How fish larvae get from where they are born to where they settle and grow is a perplexing yet important question in fisheries management and marine reserve design. My research examines how ocean currents, particularly nearshore currents and upwelling, affect dispersal of larval rockfish (genus Sebastes), which support an economically important nearshore groundfish fishery in the northeast Pacific. My research will take place in the Marine Reserves and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along the Oregon Coast, and in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in Washington. I aim to determine how larval transport affects populations, genetic diversity and connectivity among marine reserves, and whether there is a detectable spillover effect from reserves into non-reserve areas. I will also develop oceanography-based larval dispersal models to inform fisheries management and marine reserves design. This project will enhance our ability to conserve coastal resources, and hopefully improve the marine reserve design process.
Alex Avila, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University
Scott A. Heppell, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University