MES 645. Marine Population Assessment Surveys And Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.

In spite of global conservation efforts, marine animal populations show increasingly critical low levels of abundance. Marine population assessment techniques are mostly based on fishery-dependent data for those species that are commercially exploited. Population assessment techniques based on these types of data usually lack spatial resolution and they do not provide spatial-temporal patterns of species diversity and community structure. Conversely, direct resource surveys aim to provide representative estimates of the relative abundance and population structure of the species (and community) of interest. These surveys can generate multi-species population databases that are fundamental for the modeling and understanding of important ecosystem-wide mechanisms of resource conservation. Multi-species indices of relative abundance are also important in the “tuning” of modern stock assessment and conservation methods. In this course students will learn about experimental sampling concepts and designs, instrumentation, survey implementation and statistical methods to directly assess size-structured population abundance (i.e., density estimates scaled to survey area), and of exploited and non-target species (e.g. sea turtles, marine mammals, etc.) in the ecosystem. Students will analyze real data from various surveys carried out in the past using statistical techniques to estimate valid population parameters and variances. Comparative analyses of survey designs are discussed based on an ample literature on the subject matter, which will be made available to the students.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.