Fisheries Ecology Division

Santa Cruz LabThe Fisheries Ecology Division is housed in the SWFSC Santa Cruz Laboratory on UCSC’s Coastal Science Campus. Research is focused on California demersal and anadromous fishes, their fisheries, and their habitats. Demersal species under study include rockfishes, flatfishes, Pacific whiting, sablefish, and lingcod; anadromous species include coho and chinook salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon. Results of this research are used by the Pacific Fishery Management Council to manage fisheries and by NMFS to manage threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Fisheries Ecology Division scientists study causes of variability in abundance and health of fish populations, analyze ecological relations in marine communities, and study the economics of exploiting and protecting natural resources. They also assess the stocks of species targeted by various fisheries, and assist in evaluating potential impacts of human activities on threatened or endangered species.

SWFSC Santa Cruz Laboratory - Directions and Parking
(On-site parking is limited, please plan ahead when visiting.)

Research programs

Division News

Looking Back at The Blob: Record Warming Drives Unprecedented Ocean Change

Temperatures of up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal disrupted the marine ecosystem in both expected and surprising ways. About five years ago a large marine heatwave that became known as

Research Cruise to Survey Deep Sea Corals, Sponges, and Fish Habitat Along the West Coast

SWFSC researchers Tom Laidig and Diana Watters joined a month-long research cruise along the West Coast to explore corals, sponges, and fish habitat on the ocean floor.

New Marine Heatwave Emerges off West Coast, Resembles 'the Blob'

About five years ago “the Blob” of warm ocean water disrupted the West Coast marine ecosystem and depressed salmon returns. Now, a new expanse of unusually warm water has quickly grown in much the same way, in the same area, to almost the same size. Read the full story.... For more information conta

Mako Shark Tracking off West Coast Reveals “Impressive” Memory and Navigation

These top predators travel far across the Pacific, returning to the same areas in the Southern California Bight each year. The largest effort ever to tag and track shortfin mako sharks off the West Coast has found that they

Follow Researchers Aboard the 2019 California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES)

Scientists aboard NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker are now in the second leg of the 2019 California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCE) Survey. This annual survey aims to estimate the distributions and abundances of coastal pelagic fish species (CPS) – anchovies,