Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean Science and Technology

Committee Chair

Robert T. Leaf

Committee Chair Department

Ocean Science and Technology

Committee Member 2

Frank J. Hernandez

Committee Member 2 Department

Ocean Science and Technology

Committee Member 3

Wei Wu

Committee Member 3 Department

Ocean Science and Technology


Gulf Menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) is an abundant forage fish distributed throughout the Northern Gulf of Mexico (NGOM). Gulf Menhaden support the second largest fishery, by weight, in the United States and represent a key linkage between upper and lower trophic levels. Variation in the population dynamics can, therefore, pose consequences for the ecology and economy in the NGOM. Here we aim to understand variation in the individual and population dynamics of Gulf Menhaden throughout ontogeny and how such variation relates to environmental processes. We utilized a suite of fishery-dependent and –independent, remote sensing, modeled, and in situ data to explicitly model the relationship between the condition, distribution, and growth of Gulf Menhaden and river discharge, climate, temperature, wind, mesoscale circulation, and hypoxia using a series of regression techniques. Results presented here advance our understanding of the biology and ecology Gulf Menhaden and can be used to inform future ecosystem based fisheries management in the NGOM.