Shortspine thornyhead (Sebastolobus alascanus) abundance and habitat associations in the Gulf of Alaska


Else, Page, Lewis Haldorson, and Kenneth Krieger
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Shortspine thornyhead (Sebastolobus alascanus) abundance was estimated from 107 video transects at 27 stations recorded from a research submersible in 1991 off southeast Alaska at depths ranging from 165 to 355 m. Numbers of invertebrates in seven major taxa were estimated, as was substrate type. Thornyhead abundance ranged from 0 to 7.5/100 m2, with a mean of 1.22/100 m2, and was positively correlated with depth and amount of hard substrate. Invertebrate abundances were not significantly correlated with numbers of thornyheads. Shortspine thornyhead abundance estimates from this study were several times higher than estimates produced by bottom trawl surveys off southeast Alaska in 1990 and 1993, the two years of survey that encompassed the submersible transects; however, the trend of increasing abundance with depth was similar in the trawl surveys and in the submersible transects, suggesting that trawl surveys systematically underestimate abundance of shortspine thornyheads.