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Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling Program

Fish Stomach Collection and Lab Analysis

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During the first quarter of 2013, Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling (REEM) program staff analyzed the contents of 1,701 groundfish stomachs.  The majority of these samples were from 26 species sampled from the Chukchi Sea, and 6 species were from the northern Bering Sea.  Most of the small crustacean prey (e.g., euphausiids, hyperiid amphipods, gammarid amphipods, mysids, and calanoid copepods) were identified to species whenever their condition allowed.  Stomach contents from four species of groundfish sampled in Marmot Bay, Alaska (Gulf of Alaska region) were also analyzed.  In total, these stomach content analyses resulted in 1,703 records being added to the AFSC Groundfish Food Habits database.  In preparation for stable isotope analysis, 55 muscle and liver tissue samples from Alaskan groundfish were ground, and 58 tissue samples were tinned in preparation for gas isotope-ratio mass spectroscopy.  This ongoing project provides additional information on long-term integration of energy transfer in Alaska’s marine foodwebs.  Analysis of flatfish stomach contents and benthic grab samples for the Flatfish Essential Fish Habitat project are also ongoing.

Fisheries observers collected 1,179 stomach samples from three species collected in the eastern Bering Sea and from 14 arrowtooth flounder collected in the Aleutian Islands region.  In preparation for future stomach sampling by fisheries observers, REEM staff assembled 46 stomach collection kits and delivered them to 23 commercial fishing vessels in the Seattle-Tacoma area.  REEM personnel trained new fisheries observers on stomach sampling procedures and instructed them on how the samples are analyzed and the data are used.

REEM staff participated in several outreach activities this quarter.  Activities in the lab included hosting a job-shadow for a local high school student and providing presentations and tours of the Food Habits Laboratory for a class of new fisheries observers and for the MIMSUP (Multicultural Initiative in the Marine Science Undergraduate Participation) program from the Western Washington University.  Monthly presentations about marine life in Alaskan waters are given at the Sunshine Garden Senior Center.  The Food Habits Laboratory display and hands-on activity were very popular with children, teens, and adults at the Pacific Science Center’s Polar Science Weekend held 28 February through 3 March 2013.

By Troy Buckley, Geoff Lang, Mei-Sun Yang, Richard Hibpshman, Kimberly Sawyer, Caroline Robinson and Sean Rohan


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