This version of the Puget Sound Science Update provides an initial evaluation of food web indicators, but is not intended to be comprehensive. Highlights include the evaluation of individual species or species complexes as food web indicators due to their key functional roles (e.g., forage fish, jellyfish), and the identification of existing data sources for assessing food web structure and function at Washington State agencies and via satellite.
Find content specifically related to fishes of the Puget Sound and Salish Sea ecosystems. For checklists and descriptive accounts of individual species, visit our species library. The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound will also be creating additional pages and sections related to salmon recovery in the region. For a general overview of salmonids, visit the Encyclopedia's Puget Sound Science Review.
This version of the Puget Sound Science Update provides an initial evaluation of species indicators, but is not intended to be comprehensive. Focal species identified by O’Neill et al. (2008) were evaluated as either measures of population size or population condition. Many of these were identified as potentially good species indicators, and several may be relevant to key attributes of the other PSP goals (e.g., habitat condition).
Brown Rockfish (Sebastes auriculatus). Image courtesy of NOAA.
Bentho-pelagic fish utilize both demersal (bottom) habitats and shallower portion of the water column, often as part of diel migrations whereby fish feed in shallow water at night and move to deeper water to form schools during the day. Four currently or historically important species of bentho-pelagic fish in Puget Sound are the Pacific hake (Merluccius productus), the Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), the Walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) and the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). Three of these species (Pacific hake, Pacific cod and Walleye pollock) were included in a petition for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act in 1999.
Forage fishes are small schooling fishes that form a critical link in the marine food web between zooplankton and larger fish and wildlife consumers. They occupy every marine and estuarine nearshore habitat in Washington, and much of the intertidal and shallow subtidal areas of the Puget Sound Basin are used by these species for spawning habitat. Status of forage fish populations can be an indicator of the health and productivity of nearshore systems (PSP 2009). Information on forage fish life history, distribution, and habitat preferences is summarized in Marine Forage Fishes of Puget Sound (Penttila 2007) and the Forage Fish Management Plan (Bargmann 1998).
Editor's Note: This section is in outline form except for the Discussion of Harvest Management
2. Salmon and steelhead protection and restoration
A. Life-history-based restoration
B. ESA restoration vs. full, optimum production
C. The 4-H approach
1. Potential Strategies: Habitats
Tim Essington1, Terrie Klinger2, Tish Conway-Cranos1,2, Joe Buchanan3, Andy James4, Jessi Kershner1, Ilon Logan2, and Jim West3
By Christopher A. Curran, Christopher S. Magirl, and Jeffrey J. Duda
[Editor's note: This global review on seabird bycatch in gillnet fisheries has some similarities for the Salish Sea, where bycatch may be down due to reduced gillnet fisheries. However, better data are needed to quantify the impact to diving birds in the Salish Sea.]
The incidental catch of seabirds in gillnet fisheries: A global review. Biological Conservation. June 2013, Volume 162, Pages 76-88.
Influence of sex and body mass on harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) diving behavior. MS Thesis. Western Washington University. 2013.
A recent master's thesis prepared at Western Washington University discusses the impact of harbor seals on fish stocks in the San Juan Islands, where the seals are a year-round predator.
With funding from the EPA (EPA Interagency Agreement DW-13-923276-01), scientists at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the University of Washington used a field and quantitative modeling ‘source-transport-fate’ assessment approach to classify the vulnerability of shellfish growing areas to closures caused by watershed and marine-derived pathogens. Based on the historical prevalence of nutrient pollution, shellfish closures, and phytoplankton blooms in commercial and recreational shellfish growing area, the project focused on three nearshore sites--the Hamma Hamma (WRIA 16), Dosewallips (WRIA 16) and Samish (WRIA 3).
NOAA has released a draft report establishing a common monitoring and adaptive management framework for Chinook salmon recovery in Puget Sound.
The Puget Sound Recovery Implementation Technical Team has released a draft of a NOAA technical memorandum describing frameworks for adaptive management and monitoring of Chinook salmon in Puget Sound. Download the report.
This is the executive summary from a technical report produced for the Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership on Valued Ecosystem Components (VEC). The entire document is included as a PDF with this summary.
Canadian and U.S. governments differ on special status for bocaccio in the Salish Sea.
The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound species library now includes a list of species of concern in the Salish Sea watershed. The list was created by Joe Gaydos and Nicholas Brown of the SeaDoc Society, and was released as a paper presented as part of the Proceedings of the 2011 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, BC.
There are at least 28 species of rockfish in the Salish Sea, but their populations have declined in the past several decades. The proceedings from a 2011 rockfish recovery workshop in Seattle are now available.
A recent report by an independent science panel reviewed data on the effects of salmon fisheries on Southern Resident Killer Whale populations. The report was released on November 30, 2012 and was commissioned by NOAA Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Fish in the family Salmonidae (salmon, trout, and charr) play potentially integral roles in the upland freshwater, nearshore and pelagic marine ecosystems and food webs of Puget Sound.
Approximately 28 species of rockfish are reported from Puget Sound, spanning a range of life-history types, habitats, and ecological niches.
Bentho-pelagic fish utilize both bottom habitats and shallower portions of the water column, often feeding in shallow water at night and moving to deeper water to form schools during the day.
The State of Our Watersheds Report is produced by the treaty tribes of western Washington, and seeks to present a comprehensive view of 20 watersheds in the Puget Sound region and the major issues that are impacting habitat.
Forage fish occupy every marine and estuarine nearshore habitat in Washington, and much of the intertidal and shallow subtidal areas of the Puget Sound Basin are used by these species for spawning habitat.
Puget Sound has over 4,000 km (2,500 miles) of shorelines, ranging from rocky sea cliffs to coastal bluffs and river deltas. The exchange of water, sediment, and nutrients between the land and sea is fundamental to the formation and maintenance of an array of critical habitat types.
Puget Sound hosts more than 100 species of seabirds, 200 species of fish, 15 marine mammal species, hundreds of plant species, and thousands of invertebrate species. These species do not exist in isolation, but rather interact with each other in a variety of ways: they eat and are eaten by each other; they serve as vectors of disease or toxins; they are parasitic; and they compete with each other for food, habitat, and other resources.
A variety of animals, including invertebrates, fish, mammals, and birds, consume the suspension-feeders, filter-feeders, grazers, and detritivores that serve as a link between the primary producers and detrital pathways and the upper levels of the food web.
Fishes, birds, and mammals (including humans) serve as top-level carnivores in the Puget Sound ecosystem. With the exception of humans, these organisms have a diet that consists almost entirely of fish or other vertebrates.