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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in GIS and Local Ecological Knowledge

Mapping the History of Fishing in Puget Sound

Fishing can change the spatial distribution of fish and invertebrate species through targeted removal of organisms from particular habitats, which may lead to population and community-level effects in marine ecosystems. Determining the spatial impacts of harvest on species with small home ranges is critical for their management and conservation. I interviewed more than 100 commercial and recreational fishers to document changes in people’s fishing patterns and practices in Puget Sound, Washington, since the 1950s. Fishers were asked to delineate areas in which they target or targeted rockfish, lingcod, salmon, Dungeness crab, and flatfishes for each decade of fishing in Puget Sound. Fishing maps generated by resource users will be used to: 1) Determine whether spatial distribution of effort has changed over time— Do people use different areas than they did in the past? Have fishing areas expanded or moved further offshore? and 2) Evaluate differences in spatial fishing effort among targeted species— Do we see differences in the extent, patchiness, or geographic centers of fishing areas between mobile species, like salmon, and sedentary species, like rockfish?
 
I am looking for a student research assistant to: 1) Scan and digitize paper fishing distribution maps; 2) Develop a GIS database of maps for spatial analysis; and 3) Write protocols for digitization and database development. The student will be encouraged to contribute to data analysis and synthesis of results.
 
Contact:
Anne Beaudreau, Assistant Professor
University of Alaska Fairbanks
School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
17101 Point Lena Loop Road
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 796-5454
abeaudreau@alaska.edu

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