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Habitat and Ecological Processes Research

Ocean Acidification and EFH Research Funding for FY 2015

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Winter 2015
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Ocean Acidification Funding (Update)

The AFSC will receive about $368,135 to continue Ocean Acidification research in FY 2015, similar to the amount received last year. These new funds primarily will be used to conduct species-specific physiological research. The species-specific physiological response to ocean acidification is unknown for most marine species. Lacking basic knowledge, research will be directed toward several crab and fish taxa. The research will be conducted at the AFSC’s Kodiak and Newport Laboratories. Results also will be incorporated into population and bioeconomic models; this work will be completed by the Socioeconomics Assessment Program in Seattle. Principal investigators for these projects are Tom Hurst, Bob Foy, and Mike Dalton.

Unlike previous years, no funding was allocated towards coldwater coral studies; an experiment was proposed to the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program to start this year but no funding was awarded for this new research, which would have been the only ocean acidification research for coldwater coral conducted by NOAA. In addition, PMEL will receive an additional $200,003 in FY15 to support the Alaska observing activities directed by Jeremy Mathis which will be used to transition support for at least two of the four Alaska moorings maintained by PMEL on the eastern Bering Sea shelf and to support a FY15 coastal cruise conducted by PMEL in the Gulf of Alaska.  

Essential Fish Habitat Funding

The AFSC will receive about $494,000 for Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) research in FY 2015. Project selection for EFH research is based on research priorities from the Alaska Essential Fish Habitat Research Plan. Research priorities are:

  1. Characterize habitat utilization and productivity; increase the level of information available to describe and identify EFH; apply information from EFH studies at regional scales.
  2. Assess sensitivity, impact, and recovery of disturbed benthic habitat.
  3. Validate and improve habitat impacts model; begin to develop geographic-based database for offshore habitat data.
  4. Map the seafloor.
  5. Assess coastal and marine habitats facing development. 
Principal Investigators Titles Funding
Olson, Foy, Harris, Boswell Examining the effects of offshore marine mining activities on Norton Sound red king crab habitat - phase 2 $ 83,883
Rooper, Laman, Cooper Defining EFH for Alaska groundfish species, using species distribution modeling  $ 96,533
Zimmermann Bathymetry compilation: Eastern Bering Sea slope  $ 84,312
Pirtle, Shotwell, Rooper Improving based model EFH definitions for Gulf of Alaska groundfish species using combined species distribution models with high-resolution regional habitat metrics  $ 90,662
Ryer, Copeman, Laurel Optimal thermal habitats of FMP crab species in relation to the Bering Sea cold pool  $ 76,500
Total   $494,077


By Mike Sigler


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