Past projects

Anne’s Postdoctoral Research (2009-2011)

Perceptions of change in Puget Sound: Documenting historical trends in marine species abundance from local ecological knowledge

Opening Day Friday Harbor 2004_photo by Anne Beaudreau

Fishermen show off their lingcod on opening day in Friday Harbor, 2004. Photo by Anne Beaudreau.

Abstract: In Puget Sound, historical information on the ecology and population biology of many marine species is scarce or of limited quality. Incomplete historical records inhibit our ability to understand past changes in fish and invertebrate populations, evaluate the efficacy of current fishery management and conservation measures, and make predictions about what the marine ecosystem might look like in the future. However, the expertise of fishers, divers, and researchers can contribute a stronger baseline of information for marine species in Puget Sound. This study was designed to develop a historical record of bottomfish and crab populations in Puget Sound using local ecological knowledge. The primary objectives were to 1) reconstruct trends in Puget Sound marine populations since ca. 1940 using expert knowledge collected from interviews with fishers, divers, and researchers; 2) assess agreement between scientific data and local knowledge; and 3) evaluate variation in people’s perceptions of changes in species abundance related to their age or years of experience and expertise in the marine environment. We also used participatory mapping to document shifts in fishing areas to generate a more complete understanding of how the Puget Sound ecosystem has changed over time.

Detailed research summary

  • Research team: Anne Beaudreau (PI / Postdoc); Phil Levin (co-PI); Karma Norman, Emily Whitney (Collaborators)
  • Organizations: NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, University of Washington, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Funders: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fidalgo Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers Association, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Publications: Beaudreau et al. 2011, Beaudreau & Levin 2014, Beaudreau & Whitney 2016. Related: Sawchuk et al. 2015. Click here for full citations. Press: NOAA

Climate effects on fish communities and fisheries along the U.S. west coast

Abstract: Climate variability and long-term ocean warming have altered the distributions of marine species worldwide.  Thus, understanding how the spatial structure of harvested fish populations will change under future climate scenarios is a key concern of fishery managers.  Furthermore, identifying whether fish species with similar ecological characteristics respond similarly to ocean-climate conditions will help facilitate rapid, qualitative assessments of the potential vulnerability of different groups of fishes to future climate change.  This study integrated geostatistical approaches and generalized linear mixed effects models to quantify the distributional responses of demersal fish species to multiple scales of ocean-climate variability over the last decade in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME).  We focused on an ecologically diverse subset (24 spp.) of >90 groundfish species caught in CCLME trawl surveys to address the hypothesis that biological responses to ocean-climate conditions are related to species’ life history and behavioral characteristics.  Local environmental variables (e.g., sea surface temperature, SST; chlorophyll concentration, chl-a) were important predictors of occurrence for all species.  Species showing positive relationships with SST and chl-a had significantly shallower distributions, smaller maximum size, and were more sedentary than those whose occurrence varied inversely with temperature and chlorophyll.  The importance of interannual climate variability was related to age, with earlier maturing and shorter-lived species showing more sensitivity to upwelling and El Nino Southern Oscillation anomalies.  Importantly, distribution shifts showed 3-5 year lagged responses to ocean-climate conditions.  Our results suggest that species showing stronger distributional responses to ocean-climate conditions were smaller sized, earlier-maturing, and shorter-lived.

  • Research team: Anne Beaudreau (Postdoc), Phil Levin (PI), Blake Feist (Collaborator)
  • Organization: NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center
  • Funders: NOAA / National Research Council
  • Publications: Beaudreau 2011 (technical report). Click here for full citation.

Effects of hypoxia on food webs and fisheries in Hood Canal, Washington

Tagged crab_photo by Anne Beaudreau

Acoustic transmitters (“tags”), each with its own unique ping pattern, identify individual Dungeness crabs. We used super glue to attach the tags to the backs of male crabs. These tags were shed along with the old shell when the crabs molted. Photo by Anne Beaudreau.

Abstract: Low dissolved oxygen in marine environments, termed hypoxia, is a growing threat to estuaries worldwide due to urbanization and anthropogenic eutrophication. Over the past two decades, the intensity and extent of seasonal hypoxia has been increasing in Hood Canal, a deep fjord forming the western basin of Puget Sound in Washington State. Little is known about the impacts of hypoxia on marine communities in this region, including changes in the distribution or behavior of mobile marine organisms. In this study, we investigated the distributional responses of English sole and Dungeness crabs to hypoxia in Hood Canal. Do animals avoid hypoxic conditions by moving into new habitats or depths? How do changes in the distribution of mobile organisms affect the structure and dynamics of the marine community as a whole? To answer these questions, we used acoustic telemetry to monitor the movements of individually tagged flatfish and crabs. In addition, we conducted underwater camera surveys to evaluate changes in nearshore fish and invertebrate assemblages.

  • Research team: Halley Froehlich (PhD student), Anne Beaudreau (Postdoc), Timothy Essington (PI), Phil Levin (co-PI)
  • Organizations: University of Washington, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center
  • Funders: National Science Foundation, University of Washington, Washington Sea Grant
  • Publications: Froehlich et al. 2014, Froehlich et al. 2015. Click here for full citations.

Physiological indices of growth in lingcod

A lingcoddity: Blood plasma tends to be straw colored for most animals. To our surprise, lingcod plasma ranged in color from yellow-orange to green and brilliant teal! The shade of plasma reflected the underlying skin tone of each fish, which varies among individuals.

Abstract: The physiological response of fish to their environment originates in the endocrine axis controlling growth. Therefore, growth-regulating hormone levels can serve as ecologically-relevant indicators of fish growth rate. We quantified variation in plasma insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) to inform its use as an indicator of growth in lingcod, an economically and ecologically important bottomfish species in the Northeast Pacific. We used an information-theoretic model selection approach to test the hypothesis that variation in lingcod IGF-I is related to season, body size, and gonadal steroid concentration. Season and a length x season interaction were the most important predictors of plasma IGF-I among the variables we evaluated, suggesting that season and body size should be explicitly accounted for when interpreting endocrine patterns in wild fish populations. This is one of few studies that have measured and interpreted patterns of IGF-I in wild fish and the first to describe the environmental endocrinology of lingcod.

  • Research team: Anne Beaudreau (Postdoc); Brian Beckman (PI); Kelly Andrews (co-PI); Don Larsen, Phil Levin, Greg Williams, Graham Young (Collaborators)
  • Organization: NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center
  • Funders: University of Washington, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
  • Publications: Andrews et al. 2011, Beaudreau et al. 2011. Click here for full citations.


Anne’s Doctoral Research (2003-2009)

The predatory role of lingcod in nearshore rocky reef ecosystems

Anne's 34 pounder_photo by Aaron Dufault

Anne and her 34-pound female lingcod, caught in the San Juan Islands. Photo by Aaron Dufault.

Abstract: Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) are top predators in rocky reefs on the northeast Pacific continental shelf and are harvested in commercial and recreational fisheries along the west coast of North America. My dissertation investigated the feeding ecology of lingcod to better understand the role that predation and fishing play in structuring temperate rocky reef ecosystems. This work contributed important fundamental information on lingcod diets, consumption rates, and foraging ecology. Quantifiable differences in lingcod diets, abundance, and size-structure across rocky reef habitats separated by less than ten kilometers suggests that the structure of rocky reef communities, and the ecological effects of fishing and predation, may vary over small spatial scales. Understanding the connectivity of fragmented habitats is therefore critically important for effective management and conservation of demersal rocky reef species.

  • Research team: Anne Beaudreau (PhD student), Timothy Essington (PI)
  • Organization: University of Washington
  • Funders: ARCS Foundation, National Science Foundation, University of Washington
  • Publications: Beaudreau & Essington 2007, Beaudreau & Essington 2009, Beaudreau & Essington 2011. Click here for full citations.

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