HA3 Effects of Multiple Stressors on Marine Resources
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() Multiple stressors and marine fish populations in Puget Sound.

Johnson, Lyndal1, Spromberg, Julann1, 1 NOAA Fisheries - Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA, United States

ABSTRACT- Puget Sound in Washington State serves as habitat for a number of recreationally and commercially important species of marine and estuarine fish. Over the past century there has been substantial urban and industrial development in this region, resulting in heavy inputs of chemical contaminants at selected sites, as well as significant loss or alteration of marine habitat. In addition to anthropogenic stressors such as fishing pressure or alteration of nearshore nursery habitats, studies show that some Puget Sound species, such as English sole, are experiencing a range of biological effects due to chemical contaminant exposure, including reproductive dysfunction, altered immune competence, and development of toxicopathic diseases. The cumulative impact of these and other stressors has led to declines in the abundance of several marine fish species in the Sound, some of which (Pacific hake, Pacific cod, Pacific herring, brown rockfish, copper rockfish, and quillback rockfish) were reviewed for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Although none of the species were designated as threatened or endangered, they were described as vulnerable and in need of monitoring for further evidence of decline. To better understand the impact of anthropogenic and natural stressors on Puget Sound marine fish, we are collecting information on vital rates and other life-history parameters in subpopulations of English sole and other marine fish from urban and non-urban Puget Sound sites. We are using this information to estimate potential population-level impacts of anthropogenic stressors with Leslie-matrix models. Initial results suggest that stressors affecting the survival of early life stages or the survival and reproduction of the oldest age classes disproportionately impact the population growth rates. Stressors affecting different patterns of demographic traits also produce different population-level impacts. This approach can be a useful tool for evaluating relative impacts of stressors that affect different phases of the life cycle.

Key words: population modeling, English sole, contaminants, multiple stressors

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