Dispersal and connectivity of subsistence fisheries of Hawai'i.

My dissertation research is looking at connectivity and movement of fishes targeted by recreational fisheries in Hawaii. Connectivity will assessed at different spatial scale from across the 2600km of the Hawaiian Archipelago (including the islands in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument), between islands in the main Hawaiian islands, fine scale connectivity around the island of O'ahu and connectivity and movement of juveniles inside and outside of Kāne'ohe Bay located on the windward side of O'ahu.

Five species that are targeted by recreational fisheries were identified by local Hawaiian community leaders as desiring information regarding their movement and dispersal. The results of this study will help information community based efforts to manage the natural resources in addition to informing state-wide management  and conservation efforts.

The research will be accomplished isolating informative DNA regions, also known as SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms), by sequencing across the entire genome using Restriction-site Associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq). An analogous approach is simultaneously being conducted for one of the species by researchers from the King Abudullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) as part of a larger comparative study. 

Targeted fish species: a) Mulloidichthys flavolineatus (wekeʻa), b) Acanthurus triosteges sandvicensis (manini), c) Ctenocheatus strigosus (kole), d) Mugil cephalus (ʻamaʻama), e) Caranx melampygus (ʻomilu). Photos: Keoki Stender

This research is supported by the Castle Foundation and UH Sea Grant College Program.

Photo: School of goatfish (Weke 'a; Mulloidichthys vanicolensis) at Pioneer Banks, Hawaii. M. vanicolensis has an Indo-Pacific distribution from Hawaii to the Red Sea. M. vanicolensis (as well as other similar looking species of goatfish) can often be seen forming schools with Bluestripe Snapper (Lutjanus kasmira) where it is believed that the similar color patterns act as camouflage against predators. Photo credit: Mark Royer