Contact InformationSchool of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
202 Arctic Health Research Bldg.
P.O. Box 757220
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7220
Phone: (907) 474-5254
Fax: (907) 474-7204
Andrew Seitz Assistant Professor
- American Fisheries Society
- Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center
- Fish dispersal and population structure
- Individual fish behavior
- Large marine fishes
- Electronic tagging
- Glacial river fish sampling
- B.S. 1997 Cornell University (Biology)
- Ph.D. 2006 University of Alaska Fairbanks (Fisheries Oceanography)
Office HoursWednesdays 11 am - 1:00 pm
My research focuses on understanding behavior, life history, dispersal patterns and population structure of a variety of freshwater and marine fishes, ranging from salmon smolts to large, highly mobile species. Many of these fishes are intensively harvested and understanding their biology and ecology is paramount to effective management plans. However, studying these fish is often challenging because of their relative inaccessibility. To overcome these challenges, I have used a variety of techniques ranging from traditional net sampling in rivers to cutting-edge and innovative technology in the oceans.
Current Research Projects
- Dispersal patterns and summer ocean distribution of adult Dolly Varden from the Wulik River, Alaska, evaluated using satellite telemetry (Coastal Marine Institute)
In northwest Alaska, Dolly Varden is highly valued as a subsistence fish and local residents harvest thousands of these fish each year. Many of these Dolly Varden undertake oceanic migrations during summers, yet little is known about their dispersal and distribution during this time. We studied the oceanic dispersal of Dolly Varden by attaching miniaturized pop-up satellite archival transmitting (PSAT) tags to 20 Dolly Varden in the Wulik River in early June 2012. PSAT tags measured and recorded temperature, depth and ambient light data for daily geoposition estimates at 10 minute intervals while externally attached to the fish. The tags released from the fish, floated to the surface of the sea and transmitted, via satellite, the pop-up position and archived data. The tagged fish demonstrated several dispersal types including: remaining at the tagging site (n=3), limited movement to the Wulik River mouth (n=3), southerly alongshore dispersal (n=3) and northerly offshore dispersal to the Russian Chukchi Sea (n=5) and the Alaskan Beaufort Sea (n=1). In addition, three tags reported to satellites, but no positional fixes were obtained, likely as a result of the tags not being in saltwater. Finally, two tags did not report to satellites. These results suggest that Dolly Varden that overwinter in the Wulik River undertake a variety of summer dispersal strategies including transit through and occupancy of areas that may be impacted by future human activities.
- Using Pop-up Satellite Transmitting Tags for Understanding Pacific Halibut Movement In and Around Glacier Bay National Park (National Park Service)
The Glacier Bay commercial Pacific halibut fishery is projected to cease sometime between 2050 and 2060 because of attrition of lifetime access permit (LAP) holders. How the abundance of Pacific halibut in Glacier Bay reacts to this future decrease in commercial exploitation will depend on the frequency and timing of movement by individual fish out of Glacier Bay to areas that are commercially and recreationally fished. This project will examine the seasonal movements of Glacier Bay Pacific halibut, particularly dispersal to winter spawning areas and homing to summer feeding locations. Pop-up satellite tags will be externally attached on Pacific halibut captured within Glacier Bay National Park during their summer feeding season. These tags will measure and record ambient temperature, depth, light intensity and magnetic field strength at intervals of one hour. After releasing from the Pacific halibut, the tags will float to the surface and transmit the archived data to Argos satellites, which may then be retrieved by the investigators. The light intensity and magnetic field strength data will be used to estimate daily positions of tagged Pacific halibut to characterize frequency and timing of Pacific halibut spawning migration out of Glacier Bay as well as site fidelity to summer feeding locations within Glacier Bay. This information will aid in understanding the susceptibility of Glacier Bay Pacific halibut to adjacent commercial and recreational fisheries during seasonal openings.
- Factors influencing Chinook salmon spawning distribution in the Togiak River, Alaska (USFWS Office of Subsistence Management)
Chinook salmon is a valuable resource for subsistence, sport, and commercial harvests in the Togiak River. Recently, abundance of this species has declined for unknown reasons. Concurrently, traditional ecological knowledge suggests that the spawning distribution of Chinook salmon has shifted from tributaries to the main stem. We hypothesize that the decline in abundance and shift in spawning distribution may be related to changing environmental conditions in the mainstem and tributaries. In light of this hypothesis, to begin to understand the factors influencing spawning site selection and relative abundance of Chinook salmon in the Togiak River, we will compare habitat characteristics of Chinook salmon spawning and non-spawning areas by analyzing historical and current satellite and high resolution digital imagery for changing environmental conditions. This project is the basis of Steph Megger's master's thesis.
- Studies on anadromous lampreys in the eastern Bering Sea (SELMR)
Arctic and Pacific lampreys are anadromous species playing ecologically important roles in freshwater and marine environments of Alaska. These species are critical in food webs and interact with several commercially important fishes, as evidenced by attack marks observed on them. Arctic and Pacific lampreys are captured in subsistence fisheries across their ranges, making them culturally vital components to numerous native groups. Additionally, a traditional commercial fishery for Arctic lampreys occurs in Japan, and a new commercial fishery for this species is developing in Alaska. To date, there is a paucity of research on lampreys, particularly during their parasitic marine-phase, and as such, basic ecological information such as distribution and abundance is not well documented. Alaska has at least five native species of lamprey, and despite recognition of their value, lampreys receive little attention in the state. This project, which will be the basis of Kevin Siwicke's master's thesis, seeks to describe basic biological and ecological characteristics of Arctic and Pacific lampreys captured in Alaskan waters. Part one will utilize existing and novel datasets to assess variation in the distribution, catch, and size of Arctic and Pacific lampreys. Part two will examine parasite-host interactions between Pacific lamprey and Pacific cod in the eastern Bering Sea. The results of this project will provide baseline biological and ecological information about Arctic and Pacific lampreys in Alaska, beginning the process for informed conservation and management decisions in the state.
- An interdisciplinary sustainability assessment of the directed skate fishery in Prince William Sound, Alaska (Marine Ecosystem Sustainability in the Arctic and )
Skates are in growing demand worldwide. In 2008, the U.S. landings of skates, mainly from the Atlantic Ocean, totaled 65 million pounds, worth US$11 million. Because skates are long-lived, mature late in life and possess slow intrinsic growth rates, they are vulnerable to overfishing. As such, many Atlantic Ocean skate stocks are depleted. In contrast, Alaska has relatively healthy skate stocks and there is increasing economic pressure to develop fisheries for them. Big (Raja binoculata) and longnose (R. rhina) skates are the most commonly landed skates in Alaska and a directed fishery is being developed in Prince William Sound (PWS). To sustainably manage this marine resource more biological information is needed. Our objectives are to 1) use satellite telemetry and conventional tags to understand habitat use, movement and transfer of skate biomass among management areas, 2) use the information from the first objective to develop a mark-recapture-based stock assessment for PWS skates, and 3) develop a bioeconomic model of the skate fishery in PWS. This interdisciplinary information is important for managing existing and proposed future skate fisheries.
- Testing geomagnetic archival tags to track migratory marine animals in Alaskan waters (Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center, North Pacific )
This project is focused on developing a framework for using a newly-developed geomagnetic archival tag for tracking large-scale fish movements. The tag records values of the earth’s magnetic field as the animal moves through the study area. Estimated locations for the tagged animal can be obtained by matching the magnetic field values recorded by the tag to modeled values that occur in the study area. Because the magnetic field varies over the surface of the earth, it is necessary to characterize accuracy and precision of the method in each study area based on the strength and orientation of the magnetic fields in each area. Currently, research is being conducted on baseline tag measurement resolution and characterization of the magnetic fields in Alaska, with the goal of deploying tags on several species of demersal fishes in the near future.
- Resurrect, revise and publish Pacific halibut movement research conducted in Glacier Bay National Park (Glacier Bay National Park)
Considerable resources were expended investigating Pacific halibut movement in Glacier Bay National Park between 1991-1998, yet results of this work were never peer reviewed or published. This project resurrects and reanalyzes these data for publication in a refereed journal as part of Julie Nielsen's PhD dissertation.
Seitz A.C., K.M. Straub, and T.M. Sutton. 2012. Recruiting the Next Generation of Fisheries Professionals. Fisheries 37: 80-83.
Seitz, A.C., K. Moerlein, M.D. Evans and A.E. Rosenberger. 2011. Ecology of fishes in a high latitude turbid river, with implications for the impacts of hydrokinetic devices. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries DOI 10.1007/s11160-011-9200-3.
Seitz, A.C., T. Loher, B.L. Norcross, and J.L. Nielsen. 2011. Dispersal and behavior of Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands region. Aquatic Biology 12: 225–239.
Seitz, A.C. and T. M. Sutton. 2010. Distance learning in today’s classroom. Fisheries 35(10): 501–505.
Seitz, A.C., B.L. Norcross, J.C. Payne, A.N. Kagley, B. Meloy, J.L. Gregg and P.K. Hershberger. 2010. Feasibility of surgically implanting acoustic tags in Pacific herring. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 139: 1288–1291.
Nielsen, J.L., S.L. Graziano, and A.C. Seitz. 2010. Fine-scale population genetic structure in Alaskan Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis). Conservation Genetics 11: 999–1012.
Weng, K.C., M.J.W. Stokesbury, A.M. Boustany, A.C. Seitz, S.L.H. Teo, S.K. Miller and B.A. Block. 2009. Habitat and behaviour of yellowfin tuna Thunnus albacares in the Gulf of Mexico determined using pop-up satellite archival tags. Journal of Fish Biology 74: 1434–1449.
Loher, T. and A.C. Seitz. 2008. Characterization of active spawning season and depth for eastern Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis), and evidence of probably skipped-spawning. Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science 41: 23–36.
Teo, S.L.H., A. Boustany, H. Dewar, M.J.W. Stokesbury, K.C. Weng, S. Beemer, A.C. Seitz, C.J. Farwell, E.D. Prince and B.A. Block. 2007. Movement patterns, diving behavior and thermal biology of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) on their breeding grounds in the Gulf of Mexico. Marine Biology 151(1): 1–18.
Seitz, A., B.L. Norcross, D. Wilson and J.L. Nielsen. 2006. An evaluation of light-based geolocation for demersal fish in high latitudes. Fishery Bulletin 104: 571–578.
Loher, T.L. and A.C. Seitz. 2006. Seasonal migration and environmental conditions experienced by Pacific halibut in the Gulf of Alaska, elucidated from pop-up archival transmitting (PAT) tags. Marine Ecology Progress Series 317: 259–271.
Seitz, A., B.L. Norcross, D. Wilson and J. L. Nielsen. 2005. Identifying spawning behavior in Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) using electronic tags. Environmental Biology of Fishes 73: 445–451.
Stokesbury, M.J.W., S.L.H. Teo, A.C. Seitz, R.K. O’Dor and B.A. Block. 2004. Movement of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) as determined by satellite tagging experiments initiated off New England. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 61: 1976–1987.
Seitz, A., D. Wilson, B.L. Norcross and J.L. Nielsen. 2003. Pop-up archival transmitting (PAT) tags: a method to investigate the migration and behavior of Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis in the Gulf of Alaska. Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin 10(2):124–136.
Seitz, A. C., K.C. Weng, A.M. Boustany and B.A. Block. 2002. Behavior of a sharptail mola in the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Fish Biology 60(6):1597–1602.
Block, B.A., H. Dewar, S.B. Blackwell, T.D. Williams, E.D. Prince, C.J. Farwell, A. Boustany, S.L.H. Teo, A. Seitz, A. Walli and D. Fudge. 2001. Migratory movements, depth preferences, and thermal biology of Atlantic bluefin tuna. Science 293: 1310–1314.
Marcinek, D.M., S.B. Blackwell, H. Dewar, E.V. Freund, C. Farwell, D. Dau, A.C. Seitz and B.A. Block. 2001. Depth and muscle temperature of Pacific bluefin tuna examined with acoustic and pop-up satellite archival tags. Marine Biology 138(4): 869–885.