• Ocean Wilderness In Theory And Practice

      Barr, Bradley W.; Kruse, Gordon; Kliskey, Andrew; Alessa, Lilian; Koester, David (2012)
      Wilderness preservation has been an important focus of resource conservation since the dwindling number of wild places was perceived by some as losing a valued part of our collective natural and cultural heritage. While wilderness preservation efforts have been almost entirely focused on the land, recently there has been growing interest in "ocean wilderness." However, implementation has been constrained by the lack of a common vision of how "wilderness" is applied to the ocean, and how such areas should be managed and preserved. The purpose of this work was to identify and evaluate potential definitions of ocean wilderness and the values and qualities such areas possess, and to determine how they might be effectively identified and managed to preserve their wilderness character. This research focused on articulating a robust definition for "wilderness waters," within the context of how wilderness is currently conceived and articulated in law and policy, as well as evaluating how such areas might be most appropriately identified and managed. Extensive inventories were conducted of existing ocean wilderness areas, focused on North America, to determine what currently exists, how these areas are managed, and how future ocean wilderness designations should be prioritized. A survey was conducted, targeting resource managers and scientists, to identify preferences and perceptions of ocean wilderness and its potential stewardship. The survey results suggested that coastal waters possessed considerable values and qualities of wilderness, particularly areas adjacent to existing designated wilderness, that certain human uses might be appropriately permitted, and that there was much support for expanding the area of coastal waters designated as wilderness. The research also suggested that the North American Arctic might offer many opportunities for preserving ocean wilderness, in close collaboration with the Indigenous communities in this region. A number of recommendations were offered including that priority should be given to evaluating and designating areas adjacent to designated coastal wilderness areas, that the existing legal and policy framework in North America can be effectively used to expand the "wilderness waters" system, and that more work needs to be done to build the constituencies of support essential to accomplish this task.
    • Odors And Ornaments In Crested Auklets (Aethia Cristatella): Signals Of Mate Quality?

      Douglas, Hector D., Iii; Springer, Alan M. (2006)
      Crested auklets (Aethia cristatella) are small colonial seabirds that display an ornamental feather crest and emit a citrus-like odorant during the breeding season. In this study odors and ornaments were investigated as possible signals of mate quality. Crest size was negatively correlated with the stress hormone corticosterone in males, but this was not the case in females. Body condition was negatively correlated with corticosterone in females, but this was not the case in males. Corticosterone levels were interpreted as an index of physiological condition, and it was concluded that males with longer crests were more competent at meeting the social and energetic costs of reproduction. I hypothesized that the crested auklet odorant: (1) functions as a chemical defense against ectoparasites, (2) is assessed as a basis for mate selection, (3) is facilitated by steroid sex hormones. Laboratory and field experiments showed that synthetic replicas of the crested auklet odorant repelled, impaired, and killed ectoparasites in a dose-dependent fashion. Chemical concentrations in plumage were at least sufficient to repel and impair ectoparasites. Chemical emissions from breeding adult crested auklets peaked at the time of egg hatching when young are most vulnerable to tick parasitism. In males, chemical emissions were correlated with crest size, a basis for mate selection. Presentation of synthetic aldehydes elicited behaviors similar to those that occur during courtship. Captive crested auklets responded preferentially to synthetic replicas of their odor, and the highest frequency of response occurred during early courtship. These results show that the chemical odor could be a basis for mutual mate selection. Production of the chemical odorant may be facilitated by steroid sex hormones since octanal emission rates were correlated with progesterone in males. Finally it was determined that the chemical composition of odorants in crested auklets and whiskered auklets (A. pygmaea) differed in three key respects. This suggests that an evolutionary divergence occurred in the odorants of the two species similar to what has been suggested for ornamental traits. In conclusion, crested auklets appear to communicate with odors and ornaments, and these signals may convey multiple messages regarding condition, quality, and resistance to parasites.
    • Optimal Inseason Management Of Pink Salmon Given Uncertain Run Sizes And Declining Economic Value

      Su, Zhenming; Adkison, Milo (2001)
      This is a comprehensive study on the fishery and management system (including the inseason stock abundance dynamics, the purse seine fleet dynamics and the inseason management) of pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) in the northern Southeast Alaska inside waters (NSE). Firstly, we presented a hierarchical Bayesian modelling approach (HBM) for estimating salmon escapement abundance and timing from stream count data, which improves estimates in years when data are sparse by "borrowing strength" from counts in other years. We presented a model of escapement and of count data, a hierarchical Bayesian statistical framework, a Gibbs sampling estimation approach for posterior distributions, and model determination techniques. We then applied the HBM to estimating historical escapement parameters for pink salmon returns to Kadashan Creek in Southeast Alaska. Secondly, a simulation study was conducted to compare the performance of the HBM to that of separate maximum likelihood estimation of each year's escapement. We found that the HBM was much better able to estimate escapement parameters in years where few or no counts are made after the peak of escapement. Separate estimates for such years could be wildly inaccurate. However, even a single postpeak count could dramatically improve the estimability of escapement parameters. Third, we defined major stocks and their migratory pathways for the NSE pink salmon. We estimated the escapement timing parameters of these stocks by the HBM. A boxcar migration model was then used to reconstruct the catch and abundance histories for these stocks from 1977 to 1998. Finally, we developed a stochastic simulation model that simulates this fishery and management system. Uncertainties in annual stock size and run timing, fleet dynamics and both preseason and inseason forecasts were accounted for explicitly in this simulation. The simulation model was applied to evaluating four kinds of management strategies with different fishing opening schedules and decision rules. When only flesh quality is concerned, the present and a more aggressive strategy, both of which are adaptive to the run strength of the stocks, are able to provide higher quality fish without compromising the escapement objectives.
    • Organic matter accumulation and preservation in Alaskan continental margin sediments

      Ding, Xiaoling; Henrichs, Susan M. (1998)
      Continental margin sediments provide a historical record of the sources and fate of organic matter (OM) originating both from the continents and from primary productivity in the overlying water column. However, since this record can be altered by microbial decomposition within the sediment, the history cannot be interpreted without understanding how decomposition can affect OM composition. Also, the margins accumulate much of the OM buried in ocean sediments; hence, knowledge of processes influencing preservation of OM in these sediments is essential to understanding the global carbon cycle. OM preservation was examined using two approaches. First, I studied sediments in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska to determine sources of OM and temporal changes in carbon accumulation. A large amount of OM, 45--70 x 104 tons/yr, accumulated in this region, about 50% from terrestrial sources. Most of the sediment cores showed little evidence of change in TOC, TN, or C and N stable isotope compositions due to decomposition within the sediment. Second, I investigated the processes that control OM preservation, focusing on the role of the OM adsorption to mineral surfaces. Because proteins are major constituents of sedimentary OM, I examined factors controlling their adsorption, decomposition, and preservation. Three hydrophilic proteins were strongly adsorbed by two clay minerals, an iron oxide, sub-oxic sediments from Resurrection Bay (RB), Alaska, and anoxic sediments from Skan Bay (SB), Alaska. The partition coefficients were large enough to lead to their preservation provided that the proteins did not decompose while adsorbed. Generally, adsorption of proteins to solid phases decreased decomposition rates, suggesting that adsorption is important in protecting these compounds from microbial attack. Greater protein decomposition rates were found in SB than in RB sediments, indicating that anoxia did not inhibit protein biodegradation. Naturally-occurring adsorbed proteins were extracted from SB and RB sediments using a detergent solution. Most of these adsorbed proteins were small (<12 kDa), indicating that only the proteins adsorbed within the micropores of particle surfaces are preserved long-term.
    • Organochlorines In Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias Jubatus)

      Myers, Matthew John; Atkinson, Shannon; Krahn, Margaret; Rea, Lorrie; Castellini, Michael; Mellish, Jo-Ann; Burdin, Alexander (2009)
      Existing populations of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus ) have declined precipitously over the last half-century. Investigations into the cause of this downward trend have focused on many different possible factors. Toxicity caused by the accumulation of organochlorines (OCs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), has been demonstrated in marine mammals and was considered here as one possible factor that may have contributed to the decline of Steller sea lions or their failure to recover. The focus of this project was to investigate the relationship of contaminant loads to hormone levels, specifically thyroid hormones and cortisol in Steller sea lions. Two approaches were taken to this study. Firstly, baseline hormone concentrations were identified for the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T 4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and cortisol. This involves comparison and extrapolation. Secondly, possible risk effects were examined by comparing levels of OCs in captive and free-ranging Steller sea lions to known effects in related species with known physiological thresholds. Serum concentrations of total T4 were highest in Steller sea lions followed by total T3 concentrations. Concentrations of free T4 and free T3 were three to four orders of magnitude lower. Concentrations for all four thyroid hormone measurements tended to a lower level as animals matured beyond the neonatal stage. When thyroid hormones from captive sea lions were evaluated across seasons, all thyroid hormones were highest in the July to September period. Cortisol concentrations were similar in male and female pups. Cortisol varied with age but when considered in regards to time of year when sampled, followed a seasonal pattern. Cortisol was elevated in fall months in captive sea lions (non-pups), which is similar to what is seen in other marine mammals and is likely associated with the annual molt. Male pups from Alaska had lower levels of SigmaPCBs and SigmaDDT when compared to male pups from Russia. Female pups from Alaska were significantly lower in SigmaPCBs than Russian female pups as were female pups for SigmaDDT levels between areas. Anywhere from 12 to 64% (depending on rookery) of Steller sea lion pups investigated for contaminants had concentrations of SigmaPCBs that are high enough to cause physiological problems. Concentrations in blood taken monthly for 2 years in three captive Steller sea lions were similar at any given sampling time and followed a seasonal pattern with levels significantly higher in the summer months of July to September and lower in the three month winter period January to March. Concentrations of OCs in blubber samples collected quarterly for the captive females followed an analogous pattern to blood samples but the captive male sea lion was considerably lower and declined over the study period. A significant relationship between blubber contaminants and lipids was noted in the three captive Steller sea lions. Even though OC contamination has not been hypothesized to be the primary factor that precipitated the population decline, there is a potential for these chemicals to have a negative effect on the health of free-ranging Steller sea lions. These data suggest that concentrations of OCs in Steller sea lions may be high enough to cause endocrine or reproductive dysfunction and could potentially impact fertility or fecundity. Therefore, OC contaminants can not be dismissed as a contributing source to either the decline or the failure to recover of the Steller sea lion population.
    • Otters, sea stars, and glacial melt: top-down and bottom-up factors that influence kelp communities

      Traiger, Sarah B.; Konar, Brenda; Hardy, Sarah; Okkonen, Stephen; Edwards, Matthew; Litaker, Wayne (2017-08)
      Kelp beds are important features of the Alaska coastline and provide habitat, protect coastlines, and support commercial and subsistence harvests. Kelp beds are affected by top-down and bottom-up factors, which are changing due to human and climate-related impacts. The influences of these top-down and bottom-up factors on kelp beds are investigated in three chapters. My first chapter investigated the influence of glacial discharge on recruitment and early community development in subtidal kelp communities by monitoring benthic sessile algae and invertebrates on cleared rocks across a glacial gradient along with various physical and biological parameters in the summers of 2013-2014. It has been predicted that Alaska's glaciers will lose 30-60% of their volume by 2100. The melt from glaciers increases sedimentation and lowers salinity, impacting important habitat-providing kelp. I found that sites upstream from glacial discharge had higher kelp recruitment than downstream sites, and that up to 72% of the variation in community development was related to mobile invertebrates and kelp in the surrounding community. Glacially-influenced environmental factors did not explain any variation that was not already explained by biological factors. My second chapter explored whether patterns in the recruitment of the dominant canopy kelp, Nereocystis luetkeana and the subcanopy kelp, Saccharina latissima were a result of dispersal limitation or failure to grow to macroscopic size. My goals were to determine 1) whether glacial melt conditions affect adult fecundity (spore production) of either species, 2) how sedimentation affects early gametophyte growth and survival in each species, and 3) whether competitive interaction between species at the gametophyte stage is altered by sediments. I found that glacial melt conditions did not affect the fecundity of either species, but sedimentation affected survival and competition. Saccharina latissima was the superior competitor under high sediment conditions. Because glacially-influenced coastal areas often have little exposed hard substrate and predation by sea otters and sea stars on clams can provide hard substrate for kelp colonization, my third chapter examined methods for determining predation on clams by these predators without direct observation. I found that foraging pits of sea otters and sea stars could not be distinguished using quantitative measurements. In contrast, shell litter proved useful in quantifying relative foraging rates. Clam consumption by sea otters and sea stars was equal at all but one site. Collectively, my thesis chapters provide information on the effects of glacial discharge on microscopic and early kelp life stages in Alaska which can be incorporated into management practices.
    • Outbreeding depression and inheritance in three generations of geographically distinct southeast Alaska coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) populations

      Dann, Tyler H. (2009-08)
      I observed no fitness losses among F₂ hybrids of three Southeast Alaska coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) populations relative to parental controls. Marine survival did not differ among groups in one generation, but was greater for hybrids than controls in another, although the power of these tests was low. Increases in fluctuating asymmetry, which can signal losses in fitness, were not observed. Line cross analyses of length suggested additive and additive plus dominance gene action, and two of three analyses suggested epistasis. In contrast, meristic characters exhibited little variability; and in most cases tests failed to reject a simple additive model. Half- and full-sib analyses provided no evidence of quantitative genetic variation for any trait although the power to detect these effects was low. Comparisons of population divergence measured by quantitative traits (Qst) and molecular markers (Fst) that length is an adaptive trait and that bilateral meristics are highly conserved. Although we did not observe losses in fitness, the power of our tests was low, the among-population differences were unique to our experiment and so results of this study should be interpreted with caution.
    • Outbreeding depression in hybrids between spatially separated pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) populations: marine survival, homing ability, and variability in family size

      Gilk, Sara E. (2003-05)
      Hybridization between distinct populations of salmon can cause fitness loss (outbreeding depression), and may result in reduced survival. The erosion of fitness-related traits such as homing ability and change in family size distribution may underlie reduced survival. Out breeding depression was investigated in two independent experiments that made hybrids between geographically separated and genetically divergent pink salmon populations. Control crosses were made from male and female Auke Creek (Southeast Alaska) pink salmon and hybrid crosses were between Auke Creek females and Pillar Creek (Kodiak Island, about 1000km away) males. Parentage assignment from microsatellite analysis improved estimates of survival and straying, and was used to examine variation in family size. The return rates of even-broodyear F 1 control and hybrid fish were similar, but the odd-broodyear F 1 control returns exceeded hybrid returns. The F 2 control returns exceeded hybrid returns in both the even- and odd broodyears. Hybridization did not impair homing ability; weekly surveys in nearby ( - lkm) Waydelich Creek revealed similar straying rates from Auke Creek by both hybrid and control fish in all years. Family data were available only for even-broodyear returns; hybridization did not increase the index of variability (ratio of variance to mean) in family size in these years. Outbreeding depression in hybrids of geographically separated populations demonstrates the potential for introgression of nonnative fish to erode natural production.
    • Pacific herring juvenile winter survival and recruitment in Prince William Sound

      Sewall, Fletcher; Norcross, Brenda; Mueter, Franz; Kruse, Gordon; Heintz, Ron; Hopcroft, Russ (2020-05)
      Small pelagic fish abundances can vary widely over space and time making them difficult to forecast, partially due to large changes in the number of individuals that annually recruit to the spawning population. Recruitment fluctuations are largely driven by variable early life stage survival, particularly through the first winter for cold temperate fishes. Winter survival may be influenced by juvenile fish size, energy stores, and other factors that are often poorly documented, which may hamper understanding recruitment processes for economically and ecologically important marine species. The goal of this research was to improve understanding of recruitment of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) within Prince William Sound (PWS) through recruitment modeling and by identifying factors influencing winter survival of young-of-the-year (YOY) herring. Towards this end, my dissertation addresses three specific objectives: 1) incorporate oceanographic and biological variables into a herring recruitment model, 2) describe patterns in growth and condition of PWS YOY herring and their relationship to winter mortality risks, and 3) compare the growth, condition, swimming performance, and mortality of YOY herring that experience different winter feeding levels. In the recruitment modeling study, annual mean numbers of PWS herring recruits-per-spawner were positively correlated with YOY walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) abundance in the Gulf of Alaska, hence including a YOY pollock index within a standard Ricker model improved herring recruitment estimates. Synchrony of juvenile herring and pollock survival persisted through the three-decade study period, including the herring stock collapse in the early 1990s. While the specific mechanism determining survival is speculative, size-based tradeoffs in growth and energy storage in PWS YOY herring indicated herring must reach a critical size before winter, presumably to reduce size-dependent predation. Large herring switched from growth to storing energy, and ate more high-quality euphausiid prey, which would delay the depletion of lipid stores that compelled lean herring to forage. Lipid stores were highest in the coldest year of the seven-year field study, rather than the year with the best diets. With diets controlled in a laboratory setting, spring re-feeding following restricted winter diets promoted maintenance of size and swimming ability, but had little effect on mortality rates compared to fish continued on restricted rations. Declines in gut mass, even among fully fed herring, and low growth potential suggest limited benefits to winter feeding. Mortalities due to food restriction compounded by disease were highest among herring that fasted through winter months, and among small herring regardless of feeding level. Taken together, these findings illustrate the importance of achieving a critical size and high lipid stores in the critical period before winter to promote YOY herring winter survival and ultimately recruitment.
    • Pacific sleeper sharks in the Northeast Pacific Ocean: relative abundance, plausible incidental exploitation rates, trophic ecology, and habitat use

      Courtney, Dean Louis; Adkison, Milo D.; Foy, Robert; Sigler, Mike; Criddle, Keith R.; DiNardo, Gerard (2017-12)
      Pacific sleeper shark relative abundance indices in the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska were developed from sablefish longline surveys and the sustainability of a plausible range in Pacific sleeper shark incidental exploitation rates in the Gulf of Alaska was evaluated with a risk analysis using Monte Carlo simulation for use in fisheries management. A significant increase in Pacific sleeper shark relative abundance was identified in the Gulf of Alaska during the years 1989-2003. The aggregate risk of ending in an overfished condition in the Gulf of Alaska increased from 0% under a low exploitation rate scenario to 59% under a high exploitation rate scenario. Baseline information about Pacific sleeper shark trophic ecology and habitat utilization in the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska was developed for use in ecosystem-based fishery management. Analysis of stable isotope ratios of nitrogen (δ¹⁵N) and lipid normalized carbon (δ¹³C′) identified significant geographic and ontogenetic variability in the trophic ecology of Pacific sleeper sharks in the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska and revealed wider variability in the feeding ecology of Pacific sleeper sharks than previously obtained from diet data based on stomach contents alone. Time series analysis of Pacific sleeper shark electronic tag data from the Gulf of Alaska identified a simple autoregressive relationship governing short-term movements (hours) throughout the time series which included substantial variation in longer time period movement patterns (months) and demonstrated that statistical inference about habitat utilization could be drawn from simultaneous analysis of an entire time series depth profile (six months of data) stored on an electronic archival tag.
    • Pacific walrus use of higher trophic level prey and the relation to sea ice extent, body condition, and trichinellosis

      Seymour, Jill-Marie; Horstmann-Dehn, Lara; Atkinson, Shannon; Barboza, Perry; Rosa, Cheryl; Sheffield, Gay; Wooller, Matthew (2014-05)
      The changing Arctic ecosystem may prompt Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) to change their usual diet of lower trophic level prey (e.g., benthic invertebrates) by increasing the consumption of higher trophic level prey (HTLP). Prey-switching may have consequences to walrus populations through increased energetic costs, increased stress response, declines in body condition, and exposure to diseases, including the zoonotic parasite Trichinella spp. Trichinella is possibly transmitted to walruses via predation or scavenging on seals. The goal of this study was to quantify reliance on HTLP using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios, and assess potential correlations among consumption of HTLP and sea ice extent, sex, Trichinella infection, body lipid stores, and cortisol concentrations used as an index of the stress response. Walrus diet is comprised of ~1-22% HTLP and reliance on HTLP may be correlated with sea ice extent in a complex way. Trichinella was present in ringed seal (Pusa hispida, 1/57), Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus, 3-7/32), and polar bear (Ursus maritimus, 1/1), but was not detected in walruses (0/137) regardless of %HTLP in the diet. Walrus blubber and attached skin contained 44.6 ±12.4% lipid wet weight, which was lower than that found for other Arctic marine mammals; however, the inclusion of skin likely decreased our %lipid values. While the absolute value of %lipid from blubber and attached skin was not a suitable substitute for %lipid from blubber only, we were still able to detect the influence of biological factors, with sex-linked variability in walrus lipid stores observed. Cortisol analysis from full-thickness blubber resulted in a wide range of concentrations (2.77 to 34.04 ng/g), but showed that this stress hormone can be extracted from blubber. While neither %lipid nor blubber cortisol was correlated with the proportion of HTLP in walrus diet, they may serve as minimally-invasive methods for health monitoring of walruses. Overall, dietary plasticity of walruses is robust and switching to HTLP is not likely to have immediate adverse effects on the Pacific walrus population.
    • Paleoceanographic shifts in the Gulf of Alaska over the past 2000 years: A Multi-proxy perspective

      Boughan, Molly McCall; Finney, Bruce; Naidu, Sathy; Whitledge, Terry E. (2008-12)
      The Gulf of Alaska (GOA) is a dynamic region influenced by climate variability on time scales ranging from days to millennia. Recent regime shifts suggest interdecadal GOA primary productivity patterns, yet it is unclear whether such fluctuations extend beyond the instrumental record. This thesis examined the nature of prevalent climatic and oceanographic patterns before the twentieth century using several marine sediment core proxies for paleoproductivity and paleoceanography. Sediment cores were from two locations: Bay of Pillars, Kuiu Island, in southeast Alaska (56.63 ̊N, 134.35 ̊W), and a central midshelf location (GAK4) along the Global Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) Seward Line (59.25 ̊N, 148.82 ̊ W). Proxy data from these cores include: percentages of organic carbon, nitrogen and biogenic opal; organic carbon-to-nitrogen ratios; stable isotope ratios from sediment organic matter (δ13C and δ15N) and foraminifera tests (δ13C and δ18O); and foraminifera faunal analysis. Bay of Pillars proxy data suggest that the onset of the Little Ice Age (LIA) ca. 1200 AD coincides with pulses of decreased salinity and increased productivity. GAK4 proxy data indicate increased productivity and decreased terrestrial input over the past century; as well as fresher surface water was during the latter portion of the LIA (1716 – 1894) and positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation phases.
    • Paralytic shellfish poisoning: the relationship between Alexandrium abundance and psp toxins on Kodiak Island, Alaska

      Matweyou, Julie A. (2003-05)
      Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) events have severe negative impacts on Alaska commercial shellfish fisheries as well as recreational and subsistence harvests. This study, designed to improve existing PSP monitoring programs, involved the use of a rapid sandwich hybridization assay to detect and quantify the relative abundance of Alexandrium catenella based on species-specific LSU rRNA targeted oligonucleotide probes. Blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) toxicity, expressed as saxitoxin equivalents, was determined using the ³H-Saxitoxin receptor binding assay. Shellfish toxicity was relatively low in both 2000 and 2001 compared to historically high values on Kodiak, but exhibited pronounced late spring and late summer peaks, in both years at four to seven sampling sites. Temporal and spatial variability in shellfish toxicity among sites, seasons, and years suggested dynamic, and possibly unpredictable, Alexandrium bloom events. Importantly, DNA probe data revealed a strong association between Alexandrium abundance and shellfish toxicity. The results also demonstrated that increases in Alexandrium abundance preceded elevated toxin levels in shellfish, indicating that this assay may prove useful as a monitoring tool to predict toxic events in shellfish before they are harvested. Water column nutrients and climate data were evaluated to determine if bloom-triggering mechanisms could be identified.
    • Particles in the Pacific: how productivity and zooplankton relate to particles in the deep sea

      Pretty, Jessica L.; McDonnell, Andrew; Johnson, Mark; Hopcroft, Russ (2019-05)
      The magnitude and spatio-temporal patterns of particulate material flux from the surface ocean through mesopelagic and bathypelagic depths determines sequestration of atmospheric carbon and the food supplied to deep-dwelling ocean life. The factors that influence how and where this organic material is exported from euphotic depths are poorly understood. Zooplankton are thought to play a key role in modulating the transport of surface-produced particles to depths through consumption, fragmentation, active diel vertical migration, and fecal pellet production, thus it is important to study both particulate matter and zooplankton in tandem. In this study, I use an in-situ optical instrument, the Underwater Video Profiler 5 (UVP5), to describe broad scale patterns of large (> 100 μm) particles and zooplankton across a longitudinal transect of the Pacific Ocean during April to June 2015. Satellite-derived surface chlorophyll-a was employed to describe the timescales over which particles arrive in meso- and bathypelagic depths after a productivity peak. High abundances and volumes of particles are noticeable beyond the euphotic zone across the Equator, transition zone, and the sub-arctic Pacific, indicating increased export in these high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) areas. In two of these areas, the Equator and transition zone, large abundances and volumes of particles extend into bathypelagic depths. High abundances of zooplankton were seen in all areas where high abundances of particles are seen in bathypelagic waters. Rhizaria were revealed to be pervasive across all biogeographic regions, and appear to play a role in particle attenuation in the sub-arctic Pacific. The insight into patterns between particles, zooplankton, and productivity identify HNLC regions as deserving more detailed examination in future studies of biological pump efficiency.
    • Patterns and environmental drivers of juvenile sablefish movement in Southeast Alaska

      Ehresmann, Rhea K.; Beaudreau, Anne H.; Seitz, Andrew C.; Green, Kristen M. (2018-08)
      Sablefish Anoplopoma fimbria are a long-lived, deep-dwelling groundfish that inhabit the North Pacific Ocean, ranging from northern Mexico to the Gulf of Alaska to Japan, supporting one of Alaska's most valuable commercial fisheries. After decades of heavy fishing, declines in the Sablefish population led to significant fishing restrictions but few strong year classes developed in recent years. Most Sablefish research has focused on the larval, near-surface juvenile, or adult life history stages, but few studies have examined post-settlement juvenile Sablefish in nearshore areas. This study used acoustic telemetry to understand the presence and movement of juvenile Sablefish in a nursery area in Southeast Alaska. Throughout the summer and fall of 2015 and 2016, 40 juvenile Sablefish implanted with acoustic transmitters were monitored using an array of eight fixed receivers in St. John Baptist Bay, Baranof Island, Alaska. We quantified the movement patterns of 28 juvenile Sablefish using displacement from the head of the bay, daily distance traveled, daily duration within the bay, unique movement types among individuals, and movement in relation to environmental variables. From these analyses, we show that juvenile Sablefish exhibit fidelity to the middle-head region of the bay, display relatively high rates of daily movement and residence, demonstrate three distinct movement patterns, and are influenced by environmental variables like water temperature, diel state, moon phase, and day of year. Our results show that juvenile Sablefish exhibit seasonality in movements as they progressively emigrate from the bay throughout the summer and fall. Certain factors were found to increase the likelihood of movement for juvenile Sablefish, perhaps allowing them to remain in suitable environmental conditions. This study fills a gap in our knowledge of Sablefish early life history and reinforces the importance of nursery areas like St. John Baptist Bay for juvenile Sablefish prior to recruitment into commercial fisheries.
    • Patterns in size, growth, and condition of juvenile chum and pink salmon in the northeastern Bering Sea

      Prechtl, Melissa; McPhee, Megan; Beaudreau, Anne; Beckman, Brian (2014-12)
      The Bering Sea has alternated between warm and cool spring thermal regimes, as defined by May sea surface temperature, and in recent years has remained in a "cool" state. Differences in spring thermal regime influence the timing of sea ice extent in the southeastern Bering Sea (SEBS) region, with warm springs facilitating early ice retreats and cool springs resulting in later ice retreat. A recent conceptual model for relating production to higher trophic levels in the SEBS proposes that during years of early sea ice retreat, phytoplankton blooms occur in warm water and support small, lipid-poor species of zooplankton. Conversely, years of late sea ice retreat results in an ice associated bloom that supports large, lipid-rich species of zooplankton. As a consequence the energy density of prey sources available to higher trophic levels is reduced during warm years and enhanced during cool years. While the northeastern Bering Sea (NEBS) has consistently supported an ice-associated bloom, it is likely that productivity in the SEBS influences trophic-level connections in the NEBS. In order to examine this possibility, we extended this conceptual model to juvenile salmon and compared size and condition of juvenile chum (Oncorhynchus keta) and pink (O. gorbuscha) salmon in the NEBS between spring thermal regimes of the SEBS. We hypothesized that juvenile salmon would be longer in warm years and more energy dense in cool years. In years with cool springs, pink salmon were shorter and chum salmon exhibited greater energy density, but no other aspects of size and condition differed significantly between spring thermal regimes. We further examined relationships of size, growth, and condition of juvenile salmon with environmental variables within the NEBS. For both species, length increased over the time of the surveys; longer individuals were caught at stations with greater bottom depths and in cooler sea-surface temperatures, while individuals with high length-corrected energy density were associated with cooler temperatures and shallower depths. We used insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) concentrations as an indicator of relative growth rate for fishes sampled 2009-2012 and found fish exhibited higher IGF-1 l concentrations between 2010-2012 than in 2009. IGF-1 concentrations were positively correlated with temperature for juvenile chum salmon and with depth and length for juvenile pink salmon. The consistent appearance of depth (indicating distance from shore) in the best size and condition models was interpreted to indicate that as juvenile salmon moved offshore, they were allocating more energy to growth than fat storage over the course of the surveys. The association of cooler temperatures with greater energy density and longer lengths may reflect direct effects of temperature on salmon physiology as well as indirect effects on food quantity or quality indirect. Overall, recent conditions of the NEBS appear to successfully contribute to the growth and condition of the juvenile chum and pink salmon. Finally, we compared indicators of energy allocation between even and odd brood-year stocks of pink salmon and found the even broodyear stocks were more energy dense while odd brood-year stocks exhibited higher growth rates. These results reflect differences in energy allocation between brood-year stocks of juvenile pink salmon and suggest that the two brood-year stocks may respond differently to changing climate.
    • Pelagic nitrogen cycle in an arctic lake

      Whalen, Stephen Charles (1986-05)
      A mass balance for nitrogen was developed for the water column of Toolik Lake and the isotope tracers 15N and 14C were used to examine the phytoplankton ecology with respect to dissolved in organic nitrogen (ammonium and nitrate). The nutrient budget showed an oligotrophic ecosystem with important flux terms few and small in magnitude. Nitrogen input was primarily from inflowing rivers and was dominated by the dissolved organic fraction. Ammonium release from sediment provided the only other major source of nitrogen to the lake water. Toolik acted as a nitrogen sink, trapping 18% of the annual input. Retention was almost exclusively (98%) as dissolved organic nitrogen. Tracer experiments suggested chronic nitrogen deficiency in the phytoplankton, but indigenous populations were well-adapted for utilizing characteristically low levels of nutrient. Phytoplankton showed a high affinity for both nitrate and ammonium as well as a lack of discrimination between the two forms of inorganic nutrient. The ambient concentration was the most important factor regulating uptake, with light and temperature of secondary importance. More than 66% of the dissolved in organic nitrogen supporting phytoplankton productivity was derived from local recycling, with the remainder from sediment efflux and riverine input. Dissolved organic nitrogen from inflowing waters probably provided an additional, important source of nutrient for the phytoplankton.
    • Penetrative convection in sediments

      Musgrave, David L. (1983-05)
    • Phosphorus metabolism of several aquatic microorganisms

      Lang, Douglas; Brown, E. J. (1980-12)
      Several taxonomically diverse aquatic microplankton were described growing at phosphorus (P) concentrations that limit growth in many natural aquatic systems. Because natural aquatic systems are subject to periodic fluctuations in P levels, both steady-state (via continuous culture) and transient (via batch culture) growth were described. Complete growth kinetic descriptions of Synechococcus Nageli (strain A) and Scenedesmus quadricauda were used to predict the relative competitive abilities of these species when P was the growth-limiting nutrient. These descriptions, coupled to their morphological characteristics, were used to construct partial physiological profiles for each organism. The profiles indicate that S. Nageli (strain A) (a small unicellular blue-green alga) is better suited for growth in P-limited oligotrophic niches than is S. quadricauda (a green alga). However, results from kinetic experiments with these and several other microplankton, show that such physiological profiles are not necessarily indicative of profiles for taxonomically related species.