Integrated Marine and Nearshore Ecology Team
Science to support healthy and resilient coastal and marine populations, habitats, communities, and ecosystems on the U.S. West Coast.
The Integrative Marine and Nearshore Ecology (IMENSE) Team at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center conducts innovative, integrative science about connected biophysical and human systems. We do this to inform the stewardship of fisheries, protected species, and ecosystems.
We focus our activities within three broad categories:
- Integrative, ecosystem-scale assessment and decision support.
- Species- and habitat-focused studies in broad ecosystem contexts.
- Application of emerging technologies, quantitative analyses, and modeling.
These efforts are primarily related to the U.S. West Coast and Puget Sound regions. We rely on approaches that range from highly qualitative to highly quantitative.
We link social and ecological systems to better inform coastal and ocean management and conservation. Our research tends to lie at intersection points of multiple, at-times-conflicting mandates. We support the recovery and conservation planning of species listed under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. Our work fulfills requirements for science-based fisheries management under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. We also support the ecosystem-based management of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem and Salish Sea Ecosystem under the National Environmental Policy Act and NOAA Fisheries’ Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management Policy.
The research supports multiple NOAA Fisheries initiatives, including implementation of Integrated Ecosystem Assessments, the Western Region Implementation Plan for Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management, the Western Region Action Plan for the National Climate Science Strategy, and the Stock Assessment Improvement Plan.
Our expertise is rooted in ecology, ecosystem science, and conservation with specific knowledge of fishes (especially groundfishes and Pacific salmon), invertebrates, marine birds, marine mammals, phytoplankton, and living habitats (such as seagrasses and kelps).
In collaboration with other scientists, we focus our research in several areas:
- Analyses of shifting productivity, recruitment, and distribution of species, which present changes in opportunities and risks for different fisheries and communities.
- Development of ecosystem status reports that track the inherent variability and long-term change of biophysical, social, and economic conditions in the California Current.
- Contributions to conservation, restoration, and future management plans for nearshore habitats, protected species, National Marine Sanctuaries, and other resources.
- Simulation frameworks that test and compare the status quo and alternate management approaches under present and future conditions.
- Improved ability to assess risk and evaluate management tradeoffs within and among fisheries, and between fisheries and non-fisheries sectors and activities.
Jameal Samhouri, Ecosystem Science Program Manager
Chris Harvey, Supervisory Research Fish Biologist