Habitat Ecology Team Staff

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Diana Watters
Phone: (831) 420-3934
Fax: (831) 420-3977
E-mail: diana.watters@noaa.gov

Diana Watters joined the Habitat Ecology Team in August 2005. Her background includes studies of rockfish and herring age and growth, nearshore and deepwater assemblages of rockfishes and other species caught by the marine recreational fishery in central and northern California, and long-term monitoring and assessment of Pacific herring population dynamics and spawning habitat in San Francisco Bay. Her current research includes surveys of deepwater benthic habitats and fish assemblages inside and outside of marine protected areas off central California, and marine debris in deepwater benthic habitats off central and southern California. She has published 15 scientific, technical, and popular articles.

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Joe Bizzarro
Postdoctoral Scholar
Phone: (831) 420-3993
E-mail: joe.bizzarro@noaa.gov

My general areas of interest are marine ecology and ichthyology, and more specifically resource utilization, life history, and fisheries studies of demersal and benthic elasmobranchs (i.e., sharks, skates, and rays) and teleost groundfishes. I am especially interested in trophic ecology and spatial associations of marine fish assemblages, and have several such research projects underway or recently completed between the Bering Sea and Gulf of California. I also have considerable experience in seafloor mapping, collection and analysis of biological and physical data, and trophic and spatial analysis of groundfishes and benthic invertebrates. I enjoy collaborating with colleagues and pursuing interdisciplinary studies. I have especially valued my collaborations with marine geologists, as knowledge of the geologic conditions that create and maintain seafloor habitats for benthic fishes is fundamental to my research.

After completing a Ph.D. at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, I accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow with Mary Yoklavich’s Habitat Ecology Team. My research directly addresses priority needs that were identified during NMFS’ recent 5-year review of essential fish habitat for Pacific Coast groundfishes. One completed project provided standardized diet composition, trophic levels, and foraging habitat information for 18 groundfishes and established a new measure (“Major Prey Index”) to identify and rank important prey taxa. The resulting manuscript is awaiting publication in a special issue of Environmental Biology on Fishes on food habit studies. Current research projects involve restructuring NMFS’ Habitat Use Database and expanding its utility for stock assessments, and continuing our research on comparative trophic ecology of Pacific Coast groundfishes to incorporate several additional species and variables.

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Tom Laidig
Phone: (831) 420-3942
Fax: (831) 420-3977
E-mail: tom.laidig@noaa.gov

Tom Laidig works in the Habitat Ecology Team of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service at the SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division. Tom earned his BS in Aquatic Biology at University of California, Santa Barbara and his MS in Marine Biology at San Francisco State University before beginning his career with NMFS as a biological technician in 1988. His first duties were to daily age juvenile rockfish otoliths. He soon advanced to a Research Biologist and worked on such projects as distribution and diet relationships between large deep and shallow slope fish, aging lingcod for an 8-year age and growth study along the California and Oregon coasts, and juvenile rockfish recruitment studies. He has completed more than 25 publications. Tom became a NOAA diver in 1995 and Unit Diving Supervisor in 1996. He currently runs the diving program at the lab and he uses his diving abilities to study different aspects of rockfish biology, especially juvenile settlement to the nearshore environment. In 2000, he joined Mary Yoklavich in the new Habitat Ecology Team. This was a good pairing since both researchers studied rockfish in situ, with Mary studying the deeper living ones and the Tom the shallower species.

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