In Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska there are ongoing studies of Dungeness Crab (Cancer magister) and Pacific Halibut (Hippoglosus stenolepis). Scientists of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) are attempting to ascertain life history, distribution, and abundance, and to determine the effects of commercial fishing in the park (Carlson et al., 1998). Statistical sampling studies suggest that seafloor characteristics and bathymetry affect the distribution, abundance and behavior of benthic species. Examples include the distribution of Dungeness crab which varies from 78 to 2012 crabs/ha in nearshore areas to depths of 18 m (O'Clair et al., 1995), and changes in halibut foraging behavior according to bottom type (Chilton et al., 1995).
This report discusses geophysical data collected in six areas within the park in 1998. The geophysical surveying done in this and previous studies will be combined with existing population and sonic-tracking data sets as well as future sediment sampling, scuba, submersible, and bottom video camera observations to better understand Dungeness crab and Pacific halibut habitat relationships.