Recruitment, Energetics, and Coastal Assessment Program
The Recruitment, Energetics, and Coastal Assessment Program develops and monitors indicators of ecosystem status and energy flow through different trophic levels in the marine food chain. Our analytical products can be used with survey data to assess the response of juvenile year classes (young age groups of fish) of fish to changing environmental conditions and to identify essential fish habitat. Young fish survival is key to understanding future fish population productivity. Our goal is to provide indicators of fish population productivity and protected resources population health (e.g., humpback whales) for resource managers use.
We conduct fully-integrated studies from sample collection to modeled results, and peer-reviewed publications. We conduct field projects in nearshore waters and laboratory experiments designed to understand how fish respond to environmental change. Our state-of-the-art chemistry lab is the Center's largest analytical laboratory. We perform broad-spectrum analyses on fish health and condition to better understand food webs and processes of ecosystem change and recruitment variability in Alaska's nearshore habitats. These analyses include indices for fish growth (RNA/DNA), nutritional status (proximate analysis, thiamine levels, bioenergetic measurements (diet, calorimetry) and prey resource identification (genomics, fatty acid analysis and compound-specific stable isotope analysis). We achieve our work through extensive collaborations within NOAA and with external partnerships.