student listing

A Photo of  Katie Palof

Contact Information

Fisheries Academic Program
17101 Pt. Lena Loop Rd.
UAF Fisheries Division
Juneau, AK 99801
Fax: (907) 796-5447
kjpalof@alaska.edu

Katie PalofPh.D. Student

Fisheries

Thesis Title

Combining genetics and population dynamics to improve management of Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus)

Career Goals

-Continuation of the study of the genetics and demographics of fish populations either in an academic or industry setting.
-Teaching at a college level.

Affiliations

  • American Fisheries Society

Education

  • B.A. 2003 Hiram College (Biology)
  • M.S. 2008 University of Alaska Fairbanks (Fisheries)

Research Overview

Master's overview:
Knowledge of the population structure of a species is essential for its effective management and sustained production. Although Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus, POP) is an important species both economically and ecologically, little is known about its population structure and life history in Alaskan waters. The objectives of this study were to describe the population structure of POP in terms of the numbers and geographic scale of local populations, their connectivity, and the compatibility of that structure with current management. Fourteen microsatellite loci were used to characterize the population structure genetically in eleven geographically distinct sets of samples collected from sites that ranged along the continental shelf from the Queen Charlotte Islands to the Bering Sea. In spite of the many opportunities for most life stages to disperse, there was strong geographically related genetic structure (FST =0.0123, p < 10-5). Adult POP appear to belong to neighborhoods or local populations that exchange genetic information at relatively small spatial scales (14 to 90 km). Although the rough estimates of neighborhood size and dispersal suggest limited movement, connectivity is evidenced by the isolation-by-distance relationship, the apparent northwestward movement of gene flow in the eastern Gulf of Alaska (GOA), and a break in geneflow observed in the central GOA. The observed population structure has a finer geographic scale than management areas, which suggests that current fisheries management should be revisited.

Ph.D. overview:
We have nearly completed a large scale genetics study of adult POP samples (Palof, thesis research); and a genetics study of young-of-the-year POP juveniles is in progress (L. Kamin, thesis research). From those results we will be able to address questions about the extent of dispersion, and should be able to make preliminary estimates of neighborhood size. The questions we address here are the effects that harvest patterns exert on production and genetic structure of POP and, by extension, other species for which limited dispersion results in a neighborhood model of population structure, and the neighborhoods are much smaller than the management areas. To evaluate these effects, we will develop quantitative models that include information about dispersal, population dynamics, and exploitation and test the effects of different harvesting strategies, which will range from harvesting over the entire management area to harvests in a few limited areas with in the area.

Current Research Projects

  • Combining genetics and population dynamics to improve the management of Pacific ocean perch
  • Population genetic structure of Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus)

Links

Publications

Palof KJ, Heifetz J, and Gharrett AJ. Geographic structure in Alaskan Pacific ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) indicates limited life-time dispersal. in review