Duncan Coles of Frederiksted, St. Croix, is part of a team led by Loren McClenachan, Colby College’s Elizabeth and Lee Ainslie Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, and her colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which received a grant for $46,012 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Bluefin Tuna Research Program.
Their collaborative project, “Historical data mining to inform bluefin tuna stock assessments,” has involved several Colby students, including Duncan Coles ’19, a 2017-18 F. Russell Cole Student Research Fellow and an environmental science/ biology and ecology/evolution double major, and Sara Pipernos ’19, also an F. Russell Cole Student Research Fellow (summer 2018) and an environmental science/ French studies double major.
The grant will allow the team to collect documents from historical archives and integrate them into stock assessment models for western Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the world’s most valuable and iconic fisheries. The current stock assessment only includes data back to 1974, but most of the population decline happened earlier. Therefore, extending their knowledge back in time will improve estimates of unfished biomass, spawner recruitment dynamics and stock productivity, and it will contribute to the ability to manage this fishery more sustainably.
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