PhD, RMES-Fisheries
Thesis Topic

The role of Pacific herring in Northeast Pacific trophodynamics

Supervisor(s) Name(s)
Tony Pitcher
Nationality
Canada
Biography

I am a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. Tony Pitcher. My committee members are Dr. Evgeny Pakhomov and Dr. Villy Christensen.

My research focuses on the role of Pacific herring in Northeast Pacific food webs in general and that of northern British Columbia in particular, although I have also published on current and historical food web dynamics in the Southern Ocean. I have presented my work at a number of conferences in Canada, the United States and Europe.

My interest in marine life began during my childhood in coastal California. In my late undergraduate years, my research interests gradually shifted from intertidal to pelagic ecology and thence towards fisheries science. This shift was facilitated by the BA in anthropology which I was pursuing simultaneously with my BSc in marine biology.

My current research interests include marine ecosystem ecology, food web structure and trophodynamics, ecological interactions between fisheries and marine mammals, forage fish ecology, marine historical ecology, ecosystem modelling, ecosystem-based fisheries management and biological oceanography.

Research Funding and Partners

NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship – Doctoral Program (PGSD2). Proposal title: From food web structure to an ecosystem-based management framework for Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) in northern British Columbia. May 2016 – April 2018.

University of British Columbia Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF). May 2016 – April 2020.

NSERC Strategic Grant. Lead investigator: Dr. Tony Pitcher. Academic years 2013-2015.

Awards
Best Emerging Researcher in Session Prize at the Ecopath 30 years Conference: Modelling Dynamic Ecosystems: beyond boundaries with EwE. Session 3 – Ecosystem evolution and challenges for management. (Barcelona, Spain: November 2014)
Publications

Journal articles:

Maldonado, M.T., Surma, S. and Pakhomov, E.A. (2016) Southern Ocean biological iron cycling in the pre-whaling and present ecosystems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 374: 20150292http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/cgi/content/abstract/rsta.2015.0292

Surma, S. and Pitcher, T. J. (2015) Predicting the effects of whale population recovery on Northeast Pacific food webs and fisheries: an ecosystem modelling approach. Fisheries Oceanography 24(3): 291-305. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/fog.12109/abstract/

Surma, S., Pakhomov, E. A. and Pitcher, T. J. (2014) Effects of whaling on the structure of the Southern Ocean food web: insights on the “krill surplus” from ecosystem modelling. PLoS One 9(12): e114978. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0114978

Fisheries Centre Research Reports:

Kumar, R., Surma, S., Pitcher, T.J., Varkey, D., Lam, M., Ainsworth, C. and Pakhomov, E. (2016) An Ecosystem Model of the Ocean Around Haida Gwaii, Northern British Columbia: Ecopath, Ecosim and Ecospace. Fisheries Centre Research Reports 24(2): 76pp.

Pitcher, T. J., Kumar, R., Lam, M. E., Surma, S., and Varkey, D. (2016) Spatial Modelling of the Haida Gwaii Ecosystem: A Pilot Project Contributing to Haida Gwaii Marine Spatial Planning. Fisheries Centre Research Reports 24(1), 83 pp.

Surma, S., Pakhomov, E. A. and Pitcher, T.J. (2014) Whaling, primary productivity and the changing structure of the Southern Ocean food web. In Steenbeek, J., Piroddi, C., Coll, M., Heymans, J., Villasante, S. and Christensen, V. (eds.). Ecopath 30 years Conference Proceedings. Fisheries Centre Research Reports 22(3): 87-88. http://publications.oceans.ubc.ca/node/4721

Pitcher, T., Kumar, R., Varkey, D. A., Surma. S. and Lam, M. E. (2014) Marine Protected Areas in the Haida Gwaii Ecosystem: Modelling and Policy Issues. In Steenbeek, J., Piroddi, C., Coll, M., Heymans, J., Villasante, S. and Christensen, V. (eds.). Ecopath 30 years Conference Proceedings. Fisheries Centre Research Reports 22(3): 50. http://publications.oceans.ubc.ca/node/4721

Conference presentations:

Surma, S., Pitcher, T.J. , Perry, R.I. and Kumar, R. A reassessment of carrying capacity estimates for Northeast Pacific herring stocks. International Symposium on Drivers of Dynamics of Small Pelagic Fish Resources. Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria, BC. March 9, 2017. http://meetings.pices.int/Publications/Presentations/2017-Pelagics/S5-Surma.pdf

Surma, S., and Pitcher, T.J. Whale population recovery and forage fish in a Northeast Pacific ecosystem. International Symposium on Drivers of Dynamics of Small Pelagic Fish Resources. Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria, BC. March 10, 2017. http://meetings.pices.int/Publications/Presentations/2017-Pelagics/S3-D2-Surma.pdf

Surma, S., and Pitcher, T.J. Effects of herring fishing strategies on a modelled Northeast Pacific ecosystem. ICES Annual Science Conference. Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, Riga, Latvia. September 19, 2016.

Surma, S., and Pitcher, T.J. Examining the effects of herring fishing strategies on a Northeast Pacific ecosystem. Alaska Marine Science Symposium. Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage, AK. January 28, 2016. http://www.nprb.org/assets/amss/images/uploads/files/AMSS2016_program_lowres.pdf

Surma, S., and Pitcher, T.J. The ecological consequences of whale depletion and recovery: insights from ecosystem modeling. Workshop: Ecological roles and importance of marine mammals in aquatic ecosystems. 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals: Bridging the Past Toward the Future. Hilton San Francisco Union Square, San Francisco, CA. December 12, 2015.

Surma, S. Predicting the ecological effects of Northeast Pacific herring fisheries on marine mammal populations. 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals: Bridging the Past Toward the Future. Hilton San Francisco Union Square, San Francisco, CA. December 16 2015. https://www.marinemammalscience.org/conference/conference-schedule/

Surma, S., and Pitcher, T.J. “So Wide a Chase:” modelling the ecological consequences of whaling in two oceans. Oceans Past V conference. Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia. May 19, 2015. http://www.tcd.ie/history/opi/oceanspastv.php

Surma, S. Fisheries effects of sperm whale recovery; insights from ecosystem modelling. 22nd Annual BC Marine Mammal Symposium. Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, UBC. Vancouver, BC. November 22, 2014.

Surma, S., Pakhomov, E. A., and Pitcher, T.J. Whaling, primary productivity and the changing structure of the Southern Ocean food web. Ecopath 30 years Conference: Modelling Dynamic Ecosystems: beyond boundaries with EwE. Institute of Marine Science (ICM-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain. November 11, 2014. http://ewe30.ecopathinternational.org/conference/

Surma, S., and Pitcher, T.J. An ecological assessment of sablefish fisheries in British Columbia using the RAPFISH rapid appraisal technique. 18th Western Groundfish Conference. Harbour Towers Hotel and Suites, Victoria, BC. February 13, 2014. http://www.westerngc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/AbstractsJan13.pdf

Surma, S., and Pitcher, T.J. Ecological interactions between forage fish, rorquals, and fisheries in a Northeast Pacific ecosystem. Alaska Marine Science Symposium. Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage, AK. January 24, 2014. http://amss.nprb.org//archives/2014-symposium

Surma, S. Potential effects of whale population recovery in Haida Gwaii waters. 21st Annual BC Marine Mammal Symposium. Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, UBC. Vancouver, BC. November 23, 2013.

Surma, S. Ecological interactions between forage fish, rorquals, and fisheries in Haida Gwaii. PICES 2013 Annual Meeting: Communicating forecasts, uncertainty and consequences of ecosystem change. Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Nanaimo, BC. October 20, 2013. http://www.pices.int/meetings/annual/PICES-2013/2013-background.aspx

Surma, S. Killer whale (Orcinus orca) predation as a cause of the decline of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in the Aleutian Islands: a review. 15th Annual Meeting of the Northwest Student Chapter of the Society for Marine Mammalogy. Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, UBC. Vancouver, BC. May 7, 2011.