Program(s) in charge: Ecosystem & Bycatch Program
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- To further develop and validate statistical tools for the analysis of complex datasets in trophic studies of apex predators.
- To enhance external collaborations and professional development through the analysis of Atlantic bluefin tuna diets in relation to biological and environmental variables.
- IATTC staff have developed an innovative approach for analyzing complex diet data using classification trees. The approach has been used for regional diet studies of yellowfin tuna in the EPO and for a broad-scale global comparison of yellowfin, bigeye and albacore diets.
- To facilitate more widespread adoption of the method, it requires validation of regional studies in other ocean basins, given the importance of spatio-temporal differences in available prey taxa.
- Collaboration with other scientists studying the trophic ecology of apex predators can assist with validating the approach, while also enhancing collaborative relationships.
- Relevance for management
- Optimizing statistical tools to analyse trophic data is crucial for understanding the trophodynamics of apex predators in the EPO and whether predator-prey relationships may be impacted by fishing.
- Diet analyses are fundamental for the identification of ecological functional groups, which are required in the development of ecosystem models to understand the potential ecological impacts of fishing.
- Integrating environmental factors into analyses of regional studies provides managers with information on effects of climate change on variation in forage communities to verify observed global patterns.
- 9 months
- Workplan and status
- Jun 2018: data analyses
- Aug – Nov 2018: Discuss preliminary outputs with collaborators and implement necessary collaborator inputs into method development
- Nov 2018-Mar 2019: Manuscript preparation
- External collaborators
- Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries; numerous other universities and government agencies
- Manuscript summarizing the revised approach, using an Atlantic-wide analysis of bluefin trophic ecology as a case study.