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Pop Dy Fellow Models Fish Populations in US South Atlantic

Over the next three years Mark will use quantitative modeling to investigate the effects of external influences—including human, food web, and environmental factors—on dozens

By Katharine Sucher, Science Writing Intern 

Mark Stratton. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Mark Stratton. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Former Virginia Sea Grant graduate fellow Mark Stratton is now an NMFS Population and Ecosystem Dynamics fellow. Over the next three years Mark will use quantitative modeling to investigate the effects of external influences—including human, food web, and environmental factors—on dozens of near shore fish populations in the US South Atlantic. He will also develop a preliminary stock assessment model for US South Atlantic white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus). White shrimp is one of most economically-important species in the region.

“Successful implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management first requires a basic understanding of how other species and environmental conditions affect the abundance and composition of fish stocks,” Mark said. “The purpose of my research is to contribute to better understand these relationships for US South Atlantic stocks.”

Mark will work with stock assessment scientists to evaluate the US South Atlantic white shrimp stock, a project which has never been done on a regional scale. Mark likens his research approach to that taken by scientists when conducting full stock assessments. The experience will provide him with valuable training in his field of study.

Mark graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rhodes College in 2006, a master’s degree in marine biology in 2011 from the College of Charleston, and is currently pursuing a PhD in marine science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He is a former fisheries technician at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.