Dr. Kim de Mutsert receives NOAA Restore Act Science Grant for Fisheries Ecosystem Models

The NOAA RESTORE Science Program has completed its second funding competition (2017) and awarded approximately $16.7M to 15 teams of researchers and resource managers to support work on living coastal and marine resources and their habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.

These awards continue the Science Program’s commitment to producing timely and high-quality scientific findings and products to support the management and sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries.

Dr. Kim de Mutsert has been named co-PI on the following project:

Fisheries Ecosystem ModelsFull Title: Ecosystem Modeling to Improve Fisheries Management in the Gulf of MexicoLead Investigator (Institution): David Chagaris (University of Florida) dchagaris@ufl.edu

Co-investigators (Institution): Skyler Sagarese (NOAA), Matthew Lauretta (NOAA), Kim de Mutsert (George Mason University),  and Rob Ahrens (University of Florida)

NOAA Technical Point of Contact: Frank Parker (frank.parker@noaa.gov)

Award Amount: $1,167,586

Award Period: June 1, 2017 – May 31, 2020

Summary: The population of a recreationally or commercially important fish species can be influenced by several factors such as the abundance of the prey it eats, the abundance of the predators that eat it, mortality events such as harmful algal blooms, and ocean conditions which can determine if early life stages of the fish make it to suitable nursery habitat. Understanding how these factors interact is not easy, but advances in computer modeling and in our knowledge of these factors in the Gulf of Mexico is making it possible to develop computer-based ecosystem models that take many of these factors into account. This project will further refine Gulf of Mexico ecosystem models working in concert with fisheries managers to make sure the model outputs are relevant to the decisions managers face. Specifically, this project will integrate managers into the model refinement process through workshops and regular communication. Working with input from managers, the model development team will adapt existing models to address current challenges associated with managing gag grouper and Gulf menhaden and incorporate the outputs from the updated models into the stock assessment process for each species. In addition, the model development team will construct new features to test model accuracy and better represent spatial processes and stressors such as habitat preferences, red tides, and fish migration patterns. The model development team will align model development and outputs to coincide with the requirements and timing of the stock assessment and management process. Training will be provided to fisheries managers so they will understand the capabilities and limitations of ecosystem models and be able to execute model simulations to inform their own decision making.

List of all funded projects from the 2017 competition: https://restoreactscienceprogram.noaa.gov/funding/noaa-restore-science-program-announces-awards-2017-competition

List of all funded projects from the 2015 (first) competition can be viewed at https://restoreactscienceprogram.noaa.gov/funded-projects from the Funded Projects tab at the top, and the projects are all listed under 2015.

Important Dates for Students

SPRING 2020 Semester (modified due to COVID-19)

MLK Day (university closed): Jan 20

First day of classes: Jan 21

Spring Break (extended): Mar 9-20

Dissertation/Thesis Deadline: May 8

Last day of classes: May 11

Reading Day(s): May 12

Final Exam Period: May 13-20

University Commencement: May 22 (tentative)

COVID-19 DATE CHANGES – For the complete modified spring calendar, see https://registrar.gmu.edu/calendars/spring-2020/ and for latest COVID-19 updates, see: https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus