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The mission of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science is to advance ocean conservation through science. More..

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Publications 2006

Authors in bold are/were staff of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science and its founding organization, the Pew Institute for Ocean Science


Apostolaki P, Babcock E A, McAllister M K. 2006. Contrasting deterministic and probabilistic ranking of catch-quotas and area/size-based fisheries management. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 63: 1777-1792.

Babcock E A. 2006. Integrating habitat-based CPUE standardization into assessment models for Atlantic billfish. Collective Volume of Scientific Papers. ICCAT 59(1): 161-16.

Bakun A. 2006. Wasp-waist populations and marine ecosystem dynamics: navigating the “predator pit” topographies. Progress in Oceanography . 68: 271-288.

Many marine ecosystems exhibit a characteristic "wasp-waist" structure, where a single species, or at most several species, of small planktivorous fishes entirely dominate their trophic level. These species have complex life histories that result in radical variability that may propagate to both higher and lower trophic levels of the ecosystem. In addition, these populations have two key attributes: (1) they represent the lowest trophic level that is mobile, so they are capable of relocating their area of operation according to their own internal dynamics; (2) they may prey upon the early life stages of their predators, forming an unstable feedback loop in the trophic system that may, for example, precipitate abrupt regime shifts. Experience with the typical "boom-bust"™ dynamics of this type of population, and with populations that interact trophically with them, suggests a "predator pit"™ type of dynamics. This features a refuge from predation when abundance is very low, very destructive predation between an abundance level sufficient to attract interest from predators and an abundance level sufficient to satiate available predators, and, as abundance increases beyond this satiation point, decreasing specific predation mortality and population breakout. A simple formalism is developed to describe these dynamics. Examples of its application include (a) a hypothetical mechanism for progressive geographical habitat expansion at high biomass, (b) an explanation for the out-of-phase alternations of abundances of anchovies and sardines in many regional systems that appear to occur without substantial adverse interactions between the two species groups, and (c) an account of an interaction of environmental processes and fishery exploitation that caused a regime shift. The last is the example of the Baltic Sea, where the cod resource collapsed in concert with establishment of dominance of that ecosystem by the cod™ "wasp-waist"™ prey, herring and sprat.

Bakun A. 2006. Fronts and eddies as key structures in the habitat of marine fish larvae: Opportunity, adaptive response and competitive advantage. Scientia Marina. 70(S2): 105-122.

Bakun A, Weeks S. 2006. Adverse feedback sequences in exploited marine systems: are deliberate interruptive actions warranted?. Fish and Fisheries. 7: 316–333.


Becker, B.H., Beissinger, S.R.. 2006. Centennial decline in the trophic level of an endangered seabird after fisheries decline. Conservation Biology. 20: 470-480.

Chapman D D F, E K Pikitch, E A Babcock. 2006. Marine Parks Need Sharks? Letter to the Editor. Science. Volume 312 Page 526.

Download PDF of letter.

Clarke S, McAllister M K, Milner-Gulland E J, Kirkwood G P, Michielsen C G J, Agnew D J, Pikitch E K, Nakano H, Shivji M S. 2006. Global estimates of shark catches using trade records from commercial markets. Ecology Letters. 9: 1115–1126.

Despite growing concerns about overexploitation of sharks, lack of accurate, species-specific harvest data often hampers quantitative stock assessment. In such cases, trade studies can provide insights into exploitation unavailable from traditional monitoring. We applied Bayesian statistical methods to trade data in combination with genetic identification to estimate by species, the annual number of globally traded shark fins, the most commercially valuable product from a group of species often unrecorded in harvest statistics. Our results provide the first fishery-independent estimate of the scale of shark catches worldwide and indicate that shark biomass in the fin trade is three to four times higher than shark catch figures reported in the only global data base. Comparison of our estimates to approximated stock assessment reference points for one of the most commonly traded species, blue shark, suggests that current trade volumes in numbers of sharks are close to or possibly exceeding the maximum sustainable yield levels.

Abstract link

Hammerschlag N. 2006. Osmoregulation in elasmobranchs: a review for fish biologist, behaviourists and ecologists. Marine and Freshwater Behavior and Physiology. 39 (3):209-228.

Hammerschlag N, R A Martin, C Fallows. 2006. Effects of environmental conditions on predator-prey interactions between white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) and Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) at Seal Island, South Africa. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 76 (2-4): 341-350.

Ward P, R A Myers. 2006. Do habitat models accurately predict the depth distribution of pelagic fishes?. Fisheries Oceanography. 15 (1): 60-66.


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