Monster Seminar Jam: Aaron Galloway and Laurel Lam
This seminar is part of the NWFSC's Monster Seminar Jam series.
Aaron Galloway (University of Oregon's) and Laurel Lam (Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission) are presenting a talk, "Feeling blue? Prevalence and correlates of blue-colored flesh in lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus)"
Blue-colored flesh in fishes is relatively rare, but has been documented in some species of the sculpin, greenling, and perch families and may have ecological and evolutionary implications. We explored the prevalence and drivers of blue color variants in lingcod, a demersal fish species widely distributed along the west coast of North America. People have long surmised that the occasional bright (almost fluorescent) blue-colored flesh in lingcod is connected to the diet of these fish, but this phenomenon has not yet been formally studied, despite the wide interest in this issue by both fishers and biologists. To unravel this mystery, we sampled >2,000 lingcod from 24 fishing ports in seven regions throughout the geographic range of lingcod, from Southeast Alaska to Southern California. We evaluated the relative importance of biological and spatial factors that could explain blue colored flesh. We found that the probability of having blue flesh was highest for fish that were female, caught in shallower water, and smaller in body size. The incidence of blue flesh in lingcod across all regions ranged from 4-25%, and >80% of blue fish were female. To investigate the hypothesis that diet played a role in blueness, we also analyzed the fatty acids of 175 fish, evenly distributed across the sampling range and among sexes. Fatty acid composition differed between blue and non-blue fish, but these trophic markers were not strong predictors of blueness relative to sex, depth captured, and size.
Aaron Galloway’s Coastal Trophic Ecology Lab (CTELab) is generally focused on trophic inferences in aquatic food webs, with an emphasis on algae-invertebrate interactions. To do this work we often use fatty acids as trophic biomarkers, paired with underwater natural history, experimentation, and modeling. CTELab research questions are currently focused on kelp forest ecology, the role of seaweeds and detritus as a subsidizing energy source for subtidal food webs, the effects of coastal ocean acidification of juvenile Dungeness crabs, marine invertebrate trophic ecology (urchins, abalones, sea stars, isopods), and how host/parasite relationships affect trophic relationships. This work is taking place in projects throughout the NE Pacific (Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon) and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Laurel Lam is a fishery biologist with the FRAM Groundfish Survey team and works on the Southern California Hook & Line Survey. Her research interests include investigating spatial variability in groundfish life history and distribution, and the factors driving these differences.
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