Fisheries Ecology Division

Santa Cruz LabLocated at the western edge of Santa Cruz, California on the coastal bluff at Terrace Point, the Fisheries Ecology Division joins the adjacent UC Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory and a growing complex of marine research facilities at this site.

Research is focused on Pacific coast groundfish and Pacific salmon. Groundfish under study include rockfishes, flatfishes, Pacific whiting, sablefish, and lingcod; salmon include coho, chinook, and steelhead. Results of this research are used by the Pacific Fishery Management Council to manage fisheries and by NMFS to manage threatened and endangered species. 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.

Please use the left-side menu to learn more about the SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division.

Division News

El Niño Patterns Contributed to Long-lived Marine Heatwave in North Pacific

El Niño climate patterns contributed to the “warm blob” that began dominating the Gulf of Alaska in late 2013, and later gripped the West Coast of North America in what became the Northeast Pacific’s largest marine heatwave, according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change today.

Genetic Matchmaking in California Salmon Hatcheries (New York Times)

The New York Times published an article about Fisheries Ecology Division geneticists and their work matching mating pairs to maintain genetic diversity at California salmon hatcheries.

November Takes a Bite Out of 'the Blob'

Warm expanse that heated up West Coast waters is beaten, but not yet broken.

Napa Student Rewarded by NOAA Scientists for Finding Green Sturgeon Satellite Tag

Fisheries Ecology Division researchers met with third grader Deja Walker to thank her and give a $20 reward for finding and returning a green sturgeon satellite tag.

Estimating Shasta Lake Cold Water Supply to Help Sacramento River Salmon

Fisheries Ecology Division researchers are using a reservoir model for Shasta Lake to estimate the amount of cold water available to keep the Sacramento River cool enough for young salmon.

2015 Rockfish Recruitment and Ecosystem Assessment Survey Highlights Unusual Ocean Conditions

The Fisheries Ecology Division’s Rockfish Recruitment and Ecosystem Assessment Survey has concluded, completing the 33rd year of evaluating the abundance and distribution of pelagic young-of-the-year rockfish and other groundfish off central California and the 11th year of sampling off southern and northern California.