Ellen K Pikitch

Ellen K Pikitch
Stony Brook University | Stony Brook · School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

PhD

About

129
Publications
52,677
Reads
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11,060
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2008 - present
Stony Brook University
Position
  • Managing Director
October 2003 - August 2008
University of Miami
Position
  • Professor and Executive Director
September 1996 - September 2003
Wildlife Conservation Society
Position
  • Founder and Director

Publications

Publications (129)
Article
Full-text available
During the past century, bivalve populations across the globe have collapsed, resulting in negative ecosystem consequences due to their outsized impact on shallow estuaries. In response, there has been strong interest in the restoration of marine bivalve populations. Here, we present a decade-long restoration effort that sought to rebuild a collaps...
Article
We present a response to Butterworth and Ross-Gillespie's (2022) comment on our perspectives on how forage fish fisheries are impacting the endangered African penguin (Sphenicus demersus), and corresponding management options. Butterworth and Ross-Gillespie overstate model uncertainties and downplay the clear ecological and conservation significanc...
Article
Full-text available
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a key tool for achieving goals for biodiversity conservation and human well-being, including improving climate resilience and equitable access to nature. At a national level, they are central components in the U.S. commitment to conserve at least 30% of U.S. waters by 2030. By definition, the primary goal of an MPA...
Article
Marine protected area (MPAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) have been crucial in protecting endangered species and habitats for sustainable ecosystem and marine biodiversity. China has nearly six decades of experience in the practice of MPAs. However, the management effectiveness of China’s MPAs has been impeded by iss...
Article
Full-text available
Marine protected areas (MPAs) require sustained funding to provide sustained marine protection. Up until now government budgets, multi- and bi-lateral aid, and philanthropic grants have been commonly relied upon to finance the management and enforcement of MPAs. But new funding mechanisms, such as impact investments or blue carbon, are increasingly...
Article
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In a scientifically-transformative project, South Africa implemented a decade-long field experiment to understand how fisheries may be affecting its most iconic seabird, the African penguin Spheniscus demersus. This unique effort prohibits the take of anchovy and sardine within relatively small areas around four African penguin breeding colonies, t...
Article
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China’s stature as the world’s major producer and consumer of seafood is legendary, but its long-standing tradition of protecting marine life domestically is virtually unknown. We present the most comprehensive database on area-based marine conservation in China including 326 sites that conserve 12.98% of China’s seas and address 142 conservation o...
Article
Consistency in conservation Marine protected areas (MPAs) are now well established globally as tools for conservation, for enhancing marine biodiversity, and for promoting sustainable fisheries. That said, which regions are labeled as MPAs varies substantially, from those that full protect marine species and prohibit human extraction to those that...
Article
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This study assessed the diet of Summer flounder (SF, Paralichthys dentatus ) in Shinnecock Bay, NY. Summer flounder are a recreationally and commercially important marine flatfish species found along the Eastern United States coastline. Despite their importance, few studies have examined the trophodynamics of a broad size spectrum of this species....
Article
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To safeguard biodiversity effectively, marine protected areas (MPAs) should be sited using the best available science. There are numerous ongoing United Nations and non-governmental initiatives to map globally important marine areas. The criteria used by these initiatives vary, resulting in contradictions in the areas identified as important. Our a...
Article
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a widely used and flexible policy tool to help preserve marine biodiversity. They range in size and governance complexity from small communally managed MPAs, to massive MPAs on the High Seas managed by multinational organizations. As of August 2018, the Atlas of Marine Protection (MPAtlas.org) had catalogued inform...
Article
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Emerging conservation efforts for the world’s large predators may, if successful, restore natural predator–prey interactions. Marine reserves, where large predators tend to be relatively common, offer an experimental manipulation to investigate interactions between large-bodied marine predators and their prey. We hypothesized that southern stingray...
Article
Full-text available
Reaching protected area (PA) coverage goals is challenged by a lack of sufficient financial resources. This funding gap is particularly pervasive for marine protected areas (MPAs). It has been suggested that marine conservationists examine examples from terrestrial protected areas (TPAs) for potential solutions to better fund MPAs. However, the fun...
Article
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Hydrological regimes are key drivers of productivity and structure in freshwater ecosystems but are increasingly impacted by human activity. Using 17 published food web models of 13 African lakes as a case study, we explored relationships between seasonal and interannual water level fluctuations and 15 attributes related to ecosystem function. We i...
Article
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Designated large-scale marine protected areas (LSMPAs, 100,000 or more square kilometers) constitute over two-thirds of the approximately 6.6% of the ocean and approximately 14.5% of the exclusive economic zones within marine protected areas. Although LSMPAs have received support among scientists and conservation bodies for wilderness protection, r...
Article
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Marine reserves, areas protected from ex ploitative anthropogenic processes, are being widely implemented to conserve biodiversity and initiate species recovery. Evidence supports the effectiveness of marine reserves in improving biological attributes such as biodiversity, density, biomass, and body-size for sedentary species or those with r-select...
Article
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Blooms of the ichthyotoxic dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides present both lethal and sublethal threats to coastal marine organisms. Because prior studies of this alga have focused on its acute toxic effects on fish, there remains limited understanding of the sublethal effects to fish swimming behavior when exposed to these blooms. This stud...
Article
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China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, launched in March 2016, provides a sound policy platform for the protection of marine ecosystems and the restoration of capture fisheries within China’s exclusive economic zone. What distinguishes China among many other countries striving for marine fisheries reform is its size—accounting for almost one-fifth of global...
Chapter
Full-text available
Located in the “cradle of mankind” of the East African Rift Valley, Lake Turkana is distinguished as both the world’s largest permanent desert lake and alkaline water body. With a surface area of about 7,560 km2, Lake Turkana is a highly pulsed, variable system as a result of its closed-basin nature, arid surroundings, and its strong dependence on...
Article
Full-text available
Hydrological regimes are significant drivers of fisheries production in many African Lakes due to their influence on fish habitat and food availability, breeding success, and catchability. Lake Turkana, Kenya will undergo substantial changes in hydrology due to water regulation and extraction along the Omo River in neighboring Ethiopia, which provi...
Article
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The mean trophic level of fisheries catch is commonly used to describe and assess temporal trends in fisheries. Though its value as an indicator to evaluate the relative health of fisheries in marine ecosystems has been hotly debated, the metric calculated is clear. We applied this indicator along with a relatively new indicator, the mean trophic l...
Article
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Recent literature has highlighted the exceptional importance of forage fish, which include some of the largest fisheries in the world and produce a sizeable share of the global wild marine fish catch (1). Forage species play an essential and valuable supporting role within marine ecosystems by serving as prey for larger species (2, 3). These findin...
Article
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Lake Turkana is an understudied desert lake shared by Kenya and Ethiopia. This system is at the precipice of large-scale changes in ecological function due to climate change and economic development along its major inflowing river, the Omo River. To anticipate response by the fish community to these changes, we quantified trophic diversity for seve...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Lake Turkana, Kenya, is the world’s largest desert lake and is fed primarily by the Omo River in Ethiopia. Dam and irrigation development will alter the Omo River’s flow patterns over the coming decade, with implications for the lake’s ecological functioning. Despite the importance of the lake’s fishes to the region’s wildlife and tribes, the ecosy...
Conference Paper
The mean trophic level of fisheries catch (mTLY) is commonly used as an index to evaluate the state of fisheries in ecosystems. Here, it was used simply to estimate the mean trophic level of catches for 1) all fisheries, 2) all finfish fisheries, and 3) all forage fisheries. In a similar manner, the mean trophic level of predator consumption (mTLq)...
Article
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) caused by the dinoflagellate Cochlodinium poly krikoides have increased in geographic extent, frequency, and duration in coastal areas worldwide. These blooms have negatively impacted many coastal fisheries, causing mass mortalities of both wild and farmed fish. Forage fish species may be particularly susceptible to HABs...
Article
The Gulf of Mexico (GoM) is a valuable ecosystem both socially and economically, and fisheries contribute substantially to this value. Gulf menhaden, Brevoortia patronus, support the largest fishery in the Gulf (by weight) and provide forage for marine mammals, seabirds and commercially and recreationally important fish species. Understanding the c...
Article
Full-text available
Sharks are a globally threatened group of marine fishes that often breed in their natal region of origin. There has even been speculation that female sharks return to their exact birthplace to breed ("natal philopatry"), which would have important conservation implications. Genetic profiling of lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) from 20 consecut...
Conference Paper
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) caused by the dinoflagellate, Cochlodinium polykrikoides, have increased in geographic extent, frequency, and duration in many coastal areas worldwide. These blooms have negatively impacted many coastal fisheries, causing mass mortalities to both wild and farmed fish. While these mortalities have been well documented for...
Conference Paper
Ellen Pikitch (SUNY-Stony Brook): Forage fish: a crucial link in aquatic ecosystems. Forage fish play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems and economies worldwide by sustaining many predators and fisheries directly and indirectly. The Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force conducted the most comprehensive global analysis of the science and management of f...
Conference Paper
Shinnecock Bay is a New York estuary that was once considered pristine, supporting robust shellfish and recreational finfish fisheries. Over the last several decades, water quality has deteriorated, and the Bay has experienced collapsed fish and shellfish populations, the steady decline of seagrass habitat, and the onset of three harmful algal bloo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The current accelerated extinction tempo and the attendant decline in speciation rates are expected to segue into a mass-extinction event in the next few centuries. It cannot be stopped and will have profound implications for humans not yet born. What can be done? To begin, it is clear that the customary short-term conservation strategies with thei...
Article
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Several developing nations have established shark sanctuaries, most commonly in the form of a moratorium on both commercial shark fishing and the export of shark products in Exclusive Economic Zones ([ 1 ][1]). In her Letter "Shark sanctuaries: Substance or spin?" (21 December 2012, p. [1538][2]), L
Article
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Article
Current global fisheries jeopardize not only individual species but also the overall integrity of marine ecosystems.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Gulf of Mexico (GoM) is a valuable ecosystem both socially and economically, and fisheries contribute substantially to this value. Gulf menhaden, Brevoortia patronus, support the largest fishery in the Gulf (by weight) as well as provide forage for marine mammals, seabirds and commercially and recreationally important fish species. Understandin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Forage fish play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems and economies worldwide by sustaining many predators and fisheries directly and indirectly. We estimated the global forage fish contributions to marine ecosystems through a synthesis of 72 published Ecopath models from around the world. Three distinct contributions of forage fish were examined: 1...
Article
Full-text available
The international wildlife trade is a key threat to biodiversity. Temporal genetic marketplace monitoring can determine if wildlife trade regulation efforts such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are succeeding. Protected under CITES effective 1997, sturgeons and paddlefishes, the producers of black caviar, are...
Article
Full-text available
Carcharhinid sharks can make up a large fraction of the top predators inhabiting tropical marine ecosystems and have declined in many regions due to intense fishing pressure. There is some support for the hypothesis that carcharhinid species that complete their life-cycle within coral reef ecosystems, hereafter referred to as "reef sharks", are mor...
Article
Full-text available
Forage fish play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems and economies worldwide by sustaining many predators and fisheries directly and indirectly. We estimate global forage fish contributions to marine ecosystems through a synthesis of 72 published Ecopath models from around the world. Three distinct contributions of forage fish were examined: (i) th...
Article
Full-text available
Bycatch is a critical source of mortality for marine species, including endangered species, heavily fished commercial and recreational target species, and many species of so-called “trash fish ” whose importance in marine food webs is now being recognized. Whether management objectives include conservation or fisheries yields, adequate measurement...
Conference Paper
Forage fish are, in many ecosystems, the foundation of the marine food web and a critical prey source for marine mammals, seabirds, and higher trophic level fish. They also account for nearly 40% of global wild marine fisheries catch, much of which is processed into fishmeal and fish oil for animal feeds. Most forage fisheries are managed with trad...
Conference Paper
Recognition of bycatch impacts on sustainability of fisheries combined with an impetus for ecosystem approaches to management has created the need for improved understanding of traditionally understudied species. Bycatch events on unassessed species registered by the northeastern US observer program between 2003 and 2006 from bottom trawl, mid-wate...
Conference Paper
Direct overfishing is not the only concern of global fisheries. Bycatch, habitat loss, food web alterations, and shifts in diversity and community composition are all potentially indirect effects on populations of both target and non-target species. The status of non-commercial species is largely unknown as management focus remains on linking chang...
Article
Full-text available
Until recently, large apex consumers were ubiquitous across the globe and had been for millions of years. The loss of these animals may be humankind’s most pervasive influence on nature. Although such losses are widely viewed as an ethical and aesthetic problem, recent research reveals extensive cascading effects of their disappearance in marine, t...
Article
We developed a simulation model, based on observations of the actions of fishermen, to determine how regulations on trips by management agencies may influence discarding behavior at sea. Our model employed the results of a separate dynamic optimization model and data from the Oregon groundfish trawl fishery to predict quantitative patterns of high-...
Article
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Dynamic programming was used to model targeting decisions made by bottom trawling vessels in the U.S. west coast groundfish fishery, under management-imposed limits on landings of each target species (trip limits). A model of choice of assemblage (bottom rockfish (Sebastes sp.) versus deepwater Dover sole (Microstomus pacificus) complex) within a f...
Article
A mixed-species yield-per-recruit model is developed for a portion of the Oregon flatfish fishery. The model is applied to examine the effects of implementing various management policies on fishery yield in weight and revenues for Pacific Marine Fisheries Commission Area 2B. Three types of management policies are considered: maximization of output,...
Article
Full-text available
Numerical definition of species caught together by the groundfish trawl fishery operating off the Oregon and Washington coasts during 1985–87 indicated six major assemblages of species. Observers on commercial vessels recorded data allowing estimation of the weights of commercially important species caught in each tow. Assemblages were selected bas...
Article
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Many fisheries management bodies are considering methods for explicit consideration of uncertainty and risk in harvest decisions. We propose a two-step process where, in the first step, a stock assessment group determines the possible biological and economic "states" of the fishery and evaluates the expected outcomes of different possible managemen...
Article
Oceanic-migratory behavior of adult Atlantic Sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus, was examined using pop-up satellite archival tags (PSAT). Twenty-three Atlantic Sturgeons were caught and tagged with PSATs in the Hudson River, New York during 2006 and 2007. Fifteen of those fish returned to the ocean (with PSATs attached) 6–132 days after tag...
Conference Paper
Fully assessed species make up only 7% of the total number of species and only 34% of species commonly encountered in the Northeast U.S. by NMFS research surveys conducted annually in the fall since 1963 and spring since 1968. Similar percentages are observed for other fishery management regions throughout the country. Consequently, the extent of c...
Conference Paper
It is now well understood that the vast majority of fish populations have been exploited to or beyond their maximum potential, while global demand for products remains high and is increasing. This scenario necessitates an urgent reconciliation of fisheries and conservation concerns. Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) has been widely recomm...
Article
Management of declining fisheries of anadromous species sometimes relies heavily on supplementation of populations with captive breeding, despite evidence that captive breeding can have negative consequences and may not address the root cause of decline. The beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), a species threatened by the market for black caviar and reduct...
Article
Although many sharks begin their life confined in nursery habitats, it is unknown how rapidly they disperse away from their natal area once they leave the nursery. We examine this issue in immature lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) from the time they leave the nursery (approximately age 3) at a subtropical island (Bimini, Bahamas), through to t...
Chapter
Full-text available
Ichthyologists alerted fishery managers three decades ago to the low reproductive capacity of sharks and their high susceptibility to overexploitation. In many instances, it remains impossible to confidently apply current fisheries stock assessment methods to shark populations and to provide compelling scientific evidence to motivate conservation a...
Chapter
Pelagic sharks are caught throughout the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, and total elasmobranch catches reported to the Food and Agriculture Organization averaged around 261,000 metric tons (t) per ocean basin per year from 1988 to 2002. Reported chondrichthyan catches increased during the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in the Indian Ocean, al...
Chapter
IntroductionThe need for oceanic shark research and managementEvaluating the conservation status of open ocean sharksThe future of oceanic sharksReferences
Chapter
Generalized linear models were used to derive indices of abundance for blue (Prionace glauca) and shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) sharks based on two components of the US Atlantic recreational fishery: (1) the private and charter boat recreational anglers covered by the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS, 1981-2002) of the Nat...
Book
This important and exciting title represents the first authoritative volume focussed on pelagic (open ocean) sharks as a group. Virtually every pelagic shark expert in the world has contributed to this landmark publication which includes the latest data and knowledge on pelagic shark biology, fisheries, management, and conservation. Pelagic sharks...
Chapter
Combined approaches utilizing tagging and genetic analysis can provide powerful insight into the biology and management of endangered sturgeons as described in a literature review herein. Since 2003, our team of USA and Republic of Kazakhstan researchers has attempted to use such techniques to study Ural River sturgeons. High-tech (satellite, acous...