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Insights From a 12-Year Biophysical Time Series of Juvenile Pacific Salmon in Southeast Alaska: the Southeast Alaska Coastal Monitoring Project (SECM)

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5 salmon species
The five salmon species found in Southeast Alaska. Photo by Joe Orsi.

PACIFIC SALMON (Oncorhynchus spp.) occur throughout Alaska waters and have important linkages among freshwater, estuarine, and oceanic ecosystems. Although salmon in Alaska waters are primarily managed by the state of Alaska, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s 2006-2011 Strategic Plan addresses many issues related to salmon, such as their marine essential fish habitat, the migration of endangered stocks, the interactions of wild and hatchery stocks with respect to ocean carrying capacity, and the ecological interactions of salmonids with other species within the context of climate change.

Since 1997, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s (AFSC) Auke Bay Laboratories have maintained a study, the Southeast Alaska Coastal Monitoring (SECM) project, to develop time series of the biophysical data associated with juvenile salmon and their coastal ocean environment within Southeast Alaska and into the Gulf of Alaska. This time series enables ecosystem change to be measured and compared to variability in juvenile salmon dynamics and their subsequent year-class strength. This article describes the SECM research approach and presents key findings from this 12-year effort.


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