NSF GRIP NOAA Opportunity Position
Project title: Pacific Salmon Ecology Research
Hypothesis or objectives: The Salmon Ocean Ecology Team at the SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division in Santa Cruz CA conducts research on California salmonid populations to better understand the biological requirements for subarctic fish species that have adapted to life in a Mediterranean climate. This research is driven by the need to ensure sustainable harvest of stocks managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management act as well as to understand what the limiting factors are for stocks whose populations have declined to the point of being listed by the Endangered Species Act. Our research is primarily field orientated and benefits from a unique perspective of being able to conduct comparative studies on salmon ecology across most of California’s salmon habitats from the largest inland rivers to the smallest coastal streams. We also gain invaluable insight by studying salmon through many of their life stages from their early riverine origins in headwater streams to their estuaries and the near shore coastal ocean from Central Oregon to Central California. Through collaborations with other NMFS teams, universities, and government agencies, our studies cross as many disciplines and methods as they do habitats. Our program addresses a range of questions across these habitats from survival, growth and movement rates to predator-prey food web dynamics and physiology. Studies range from understanding the challenges of living in a warm climate to studying how anthropogenic stressors like habitat alterations, water diversions, climate change and invasive species are limiting stocks.
Duration: 3 - 12 months
Area(s) of discipline: Aquaculture, Biology, Climate Change, Ecology, Environmental Science Studies, Environmental Water Quality, Fisheries Science, Genetics, Hydrology, Living Marine Resources, Marine And Aquatic Sciences, Natural Resource Management, Oceanography, Zoology
Internship location: Santa Cruz, CA
Duties and responsibilities: Graduate students will have a range of opportunities to choose from. Work can be empirically driven field studies to quantitative modeling efforts on coordinated with field results. There are three main topical areas of research 1. Telemetry based (acoustic and PIT tag) Survival and outmigration studies of Pacific salmon stocks from west coast rivers 2. Focused food web, habitat and predator/prey studies on stocks where specific regions have been identified as limiting salmon populations 3. Ocean ecology of California salmon stocks that utilize results from ongoing ocean trawl surveys of salmon in the California Current integrated with remotely sensed data from satellite and other sources to assess stock specific distribution, growth, survival, and habitat use relative to top down community pressure and bottom up oceanographic and prey influences.
Special skills/training required: Our program attracts a range of students with backgrounds and interests. We are interested in people with river small boat skills and telemetry backgrounds, experience working on large oceanographic ships, laboratory based physiology interests and GIS mapping, Matlab and statistical modeling backgrounds.
Expected outcomes: Ideally a student would integrate into the larger team and take on a project that contributes to our larger mission goals, while providing products for their thesis.
Point of contact (Mentor): Sean, Hayes
Organization: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
Program office: SWFSC FED
Mailing address: 110 Shaffer Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone number: 831-420-3937
Fax number: 831-420-3977
Co-Mentor name: ---
Co-Mentor email: ---
Co-Mentor gency or organization: ---
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