[seminar]: Modeling the Distribution and Abundance of Ice-Associated Seals in the Arctic

Modeling the Distribution and Abundance of Ice-Associated Seals in the Arctic

Paul B. Conn
Research Statistician
Marine Mammal Laboratory, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA, USA

Affiliate Associate Professor
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Thursday, November 2, 2017 4:00 PM
Fishery Sciences Building, Room 102

info session for undergraduate academic programs related to marine & aquatic sciences hosted upstairs in FSH 203 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Abstract: Negative trends in seasonal Arctic sea-ice extent have prompted concern for the viability of ice-associated marine mammals.  For instance, bearded, ribbon, spotted, and ringed seals all depend on sea ice for molting, pupping, and rest; concerns about declining habitat have played prominently in recent listing decisions under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  To better understand the distribution and abundance of these species, NOAA scientists, in cooperation with Russian counterparts, have recently conducted wide ranging aerial surveys in the Bering, Chukchi, and Okhotsk Seas.  These surveys use infrared technology to detect heat signatures of seals basking on ice, and coordinated digital photographs to provide information on species identity.  Counts from these surveys provide information on distribution and abundance, provided that information on the detection process is taken into account (e.g. species misclassification, detection probability of the sensors, corrections for animals that are in the water).  In this talk, I summarize recent research in estimation of abundance and distribution of ice-associated seals using these, and other (e.g. satellite tagging), data.  Importantly, statistical modeling must take into account the spatial shifts in distributions that occur when surveys are conducted over long periods.

Bio: Paul holds a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Grinnell College, a Master’s degree in biomathematics from North Carolina State University, and a PhD in wildlife biology from Colorado

[seminar]: Lessons from Loowit: Changes to nutrient cycling and biological productivity in the new Spirit Lake

Lessons from Loowit: Changes to nutrient cycling and biological productivity in the new Spirit Lake

James E. Gawel
Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Engineering, School of interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington-Tacoma, Tacoma, WA, USA

Thursday, October 19, 2017 4:00 PM
Fishery Sciences Building, Room 102
no open advising in the FSH lobby this week, but drop-in advising available in FSH 116 – main office from 3:15-4:00 pm

Abstract: Spirit Lake was changed biologically, chemically and physically by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens and the concurrent landslide that essentially buried the old lake and created a new one in its place. Recent changes to the surrounding watershed, spurred by ever-increasing regrowth of terrestrial vegetation, continue to alter the biogeochemistry of Spirit Lake. This talk will outline over a decade of work developing a hydrologic and nutrient model for the lake and discuss preliminary work to elucidate the ecological role of the floating logs in Spirit Lake.

Bio: Dr. Jim Gawel is Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Engineering at the University of Washington Tacoma. Jim got his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Brown University with an emphasis in Environmental Problems and Planning, and his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT. He has been teaching and doing research with undergraduates at UW Tacoma for 18 years. Jim is also the President of the Washington Lake Protection Association (WALPA), and has been working with WALPA to develop a state-wide volunteer lake monitoring program. In his spare time he teaches rock climbing for the Mountaineers.

Shellfish club meeting – this Wednesday, 10/18, 5:30

Hi Bivalve Aficionados,

We hope you’ve all had a productive summer, and are getting back into the swing of things on campus. As the famous adage goes, “time and tide wait for no one,” so we are super excited to take advantage of the momentum we’ve got going in setting up the UW Shellfish Farm in just a few weeks!
We’ve got cages built, and thousands of baby oysters ready to be planted onto the beach at Big Beef Creek, so all we need is YOUR HELP. We’ll be holding a meeting this coming Wednesday, October 18th, at 5:30pm @ SAFS to coordinate our big field day, discuss upcoming oyster farm field trips, and to elect new officers for this academic year.
We hope you can join. There will be pizza.
Once again:
Wednesday, October 18th
Room TBD (either FSH or FTR) 
Tell your friends, and see you soon!
Dan, Laura, Megan, Ethen, & Grace (your executive committee)

[speaker]: Large whale satellite telemetry: A tool for determining habitat-use, distribution, and behavior of endangered whale populations.

Amy S. Kennedy, Ph D

Large whale satellite telemetry: A tool for determining habitat-use, distribution, and behavior of endangered whale populations.

Amy S. Kennedy, Ph D
JISAO and NOAA/NMFS/AFSC Marine Mammal Laboratory, Seattle, WA

Thursday, October 12, 2017 4:00 PM
Fishery Sciences Building, Room 102
Open advising – with guests from UW Study Abroad hosted in FSH lobby from 3:15-4:00 pm

Over the past decade, NOAA’s Marine Mammal Laboratory (MML) and JISAO scientists have partnered with local and international organizations to conduct satellite telemetry research on large whales in order to describe their fine-scale movement and habitat-use. In addition to ecological studies, projects detailing the physical and physiological effects of tagging on individuals and populations have been conducted. North Pacific right whales, humpbacks, and gray whales were tagged with the implantable configurations of SPOT5 and MK-10a transmitters produced by Wildlife Computers. The cylindrical tags are designed to penetrate the dorsal surface of the whale’s body and anchor in the blubber/muscle fascia. External components of the tag are made of surgical quality stainless steel and are sterilized prior to deployment. Results from these projects show that satellite telemetry is a powerful tool for collecting fine-scale movement data (particularly in remote areas) that cannot be obtained or predicted in any other manner. We found that while whales aggregate in well-known areas, there can be substantial individual movement variation within seasons. Results also show that whales are routinely crossing international borders, reinforcing the need for multinational collaboration when managing these endangered animals. Finally, our research has contributed greatly to improving tag designs and deployment techniques that minimize the physical impacts of tagging and maximize the longevity of transmission.


Dr. Amy Kennedy is a research scientist with JISAO at the Marine Mammal Marine Laboratory (a division of NOAA Fisheries) in Seattle, WA (USA). After receiving her doctorate from the University of Paris, Dr. Kennedy’s research goals have focused on telemetry-driven research and development, with emphasis on fine-scale cetacean habitat-use within high human impact regions and/or marine protected areas. Since she began tagging whales in 2009, she has deployed Argos-monitored implantable satellite tags (deployed using the Air Rocket Transmission System, ARTS) in humpback, right and gray whales in the Chukchi and Bering Seas, Gulf of Maine, Straits of Magellan, Dominican Republic, Arabian Sea, South Africa, Brazil, and the French West Indies. Dr. Kennedy’s current research focuses on using telemetry data to describe large whale habitat-use in breeding and feeding grounds.

[speaker]: The impact of density-dependent changes in individual life histories on marine population dynamics

The impact of density-dependent changes in individual life histories on marine population dynamics

André M. de Roos
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Thursday, October 5, 2017 4:00 PM
Fishery Sciences Building, Room 102
Open advising about undergraduate programs hosted in FSH lobby from 3:30-4:00 pm

Andre de Roos profile picture

Historically, models describing the dynamics and management of marine populations are based on assumptions that poorly reflect the ecology of and the complex interactions between individual organisms and their environment. For example, the most often used multi-species models of fish communities only take into account the negative effect of predator-prey relations between fish species, that is, the mortality impact on the prey, but ignore the benefits of predation, the increase in mass of the predator. With an increasing demand for ecosystem based management this discrepancy between the models and the ecology becomes important to address. In this presentation I review how current fisheries models account for ecological processes. Subsequently, I will introduce a class of size-structured population models based on individual energetics that explicitly account for ecological interactions of individual fish. Analysis of models of this kind will be shown to not only increase our understanding of the mechanisms shaping fish community dynamics, but also make counterintuitive predictions about the outcome of fisheries management strategies. More specifically, it will be shown how intermediate levels of harvesting prey fish may promote rather than demote persistence of piscivores. Lastly, I will show how the same type of size-structured population models based on individual energetics can also be applied more generally, for example, to explain the persistent population oscillations that have been observed in Antarctic krill.


Bio: André de Roos’ research focuses on the relationship between individual life history and the dynamics of populations and communities. Whereas the main body of theory concerning population dynamics and community structure is based on the analysis of unstructured, Lotka-Volterra type population dynamic models, which ignore differences between individuals altogether, the defining feature of biological organisms is that they grow and develop throughout their life from the moment they are born till the moment they die. In between these individuals might reproduce, but the majority generally does not. Hence, after mortality ontogenetic development and growth in body size can be considered the most prominent life history processes, which furthermore commonly results in individuals playing a different ecological role in the different stages of their life history. Using a special class of physiologically structured population models, André de Roos theoretically explores the often counter-intuitive effects of density dependence in ontogenetic development on the dynamics and structure of marine communities.