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Pacific blue mussel (Mytilus trossulus) abundance in the Gulf of Alaska: Synthesis of Gulf Watch data (2006-2013) and a consideration of major recruitment events (1989-2013)

October 12, 2015

Pacific blue mussels (Mytilus trossulus) are abundant and wide-spread primary consumers in the intertidal zone throughout the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). As a component of the Gulf Watch Alaska monitoring program, they represent a key member of intertidal communities and an important prey resource to a number of nearshore vertebrate predators. Our goal is to understand variation in abundance of M. trossulus over large temporal and spatial scales and over a variety of habitats in the northern GOA to determine the bottom-up factors that influence recruitment and the top-down forces that control total biomass. This information is needed to predict consequences of variation due to incremental climate change, periodic regime shifts, and catastrophic change caused by oil spills or natural events such as severe winters.