Vol. 32, No. 5
Thirteen UAA undergraduate students enrolled in a microbiology class won first place in the Kodiak College 2012 Showcase of Excellence group category, for their paralytic shellfish poisoning research.
Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory agent Julie Matweyou, and UAA Kodiak assistant professor Cindy Trussell, guided the students in a pilot study to develop a PSP community monitoring program. The students tested PSP toxins using the newly developed Abraxis ELISA test kits, which provide a low-cost, on-site PSP test with real-time results.
All students were involved in all stages of the project, from sample collection, toxin extraction and testing, data analysis, and outreach. They collected four shellfish species from six locations along the Kodiak Island road system during two weeks in March. The students detected toxins in the samples at levels below the regulatory limit of 80 micrograms of saxitoxin per 100 grams of shellfish. However, this experimental technique cannot be used to certify safe consumption.
The students presented their findings and shared perspectives on the project and the issue of PSP in the community. They gave public presentations at the UAF Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center/Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge brown bag seminar, and at the Rockmore-King Medical Clinic on the U.S. Coast Guard base.
The students gained a strong understanding of the PSP problem in their region and acquired experience in advanced laboratory practices, according to Matweyou and Trussell. Some of the students involved in the PSP project will continue to sample as volunteers, in an effort to develop a community-based monitoring program for Kodiak.
At the University of Alaska Commencement in Juneau in early May, Ph.D. degrees were awarded to five students who received Alaska Sea Grant support: Ben Daly, advised by Ginny Eckert; Kray Van Kirk and Peter-John Hulson, mentored by Terry Quinn; Jason Gasper, with Gordon Kruse as advisor; and Dion Oxman, advised by Tony Gharrett. Ashwin Sreenivasan and Cynthia Tribuzio rounded out the record number of seven fisheries Ph.D.s awarded at the Juneau ceremony.
Daly and Van Kirk defended their theses in the past month. Daly’s dissertation title is Red King Crab Hatchery Culture and Ecological Requirements: Improving Stock Enhancement Feasibility. His lab and field research on red king crab diet, culture density, size sorting, and predation demonstrated that (1) hatchery production can be improved with specific advances in rearing technology; (2) hatchery-cultured red king crabs are morphologically and behaviorally changeable; (3) hatchery-cultured crabs tethered in the field show no obvious behavioral deficiencies that may make them more susceptible to predation; and (4) differences in predation susceptibility during the first juvenile instar stages are subtle and may be ecologically inconsequential for post-release survival. As bottlenecks in hatchery production and survival of released juveniles continue to be overcome, stock enhancement will become increasingly feasible for red king crabs in Alaska. Red king crab is depleted throughout much of the North Pacific, making it a good candidate for stock enhancement.
Assessment Modeling as a Tool of Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Alaska is the title of Kray Van Kirk’s Ph.D. thesis. Van Kirk developed a multispecies age-structured assessment model for the Gulf of Alaska. He modeled age-specific predation mortality as a flexible function of predator and prey abundances that were fitted to stomach-content data. Modeled species include arrowtooth flounder, Pacific cod, walleye pollock, Pacific halibut, and Steller sea lions. Management strategy simulations demonstrate that multispecies harvest control rules and biological reference points are more conservative and more efficient at preserving stock abundance, while maintaining catch levels, than their single-species counterparts.
To kick off ComFish Alaska 2012 in Kodiak, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program and Alaska Marine Conservation Council sponsored the fisheries management process workshop, Get Engaged in the Process: A Workshop for Fishermen and Community. About 50 people attended the workshop, where they were trained in the process used by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The workshop provided information and tools to help Kodiak fishermen and residents understand and effectively participate in the June 2012 Council meeting, to be held in Kodiak.
“The process training was successful,” said co-organizer Julie Matweyou. “It was a friendly event. Diana Evans, Council staff, gave an excellent overview of the Council process, and then the discussion was opened to the entire panel.”
Panel members were Diana Evans; Matt Moir, Council Advisory Panel/industry representative; Stosh Anderson, former Council member and current fisherman; Denby Lloyd, former Council member and current Kodiak Fisheries Advisor; Dan Hull, Council member/fisherman; and Becca Robbins Gisclair, Council Advisory Panel. Theresa Peterson, local fisherman and Council Advisory Panel member, teamed with Matweyou to organize the workshop.
Terry Johnson authored the new Fisheries Adaptations to Climate Change bulletin, published by ASG. In Alaska, the fishing industry has advantages in adapting to climate-related change, but is vulnerable in ways that other regions are not. This publication explains the anticipated effects of climate change on fisheries in Alaska and worldwide, and suggests ways that Alaska’s fishermen and fishing-dependent communities can adapt. It also defines adaptation and related terms, and summarizes the state of knowledge on fisheries adaptations worldwide. It is the most recent addition to the Adapting to Climate Change in Coastal Alaska website, and is available at the online bookstore.
Five Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory faculty will give talks during UAF’s Alaska’s Land and Sea Lecture Series on Tuesday evenings this summer. Brewer and Wynne will present from Fairbanks, while Freitag, Witteveen, and Chambers will present by VCON from their home campuses.
Cooperative Extension faculty will also give talks during the Alaska’s Land and Sea Lecture Series. All talks are in 201 O’Neill Building on the UAF campus in Fairbanks.