Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Ecological and cultural context of Pacific herring in the Salish Sea

Description

Pacific herring play a key role in the Puget Sound food web. This ecological role may depend on the maintenance of distinct spawning areas. These spawning areas are affected by drivers at the local- and basin-scale, which likely influence demographic rates such as mortality. Examining spatial differences in mortality may identify drivers and elucidate potential causes of shifts in biomass and age structure. We have developed a simple life history model in which mortality can vary either spatially or temporally. The model has a hierarchical structure in order to: 1) Explicitly estimate the degree of similarity in mortality rates across groups of herring populations and 2) Use available age and biomass data to estimate changes in mortality over time. We estimate high adult mortality rates, which correspond to a pattern of truncated age structure in Puget Sound. Estimated mortality varies spatially, with different mortality in different basins within Puget Sound. While recruitment is often considered the most important driver of herring population dynamics, we hypothesize that the mortality of older adults may play an important role in the population dynamics of herring in Puget Sound.

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Spatial variation in mortality among Puget Sound Pacific herring

2016SSEC

Pacific herring play a key role in the Puget Sound food web. This ecological role may depend on the maintenance of distinct spawning areas. These spawning areas are affected by drivers at the local- and basin-scale, which likely influence demographic rates such as mortality. Examining spatial differences in mortality may identify drivers and elucidate potential causes of shifts in biomass and age structure. We have developed a simple life history model in which mortality can vary either spatially or temporally. The model has a hierarchical structure in order to: 1) Explicitly estimate the degree of similarity in mortality rates across groups of herring populations and 2) Use available age and biomass data to estimate changes in mortality over time. We estimate high adult mortality rates, which correspond to a pattern of truncated age structure in Puget Sound. Estimated mortality varies spatially, with different mortality in different basins within Puget Sound. While recruitment is often considered the most important driver of herring population dynamics, we hypothesize that the mortality of older adults may play an important role in the population dynamics of herring in Puget Sound.