Graduation Date

Fall 2018

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Fisheries

Committee Chair Name

Tim Mulligan

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Joe Tyburczy

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Tim Bean

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Black rockfish (Sebastes melanops), canary rockfish (S. pinniger), and lingcod (Ophidion elongatus) are important species in Northern California’s nearshore recreational and commercial fisheries. These species are associated with nearshore rocky reefs and are among a suite of species intended to benefit from the establishment of the marine protected area (MPA) network along the Northern California Coast in 2012.

Many aspects of the North Coast’s nearshore ecosystem remain poorly studied, including the spatial distribution and habitat associations of nearshore fish species. This study used data collected from Cape Mendocino State Marine Reserve (SMR), Ten Mile SMR, and paired, nearby reference sites to investigate the habitat associations of black rockfish, canary rockfish, and lingcod on the North Coast by generating Maxent habitat suitability models for each species.

This study showed black rockfish associated with high relief, rocky habitat, less than ~30 meters in depth, lingcod associated with rocky habitat, independent of relief, deeper than 20 meters, and canary rockfish associated with high relief rocky habitat, deeper than ~35 meters. The findings of this study also investigated and supported the findings of a previous study that found canary rockfish associated with the edge of rocky reef and sandy habitats.

Maxent modeling can increase manager’s understanding of the habitat used by marine fishes and inform the establishment of MPAs, designation of Essential Fish Habitat, and regional catch limits by identifying where habitat might support more productive populations, especially for poorly studied stocks.

Citation Style

Chicago Manual of Style


Thesis/Project Location