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  • Groundfish Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Habitat Use Database (HUD)


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring FRAM - Groundfish Ecology


Groundfish Habitat Use DB
Groundfish Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Habitat Use Database (HUD)
The Habitat Use Database (HUD) was specifically designed to address the need for habitat-use analyses in support of groundfish EFH, HAPCs, and fishing and nonfishing impacts components of the 2005 EFH EIS.
HUD functionality and accessibility, and the ecological information upon which the HUD is based, will be improved in order for this database to fully support fisheries and ecosystem science and management. Upgrades to and applications of the HUD will be facilitated through a series of prioritized phases:

• Fully integrate the data entry, quality control, and reporting capabilities from the original HUD Access database with a web-based and programmatic interface. Improve software for HUD to accommodate the most current habitat maps and habitat classification codes. This will be achieved by NMFS in consultation with HUD architects at Oregon State University.

• Review and update the biological and ecological information in the HUD.

• Develop and apply improved models that will be used to create updated habitat suitability maps for all west coast groundfish species using the updated HUD and Pacific coast seafloor habitat maps.

• Integrate habitat suitability models with the online groundfish EFH data catalog

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.
Provide scientific support for the implementation of ecosystem-based management
Fisheries scientists and managers recognize the potential for ecosystem-based management to improve sustain the delivery of ecosystem goods and services, including sustainable fisheries resources. An Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) is one approach that examines all available information on relevant physical, chemical, ecological and human processes in relation to specified ecosystem management objectives. IEAs provide an efficient, transparent means of summarizing the status of ecosystem components, screening and prioritizing potential risks, and evaluating alternative management strategies against a backdrop of environmental variability. To perform IEAs of major ecosystems will require development of project components, including new and existing data, to develop a suite of indicators that characterize the ecosystem. Careful assessment of ecosystem indicators will provide a powerful means for assessing management efficacy and a basis for adapting and improving management practices. A major focus will be to produce the initial IEA of the California Current LME and then provide annual updates.
Understand how climate influences ecosystem variability
Effective ecosystem management will require an understanding of how climate variability and climate change will alter riverine, estuarine, and marine habitats and consequently how this will affect ecosystem status, function and recovery. Key research elements include better understanding of historical ecological variability through traditional (i.e., indigenous) sources, exploring the vulnerability of key species and biotic communities to expected habitat changes, including decreasing stream flow, increased flood frequency, increasing stream temperature, sea level rise, ocean acidification, shifts in ocean currents, and changed frequency and extent of deoxygenated zones. A secondary goal is to improve understanding of how ecosystems respond to year-to-year and decadal climate variability. Achieving these research goals will provide NOAA and state and local governments with the knowledge and tools needed to incorporate climate change and variability into management of living marine resources.


a structured set of data held in a computer, esp. one that is accessible in various ways
essential fish habitat
aquatic habitat where fish spawn, breed, feed, or grow to maturity.
habitat assessment
methods to improve habitat assessment


None associated


Class Actinopterygii
ray-finned fishes


Todd Hay
W. Wakefield
Principal Investigator