New research paper accepted at CJFAS

On August, a manuscript written by Dr. Jason Hwan and coauthored by myself and colleagues in France and the US was accepted at Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (check it online here). In this research, I participated in the modelling of coho salmon and steelhead trout survival by analysing a 4-year capture-recapture dataset under a multievent framework that corrected existing heterogeneity on recapture probability, thus yielding robust and more reliable demographic quantities about the study populations. We found that summer survival of salmonids found in intermittent streams can be surprisingly high, but decreases significantly towards the end of the season, especially in drier years.


Steelhead or Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Source: Wikipedia

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WCNRM Barcelona 2017

Last week, I travelled to Barcelona to participate at the World Conference on Natural Resource Modelling (WCNRM) where I gave a talk about my past research in Norway regarding population dynamics of European lobster inside and outside MPAs and presented a poster about my current research on brown trout and the influence of individual traits on the post-release survival of juveniles after introduction into a natural stream.

During the conference, I reunited with old colleagues, met new people and listened to great speakers. The main topic was the management of natural resources with the aim to increase their resilience to anthropogenic change, resulting in a range of varied and interesting presentations, from how to manage fire-prone ecosystems to conserve endangered marsupials in Australia to how to improve winter survival of European honey-bee colonies affected by multiple stressors. Overall, a small-format international meeting with nice people sharing their research and ideas while enjoying summer time in Barcelona. Feels good!

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River ecology class fieldwork

This month I have done some hours of teaching at the University, which involved going with the students to 2 mountain rivers in northern Spain as part of their river ecology class. During the field trips, the students learned how to conduct different water measurements (pH, conductivity, stream flow) and how to collect invertebrate samples and identify major groups of biodindicators. The objective of these fieldtrips was to introduce students to basic fieldwork techniques and to directly examine several biotic and abiotic characteristics of the rivers on-site. In the following days, the students will work on the data collected and write a final report about the two study sites based on the results of their analyses.


The two rivers where sampling was conducted (river Trubia and river Teverga) are located in the Cantabrian mountains, in Asturias (Northern Spain). Both rivers form gorges and are surrounded by dense decidous forests with abundance of chestnut trees. During the fieldtrips we did not observe any large fauna but among the samples collected by the students there were a large number of interesting invertebrates, such as water snails, mayflies and tricopters, all of them indicators of good water quality.

More fieldtrip posts soon!


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New publication at CJFAS

Recently, a paper authored by myself and colleagues from IMR has seen the light at the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. This research focuses on the mortality causes of coastal Atlantic cod in Skagerrak (Southern Norway), using a Multi-event modelling approach to obtain cause-specific mortality probabilities for the different types of fishing gear used in the region. We expect our results to improve local knowledge on cod mortality and to influence future management decisions. You can download/read the full article in my researchgate profile page.

Fernandez-Chacon, A., Moland, E., Espeland, S. H., Kleiven, A. R., & Olsen, E. M. (2016). Causes of mortality in depleted populations of Atlantic cod estimated from multi-event modelling of mark-recapture and recovery data.Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, (DOI:10.1139/cjfas-2015-0313).

Atlantic Cod (Photo credit: Oystein Paulsen)

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BEFISH-UCBerkeley collaboration

My colleague David Villegas Ríos just blogged about our meeting in June. Check out his Marie-Curie project in Norway here.


BE-FISH Marie Curie Project

This week has been very intense and productive for the BE-FISH team. We have been meeting and working together with Prof. Stephanie Carlson from UC Berkeley and Albert Fernández Chacón from University of Oviedo. We have been developing ideas and working together on the role of marine reserves as buffers against harvest selection. Results will come to light soon.


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Visit to Norway and Flødevigen Research Station

Last week, I flew to Norway to meet my colleagues from the Flødevigen Research Station in Arendal. This was our second meeting after the visit to UC-Berkeley, and we worked on the ideas discussed in November, structuring the future paper coming out from this collaboration between Norway and California, in which I am involved.


View from the Research Station (Flødevigen)

The week was very productive in terms of work. For me it was also an opportunity to come back to the Flødevigen Station, where I worked as a postdoc for 2 years, and catch up with all my former workmates and friends there.


Mykland landscape (lakes, pine forests and prairies)

During the week, I had also time to explore the spectacular Norwegian woods in late spring, booming with plant and animal life. I went to hike with my friend Arne Flor, a local wildlife expert, in the Mykland forest, some kms north of Arendal, a diverse landscape of rocky outcrops, mixed forests, prairies, bogs and lakes. During our hike, we could find a Great spotted woodpecker nest with chicks and several capercaillie droppings, together with a pine marten scat and several signals of moose presence (tracks, excrements and scratched tree bark).

The most amazing think is to find such a wild  and quiet place 30 minutes away from one of the largest cities in Southern Norway! This is a place worth to come back again and again.

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Starting a new Postdoc!

On June 1st, I joined the Biodiversity Research Unit at the Oviedo University Campus in Mieres (Spain), as a Postdoctoral Fellow (Juan de la Cierva-Formación). This will be my professional location for the next 2 years.


More news soon!

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Visit to California and UC-Berkeley

Last November, me and colleagues of IMR flew to San Francisco to attend a one-week meeting at UC-Berkeley hosted by the Carlson Lab. During this week we stayed at the Berkeley campus and we had the privilege to be side-by-side with a large number of professors, students and postdocs, go to talks, exchange research ideas and experiences and set up future collaborations.


IMR and UC Berkeley team, from left to right: David Villegas-Ríos (IMR), Amanda Faig (UC Berkeley), Sebastian Nusslé (UC Berkeley), Stephanie Carlson (UC Berkeley), Esben M. Olsen (IMR), Albert Fernández-Chacón (IMR) and Even Moland (IMR)


Aftter the meetings, I took 4 days to travel around California with my girlfriend, before leaving the State. We started our tour in San Francisco and drove to Sequoya and Kings Canyon National Park, where we spent 2 days enjoying the landscapes of Sierra Nevada and hiking among the largest trees in the world. On our way back we drove along the coast, from Santa Cruz to San Francisco, stopping at Año Nuevo State Park, where we could watch a group of juvenile Northern elephant seals on the beach.


The Kaweah river, flowing from California’s Sierra Nevada to the Central Valley


Juvenile elephan seals playing, Año Nuevo beach

Such an amazing place! We hope to come back to California soon!

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The European Comission highlights our research on Atlantic Cod and MPAs

Last October, the information service of the Environment directorate of the European Comission released a summary of our recent paper adressing the influence of partial protection on the population dynamics of Atlantic cod, highlighting their importance for future management strategy. We hope our research will be used to guide future EU policies and end up in more sustainable fisheries!

EU comission Cod paper

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Tortoises and climate change paper, highly cited

Our publication in Global Change Biology has reached 21 citations, making it the top cited one in my research gate profile. In this paper, we examined the relationship between tortoise survival and meteorological variables at Punta de la Banya reserve in the Ebro Delta Natural Park (Catalonia, Spain), and used this information, together with known survival and fecundity values from other populations across Southern Europe, to forecast local population growth under different climatic scenarios for the global geographic distribution of the species. This research highlighted first a positive relationship between winter rainfall and juvenile tortoise survival, and second, the higher vulnerability to climate change of populations already suffering a large number of threats diminishing their fitness (urbanization, fires, mesopredator increases, poaching). The figure below shows the predicted population growth under a dry (low rainfall) scenario for the 21st century (red-orange = population decrease, blue= population increase, yellow-green = stable). In this worst case scenario, even populations living in protected areas without human disturbances, such as those in Punta de la Banya, could become extinct by the end of the century due to a loss of new recruits caused by increasing aridity.

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