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  • Movement and habitat use patterns of top predators and keystone species in the benthic food web.


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Conservation Biology CB - Ecosystem Science


Groundfish Movement
Movement and habitat use patterns of top predators and keystone species in the benthic food web.
We have been using and continue to use acoustic telemetry methods to monitor the movement behavior and define habitat use of groundfish species in and out of Puget Sound waters. Detections of individual fishes has been collected at small and large scales over short and long term periods. We have data on sixgill and sevengill sharks, spiny dogfish, lingcod, copper, quillback, yellowtail and black rockfish, and spotted ratfish. These data are being used to describe the spatio-temporal patterns of behaviors expressed by top predators and other important members of the groundfish community in Puget Sound and along the West Coast. We intend for this information to inform the strength of inter- and intra-specific interactions quantified by ecosystem-scale models as well as the development of models used to determine the efficacy of spatial management strategies such as Marine Protected Areas. This has been a research topic since 2003, and will continue with work on listed species such as yelloweye and canary rockfish.

Research Themes

Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
The California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, Puget Sound and the Columbia River Basin are home to a wide range of freshwater and marine resources that provide a wealth of ecosystem goods and services. Ensuring the resiliency and productivity of the California Current and Pacific Northwest ecosystems requires an integrated understanding of their structure, function, and vulnerability to increased human population growth in coastal communities and competing uses of coastal waterways and oceans. The NWFSC‘s approach to understanding these large ecosystems integrates studies across ecosystems (terrestrial, freshwater, and marine) and scientific disciplines to inform resource managers responsible for conserving marine resources.

Research Foci

Characterize ecological interactions (e.g. predation, competition, parasitism, disease, etc.) within and among species
Predator-prey interactions, inter- and intra-specific competition, and parasites and pathogens influence the survival, growth, and reproductive success of anadromous and marine fishes, marine mammals and other marine organisms. Moreover, anthropogenic stressors, such as pollution and fishing, can influence these interactions. Because of the complex nature of these interactions, addressing questions about ecological interactions will require novel field and laboratory studies and analyses. This includes ecosystem models, use of innovative technologies (e.g., otolith microchemistry and stable isotopes), integration of sample collection efforts with those of the Ocean Observing System entities on the west coast, and quantifying interactions among environmental stressors, species behavior and ecosystem processes.


Puget Sound
Puget Sound
acoustic tags
acoustic tags
animal movement
demersal fish
near-bottom species
home range
home range/movement
Ophiodon elongatus
marine reserves
marine protected areas


None associated


Species Hexanchus griseus
bluntnose sixgill shark, six-gill shark, six-gilled shark, sixgill shark
Species Hydrolagus colliei
ratfish, spotted ratfish
Species Notorynchus cepedianus
broadnose sevengill shark, sevengill shark
Species Ophiodon elongatus
Species Sebastes caurinus
copper rockfish
Species Sebastes flavidus
yellowtail rockfish
Species Sebastes maliger
quillback rockfish
Species Sebastes melanops
black rockfish
Species Squalus acanthias
picked dogfish, picky dog, piked dogfish, spiny dogfish, spurdog


Chris Harvey
Internal Collaborator
Gregory Williams
Jameal Samhouri
Kelly Andrews
Principal Investigator
Nick Tolimieri