Speaker: Dr. Robert Leaf, University of Southern Mississippi
Date: Friday, March 6, 2020
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Location: Dalton J. Woods Auditorium; LSU Energy, Coast & Environment Building
Lunch served for attendees.
Gulf Menhaden, Spotted Seatrout, and Blue Crab provision important recreational and commercial fisheries in Mississippi’s state waters and throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico. Our laboratory has been investigating the environmental and demographic characteristics that influences these fisheries and their associated productivity using a variety of quantitative methods. The population dynamics of each stock is subject to a variety of top-down and bottom-up forcing mechanisms and an understanding of these allows forecasting ability in the near and far term. We have found that spatial and temporal patterns of wind- and temperature influence the condition and oil content dynamics of Gulf Menhaden. Condition and oil content are of primary concern to the sustainability of the stock as well as to the Gulf Menhaden reduction fishery, whose primary concern is the oil content of the harvest as this is the highest value product of the fish. Spotted Seatrout have long been regarded as the most important recreational fishery target in Mississippi and there are continuing concerns about the long-term sustainability of the stock in and out of state. We have reported, using management strategy evaluation and stock assessment modeling, that effort restriction, educational efforts, and stock enhancement have variable impacts on stock status. The Blue Crab stock is a challenge to model, in a fishery context, and difficult to understand and define robust reference points because of the plasticity of growth and generally environmentally-determined vital rates. I will discuss my lab’s efforts to understand how these dynamics can be modeled and predicted in a quantitative and qualitative way to better inform management decisions.
Friday, March 6 at 11:30am to 12:30pm