Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Ecology and Environmental Sciences

Advisor

Yong Chen

Second Committee Member

Huijie Xue

Third Committee Member

David Townsend

Additional Committee Members

David Hiebeler

Deborah Hart

Abstract

The Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) supports a highly valuable fishery in the United States over its range on the Northwest Atlantic Shelf. Scallop distribution has been shown to be highly affected by changes in climactic variables. Therefore, long-term changes in the thermal regime of the Gulf of Maine are expected to greatly impact scallop ecology; however, these projected changes have rarely been quantified. The modeling framework developed for my dissertation research will improve our understanding of the distribution of scallop habitat as well as the biogeography for this species. Additionally, this modeling capacity will provide several tangible tools to visualize species distribution over space and time as well as to evaluate potential impacts of a changing Gulf of Maine ecosystem.

The framework for my dissertation research is comprised of 1) a bioclimate envelope covering the Gulf of Maine to quantify spatiotemporal variability in scallop habitat; 2) a statistical species distribution model to predict spatiotemporal changes in scallop distribution in the Gulf of Maine; 3) the design of a dredge survey in the Northern Gulf of Maine to obtain scallop biomass estimates; and 4) a two-stage modeling and computer simulation framework to refine fisheries surveys.

Due to changing oceanographic conditions within the Gulf of Maine ecosystem it is becoming increasingly important to view resource management from within the context of climate change. Effective management of marine resources requires knowledge of population distribution and dynamics, however; fisheries managers must frequently base decisions on limited information. The modeling framework developed in my dissertation establishes the ability to better visualize sea scallop distribution as well as to evaluate the potential impacts of a changing ecosystem on this species. The results provided by this research increase the extent of knowledge about sea scallop ecology and have the potential to contribute to the conservation of this species. Additionally, the modeling approaches developed throughout my dissertation are highly generalizable to a variety of commercially important species and may be useful in advising conservation efforts for other fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic to help ensure the implementation of adaptive management strategies under uncertain climate conditions.

Comments

The Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) supports a highly valuable fishery in the United States over its range on the Northwest Atlantic Shelf. Scallop distribution has been shown to be highly affected by changes in climactic variables. Therefore, long-term changes in the thermal regime of the Gulf of Maine are expected to greatly impact scallop ecology; however, these projected changes have rarely been quantified. The modeling framework developed for my dissertation research will improve our understanding of the distribution of scallop habitat as well as the biogeography for this species. Additionally, this modeling capacity will provide several tangible tools to visualize species distribution over space and time as well as to evaluate potential impacts of a changing Gulf of Maine ecosystem. The framework for my dissertation research is comprised of 1) a bioclimate envelope covering the Gulf of Maine to quantify spatiotemporal variability in scallop habitat; 2) a statistical species distribution model to predict spatiotemporal changes in scallop distribution in the Gulf of Maine; 3) the design of a dredge survey in the Northern Gulf of Maine to obtain scallop biomass estimates; and 4) a two-stage modeling and computer simulation framework to refine fisheries surveys. Due to changing oceanographic conditions within the Gulf of Maine ecosystem it is becoming increasingly important to view resource management from within the context of climate change. Effective management of marine resources requires knowledge of population distribution and dynamics, however; fisheries managers must frequently base decisions on limited information. The modeling framework developed in my dissertation establishes the ability to better visualize sea scallop distribution as well as to evaluate the potential impacts of a changing ecosystem on this species. The results provided by this research increase the extent of knowledge about sea scallop ecology and have the potential to contribute to the conservation of this species. Additionally, the modeling approaches developed throughout my dissertation are highly generalizable to a variety of commercially important species and may be useful in advising conservation efforts for other fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic to help ensure the implementation of adaptive management strategies under uncertain climate conditions.

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