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Publications 2010

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


Terborgh, J., Estes, J.A. eds. 2010.Trophic Cascades: Predators, Prey, and the Changing Dynamics of Nature. Washington, DC: Island Press. 488 pp.

Island Press Web site
News release

Brown, B.K., Soule, E., Kaufman, L. 2010. Effects of excluding bottom-disturbing mobile fishing gear on abundance and biomass of groundfishes in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, USA. Current Zoology. February

The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (southern Gulf of Maine, northwest Atlantic) is partially overlapped by the Western Gulf of Maine Closure Area (WGMCA). This is a region in which mobile, bottom-disturbing fishing gear has been banned by the New England Fishery Management Council to facilitate the rebuilding of depleted groundfish populations. We assessed the effects and effectiveness of the WGMCA on groundfish assemblages using habitat-stratified (gravel, sand, mixed benthic habitats) sampling by means of a commercial trawler, inside and outside of the WGMCA. Sampling occurred over three month-long sampling periods in 2004-2005, two during the spring seasons and one during the fall season. A total of 18 species were analyzed for protection effects. After controlling for substratum, location and sampling season, eight groundfish species exhibited higher mean proportional abundance inside than outside the WGMCA while two were proportionally more abundant on average outside of the closure. Four species had higher mean proportional biomasses on average inside the closure and three outside. We conclude that the WGMCA may be achieving its goal of rebuilding abundance and biomass for some commercially targeted groundfishes but not all. This study, six to seven years post-closure establishment, reveals fine-scale spatial and taxonomic complexity which will require a very different monitoring protocol than the one currently in place if adaptive management is to be successful in the region [Current Zoology 56 (1): 134–143, 2010].

Read more [pdf]

Doukakis, P., Babcock, E.A., Pikitch, E.K., Sharov, A.R., Baimukhanov, M., Erbulekov, S., Bokova, Y., Nimatov, A. 2010. Management and Recovery Options for Ural River Beluga Sturgeon. Conservation Biology. February.

Management of declining fisheries of anadromous species sometimes relies heavily on supplementation of populations with captive breeding, despite evidence that captive breeding can have negative consequences and may not address the root cause of decline. The beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), a species threatened by the market for black caviar and reductions in habitat quality, is managed through harvest control and hatchery supplementation, with an emphasis on the latter. We used yield per recruit and elasticity analyses to evaluate the population status and current levels of fishing and to identify the life-history stages that are the best targets for conservation of beluga of the Ural River. Harvest rates in recent years were four to five times higher than rates that would sustain population abundance. Sustainable rates of fishing mortality are similar to those for other long-lived marine species such as sharks and mammals. Yield per recruit, which is maximized if fish are first harvested at age 31 years, would be greatly enhanced by raising minimum size limits or reducing illegal take of subadults. Improving the survival of subadult and adult females would increase population productivity by 10 times that achieved by improving fecundity and survival from egg to age 1 year (i.e., hatchery supplementation). These results suggest that reducing mortality of subadults and adult wild fish is a more effective conservation strategy than hatchery supplementation. Because genetics is not factored into hatchery management practices, supplementation may even reduce the viability of the beluga sturgeon.

Read more [pdf] | News release

Feldheim, K.A., Chapman, D.D., Sweet, D., Fitzpatrick, S., Prodohl, P.A., Shivji, M.S., Snowden, B.. 2010. Shark virgin birth produces multiple, viable offspring. Journal of Heredity. January.

Read the full study in Journal of Heredity.
View the news release.
Read Washington Post coverage.

Feldheim, K.A., Chapman, D.D., Simpfendorfer, C.A., Richards, V.P., Shivji, M.S., Wiley, T.R., Poulakis, G.R., Carlson, J.K., Eng, R., Sagarese, S.. 2010. Genetic tools to support the conservation of the endangered smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata. Conservation Genetics Resources. January.

Read the full study [pdf]

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