Project Title: AKCSI Project 3. Red tree coral growth, recruitment, and recovery from fishing disturbance
Project Summary

The research will use a combination of field surveys, and ecosystem modeling techniques to evaluate recovery potential of high-density Primnoa thickets in the Gulf of Alaska. Field surveys will estimate coral biomass through visual means, using a stereo-camera mounted on an ROV or submersible. Addition of a stereo camera to the ROV or submersible will allow us to collect the data necessary to complete the project on the same dives and transects will be used as in Project #1 at little additional cost. Profiles of colony size-class structure at all sites will be examined in relation to their history of fishing status (e.g. some sites have been closed to bottom trawling since 1996, others have been closed to all fishing activities since 2007). Two additional days of vessel and ROV or submersible time will be allotted for deployment of settlement plates at four sites in Year 2. These will be recovered in Year 3 and hopefully in future years if funding permits. Recruitment to settlement plates, published growth rates, and size-class structure will be used to infer recovery rates of the Primnoa habitat. Recovery rates will then feed into computer simulations of coral recruitment and mortality using Ecopath with Ecosim modeling software. The computer simulations will seek to identify the maximum level of fishing intensity to sustain size class structure in a Primnoa thicket. This project would piggy-back with Project 1 in 2013 and 2014.

Anticipated Management Application(s)

One of the most important priorities identified for coral research in Alaska in the September 2010 DSC Workshop, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the EFH-EIS is to determine the growth and recovery rates of coral populations in the presence of fishing activity. This project seeks to understand the resilience of Primnoa pacifica thickets to bottom contact fishing gear in order to answer the question "what is a sustainable level of mortality for Primnoa pacifica in Alaska?"

Location(s):
  • Gulf of Alaska
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NOS NCCOS
Project Title: AKCSI Project 3. Red tree coral growth, recruitment, and recovery from fishing disturbance
Methods/Approach

The research will use a combination of field surveys, and ecosystem modeling techniques to evaluate recovery potential of high-density Primnoa thickets in the Gulf of Alaska. Field surveys will estimate coral biomass through visual means, using a stereo-camera mounted on an ROV or submersible. Addition of a stereo camera to the ROV or submersible will allow us to collect the data necessary to complete the project on the same dives and transects will be used as in Project #1 at little additional cost. Profiles of colony size-class structure at all sites will be examined in relation to their history of fishing status (e.g. some sites have been closed to bottom trawling since 1996, others have been closed to all fishing activities since 2007). Two additional days of vessel and ROV or submersible time will be allotted for deployment of settlement plates at four sites in Year 2. These will be recovered in Year 3 and hopefully in future years if funding permits. Recruitment to settlement plates, published growth rates, and size-class structure will be used to infer recovery rates of the Primnoa habitat. Recovery rates will then feed into computer simulations of coral recruitment and mortality using Ecopath with Ecosim modeling software. The computer simulations will seek to identify the maximum level of fishing intensity to sustain size class structure in a Primnoa thicket. This project would piggy-back with Project 1 in 2013 and 2014.

Project Results and Management Outcomes  None Defined
Project Title: AKCSI Project 3. Red tree coral growth, recruitment, and recovery from fishing disturbance
Internal References:
  •  None Defined
 
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