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Honolulu, HI, United States

Heenan A.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Williams I.D.,Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Resilience-based management aims to promote or protect processes and species that underpin an ecosystem's capacity to withstand and recover from disturbance. The management of ecological processes is a developing field that requires reliable indicators that can be monitored over time. Herbivory is a key ecological process on coral reefs, and pooling herbivorous fishes into functional groups based on their feeding mode is increasingly used as it may quantify herbivory in ways that indicate resilience. Here we evaluate whether the biomass estimates of these herbivore functional groups are good predictors of reef benthic assemblages, using data from 240 sites from five island groups in American Samoa. Using an information theoretic approach, we assembled a candidate set of linear and nonlinear models to identify the relations between benthic cover and total herbivore and non-herbivore biomass and the biomass of the aforementioned functional groups. For each benthic substrate type considered (encrusting algae, fleshy macroalgae, hard coral and turf algae), the biomass of herbivorous fishes were important explanatory variables in predicting benthic cover, whereas biomass of all fishes combined generally was not. Also, in all four cases, variation in cover was best explained by the biomass of specific functional groups rather than by all herbivores combined. Specifically: 1) macroalgal and turf algal cover decreased with increasing biomass of 'grazers/detritivores'; and 2) cover of encrusting algae increased with increasing biomass of 'grazers/ detritivores' and browsers. Furthermore, hard coral cover increased with the biomass of large excavators/bio-eroders (made up of large-bodied parrotfishes). Collectively, these findings emphasize the link between herbivorous fishes and the benthic community and demonstrate support for the use of functional groups of herbivores as indicators for resilience-based monitoring.

Poisson F.,French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea | Gaertner J.C.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Taquet M.,Center du Pacifique | Durbec J.P.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Bigelow K.,Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
Fishery Bulletin | Year: 2010

Commercial longline fishing data were analyzed and experiments were conducted with gear equipped with hook timers and time-depth recorders in the Reunion Island fishery (21°5'S lat., 53°28'E long.) to elucidate direct and indirect effects of the lunar cycle and other operational factors that affect catch rates, catch composition, fish behavior, capture time, and fish survival. Logbook data from 1998 through 2000, comprising 2009 sets, indicated that swordfish (Xiphias gladius) catch-per unit of effort (CPUE) increased during the first and last quarter of the lunar phase, whereas albacore (Thunnus alalunga) CPUE was highest during the full moon. Swordfish were caught rapidly after the longline was set and, like bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), they were caught during days characterized by a weak lunar illumination-mainly during low tide. We found a significant but very low influence of chemical lightsticks on CPUE and catch composition. At the time the longline was retrieved, six of the 11 species in the study had >40% survival. Hook timers indicated that only 8.4% of the swordfish were alive after 8 hours of capture, and two shark species (blue shark [Prionace glauca] and oceanic whitetip shark [Carcharhinus longimanus]) showed a greater resilience to capture: 29.3% and 23.5% were alive after 8 hours, respectively. Our results have implications for current fishing practices and we comment on the possibilities of modifying fishing strategies in order to reduce operational costs, bycatch, loss of target fish at sea, and detrimental impacts on the environment.

Brodziak J.,Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center | Piner K.,Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences | Year: 2010

We show how model averaging can be applied to estimate the probable status of a fishery resource under assessment scenario uncertainty. This approach is applied to North Pacific striped marlin (Tetrapturus audax), an apex predator that may be vulnerable to recruitment overfishing in pelagic longline fisheries targeting tunas. In the current striped marlin assessment, two assessment scenarios were used to account for different hypotheses about the steepness of the stock-recruitment dynamics. Estimates of spawning stock and recruitment from these scenarios are used post hoc to fit age-structured production models that represent alternative hypotheses about the degree of compensation in stock-recruitment dynamics and the degree of serial correlation of environmental forcing. Model-averaged estimates of target spawning biomass to produce maximum sustainable yield (SMSY) and the associated limit fishing mortality (FMSY) characterize relative stock status (S/SMSY and F/FMSY) under each scenario. Scenario-weighted averages of relative status determine probable stock status, with weightings reflecting the credibility of each scenario. Estimates of the variance of probable status account for both model selection and assessment scenario uncertainty in risk analyses. Using model averaging to estimate probable stock status from multiple assessment scenarios is analogous to using ensemble averages from multiple predictive models to make weather forecasts.

Goldbogen J.A.,2181 2 W. 4th Ave. | Calambokidis J.,2181 2 W. 4th Ave. | Croll D.A.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Mckenna M.F.,University of California at San Diego | And 6 more authors.
Functional Ecology | Year: 2012

Diving capacity generally increases with body size both within and among taxanomic groups because of the differential scaling between body oxygen stores and metabolic rate. Despite being some of the largest animals of all time, rorqual whales exhibit very short dive times relative to other large divers because of the high energetic costs incurred during lunge feeding. This mode of filter feeding requires high drag for the engulfment of large volumes of prey-laden water, and the magnitude of both drag and engulfment volume is largely determined by the size and shape of the skull. The positive allometry of rorqual skulls increases mass-specific engulfment capacity in larger whales, but the energetic requirements of feeding are also predicted to increase and thus further limit diving capacity. To test the hypothesis that the energetic cost of a lunge is disproportionately higher in larger rorquals, we compared diving and lunge-feeding performance among three different-sized species (blue, fin and humpback whales) foraging on krill. Our hydrodynamic analyses indicate that the mass-specific energy expenditure will increase with body size if rorquals lunge at length-specific speeds (in body lengths per second) that are independent of body size, a condition that is supported by tag data. Although the absolute time required to filter each volume of water increased with body size, maximum dive duration and depth were not significantly different among species. As a consequence, the maximum number of lunges executed per dive decreased with body size. 7. These data suggest that, unlike all other true divers, adult rorqual species do not exhibit a positive relationship between body size and diving capacity. Larger rorquals forfeit diving capacity for greater engulfment capacity, a trade-off that favours the efficient exploitation of patchily dense prey aggregations. Such a trade-off may underlie different foraging strategies associated with resource partitioning, life history and ecological niche. © 2011 The Authors. Functional Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society.

Monnahan C.C.,University of Washington | Branch T.A.,University of Washington | Stafford K.M.,University of Washington | Ivashchenko Y.V.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were exploited extensively around the world and remain endangered. In the North Pacific their population structure is unclear and current status unknown, with the exception of a well-studied eastern North Pacific (ENP) population. Despite existing abundance estimates for the ENP population, it is difficult to estimate preexploitation abundance levels and gauge their recovery because historical catches of the ENP population are difficult to separate from catches of other populations in the North Pacific. We collated previously unreported Soviet catches and combined these with known catches to form the most current estimates of North Pacific blue whale catches. We split these conflated catches using recorded acoustic calls from throughout the North Pacific, the knowledge that the ENP population produces a different call than blue whales in the western North Pacific (WNP). The catches were split by estimating spatiotemporal occurrence of blue whales with generalized additive models fitted to acoustic call patterns, which predict the probability a catch belonged to the ENP population based on the proportion of calls of each population recorded by latitude, longitude, and month. When applied to the conflated historical catches, which totaled 9,773, we estimate that ENP blue whale catches totaled 3,411 (95% range 2,593 to 4,114) from 1905-1971, and amounted to 35% (95% range 27% to 42%) of all catches in the North Pacific. Thus most catches in the North Pacific were for WNP blue whales, totaling 6,362 (95% range 5,659 to 7,180). The uncertainty in the acoustic data influence the results substantially more than uncertainty in catch locations and dates, but the results are fairly insensitive to the ecological assumptions made in the analysis. The results of this study provide information for future studies investigating the recovery of these populations and the impact of continuing and future sources of anthropogenic mortality.

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