability to injury from exposure to bright light.
    Keywords: Biology ; Ecology ; Fisheries
    Repository Name: Aquatic Commons
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2012-06-18
    Description: Nearshore fisheries in the tropical Pacific play an important role, both culturally and as a reliable source of food security, but often remain under-reported in statistics, leading to undervaluation of their importance to communities. We re-estimated nonpelagic catches for Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and summarize previous work for American Samoa for 1950−2002. For all islands combined, catches declined by 77%, contrasting with increasing trends indicated by reported data. For individual island entities, re-estima-tion suggested declines of 86%, 54%, and 79% for Guam, CNMI, and American Samoa, respectively. Except for Guam, reported data primarily represented commercial catches, and hence under-represented contributions by subsistence and recreational fisheries. Guam’s consistent use of creel surveys for data collection resulted in the most reliable reported catches for any of the islands considered. Our re-estimation makes the scale of under-reporting of total catches evident, and provides valuable baselines of likely historic patterns in fisheries catches.
    Keywords: Biology ; Ecology ; Fisheries
    Repository Name: Aquatic Commons
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2011-09-29
    Description: A study was conducted on a small pond in southeast Texas to evaluate the potential for using remote sensing technology to assess feeding damage on giant salvinia ( Salvinia molesta Mitchell) by the salvinia weevil ( Cyrtobagous salviniae Calder and Sands). Field spectral measurements showed that moderately damaged and severely damaged plants had lower visible and near-infrared reflectance values than healthy plants. Healthy, moderately damaged, and severely damaged giant salvinia plants could be differentiated in an aerial color-infrared photograph of the study site. Computer analysis of the photograph showed that the three damage level classes could be quantified. (PDF has 5 pages.)
    Keywords: Management ; Biology ; Limnology
    Repository Name: Aquatic Commons
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2012-06-11
    Description: A ssur ing the v itality and survival potential of live-caught Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is important for improving the sorting of fish before net penning operations designed to hold fish for growth and later market. When Atlantic cod are captured by Danish seine, the most commonly used fishing gear for live-caught fish, they undergo stressors such as forced swimming, net abrasion, and air exposure. Laboratory experiments (at an air temperature of 9°C and water temperature of 8°C) were conducted with the aim of constructing a RAMP (reflex action mortality predictor) curve for prediction of vitality and survival potential in Atlantic cod captured in Danish seines, by varying the levels of these stressors. Atlantic cod exposed to increased duration in air (5–20 min) showed increased reflex impairment and mortality, with 75% mortality at 10 minutes of air exposure. Forced swimming in combination with net abrasion and air exposure did not increase reflex impairment or mortality above that associated with air exposure alone. The Atlantic cod RAMP curves indicated that fish with reflex impairment less than 50% would not show mortality and would likely recover from capture stress.
    Keywords: Biology ; Ecology ; Fisheries
    Repository Name: Aquatic Commons
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2012-08-03
    Description: Horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) is harvested commercially, used by the biomedical industry, and provides food for migrating shorebirds, particularly in Delaware Bay. Recently, decreasing crab population trends in this region have raised concerns that the stock may be insufficient to fulfill the needs of these diverse user groups. To assess the Delaware Bay horseshoe crab population, we used surplus production models (programmed in ASPIC), which incorporated data from fishery-independent surveys, fishery-dependent catch-per-unit-of-effort data, and regional harvest. Results showed a depleted population (B2003/=0.03−0.71) BMSY and high relative fishing mortality /FMSY=0.9−9.5). Future harvest (F2002strategies for a 15-year period were evaluated by using population projections with ASPICP software. Under 2003 harvest levels (1356 t), population recovery to BMSY would take at least four years, and four of the seven models predicted that the population would not reach BMSY within the 15year period. Production models for horseshoe crab assessment provided management benchmarks for a species with limited data and no prior stock assessment
    Keywords: Biology ; Ecology ; Fisheries
    Repository Name: Aquatic Commons
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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