Ginny Eckert

Ginny Eckert


Director – Alaska Sea Grant

Fisheries Ecology
Fisheries Oceanography
Marine Biology
Marine Invertebrates

College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
Department of Fisheries
221 Lena Point Bldg.
17101 Point Lena Loop Rd
Juneau, AK 99801-8344
907-796-5447 (fax)


University of California Santa Barbara
Ph.D. Ecology

University of Florida
M.S. Zoology

Dartmouth College
B.A. Biology


Curriculum Vitae



Selected Publications

B. Daly, G. L. Eckert and T. D. White. (2013). "Predation of hatchery-cultured juvenile red king crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus) in the wild Canadian". Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 70(3):358-366.

B. Daly, J. S. Swingle and G. L. Eckert. (2013). "Dietary astaxanthin supplementation for hatchery-cultured red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, juveniles". Aquaculture Nutrition. 19(3):312-320.

K. M. Swiney, G. L. Eckert and G. H. Kruse. (2013). "Does maternal size affect Red King Crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, embryo and larval quality?". Journal of Crustacean Biology. 33(4):470-480.

Okamoto, D.K., M.S. Stekoll, and G.L. Eckert. (2013). "Coexistence despite recruitment inhibition of kelps by subtidal algal crusts". Marine Ecology Progress Series. 493:103–112.
doi: 10.3354/meps10505

S. D. Larson, Z. N. Hoyt, G. L. Eckert and V. A. Gill. (2013). "Impacts of sea otter (Enhydra lutris) predation on commercially important sea cucumbers (Parastichopus californicus) in southeast Alaska Canadian". Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 70(10):1498-1507.
doi: 10.1139/Cjfas-2013-0025

B. Daly, J. S. Swingle and G. L. Eckert. (2012). "Increasing hatchery production of juvenile red king crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus) through size grading". Aquaculture. 364:206-211.

Daly, B., J. Swingle and G.L. Eckert. (2012). "Dietary astaxanthin supplementation for hatchery-cultured red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, juveniles". Aquaculture Nutrition.
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2095.2012.00963.x

K.M. Swiney, W.C. Long, G.L. Eckert, and G.H. Kruse. (2012). "Red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, size-fecundity relationship, and inter-annual and seasonal variability in fecundity". Journal of Shellfish Research. 31:925-933.

Pirtle, J.L., S.N. Ibarra, and G.L. Eckert. (2012). "Nearshore benthic community structure compared between inner coast and outer coast sites in Southeast Alaska". Polar Biology. 35:1889-1919.
doi: 10.1007/s00300-012-1231-2

G. L. Eckert, D. R. Bellwood and R. J. Whittaker. (2009). "Southeast Alaska marine ecology and biogeography". Journal of Biogeography. 36(3):385-475.
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.02069.x

K. Cieciel, B. J. Pyper and G. L. Eckert. (2009). "Tag Retention and Effects of Tagging on Movement of the Giant Red Sea Cucumber Parastichopus californicus". North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 29(2):288-294.
doi: 10.1577/M07-194.1


  • ecology
  • management and aquaculture of commercially important marine invertebrates


Research Overview

My research is driven by the belief that we can sustainably manage living marine resources and that population and early life history ecology can contribute to this process. Larval dispersal and connectivity remain as great questions in marine ecology and ones that are critical for management of living marine resources because many marine species and all commercially important invertebrates have larvae that disperse in the water column and are transported from adult habitat. Marine ecology has undergone a paradigm shift in the last several decades, as it is now appreciated that while larvae may spend a long duration in the plankton and can cross ocean basins, it may be more common that larvae are retained near adult populations or migrate in currents that travel far but return larvae to the vicinity of their source population. As we learn more about these early life stages and oceanographic processes, the “vagaries of the plankton” seem less vague and, in fact, appear quite well suited to the marine environment. Although many Alaskan fisheries are healthy, many invertebrate stocks have declined and some are depleted. I believe that knowledge of the early life history will provide essential information for regeneration of these stocks and will provide additional means for assessing population status and fishery management. My research has specifically focused on three crab species, Dungeness crab, snow crab and king crab; and the focus within each species is tailored to the questions of interest and the level of background information for that species.


Current Research Projects

  • Enhancement of habitat in Lynn Canal
  • Interactions of sea otters with commercially important macroinvertebrates. As the number and range of sea otters in southeastern Alaska has grown, so has the level of concern among commercial and subsistence fishermen who harvest species such as geoduck clams, sea cucumbers, red sea urchins, and Dungeness crab. Areas previously open to commercial harvest have either been closed by state managers or have been determined by fishermen to no longer hold enough resources to warrant any fishing effort. Subsistence users report declining crab and shellfish harvests in areas recently recolonized by sea otters, as well. This project brings together graduate students (Zac Hoyt, Sean Larson, Alice Smoker) and faculty (me, Sunny Rice) from the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and staff from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Verena Gill) to examine the population, distribution, movement, and diet of sea otters in the region.
  • Marine Ecosystem Sustainability in the Arctic and Subarctic. I am the Director of this NSF-funded interdisciplinary graduate education and research training (IGERT) program in Marine Ecosystem Sustainability in the Arctic and Subarctic (MESAS). This program prepares professionals to solve problems arising at the interface between dynamic environmental and social systems. Graduates will be well-prepared to contribute to both the understanding and management of marine ecosystems to ensure ecosystem-based strategies for the sustainable use of living marine resources in the context of competing local, national, and international interests. Across the nation, and particularly in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems, these competing interests demand complex solutions
  • requiring knowledge not provided in traditional graduate programs. Alaska is an ideal location to realize this new vision for an ecosystem-based approach to the sustainable use of living marine resources. Here, as elsewhere in the circumpolar north, anthropogenic and naturally-forced changes in climate, oceanography, marine biological communities and ecosystems, fisheries and maritime human communities are already dramatic and will have broad consequences. While these changes are particularly pronounced in the Arctic and Subarctic, similar forces are changing marine ecosystems throughout the world. Professional scientists educated in Alaska will have excellent preparation for a career in marine ecosystems anywhere in the world.
  • Recruitment of Dungeness crabs. This research program examines temporal and spatial patterns of Dungeness crab larval and settler abundance in and around Glacier Bay, Alaska , one of the largest temperate marine reserves in the United States, as a step towards assessing the effectiveness of Glacier Bay as a marine reserve and to understand processes and mechanisms that affect replenishment of Dungeness crab stocks by settlement of young. My laboratory is examining relationships between late-stage larval abundance, settler abundance, and adult populations in locations with and without commercial fishing to make inferences to fished populations of Dungeness crabs in Southeast Alaska. I now have a valuable time series of eight years of late-stage larval and juvenile abundance, and as these individuals age will be able to relate them to adult populations. Collaborators, several graduate students (Heidi Herter, Quinn Smith) and many undergraduate students have participated in this research.
  • Aquaculture and enhancement of king crabs. This research program on the early life histories of king crab centers around developing methodologies for hatchery rearing and assessing habitat requirements of newly settled individuals. I am the Science Team leader for the Alaska king crab research, rehabilitation, and biology (AKCRRAB) program that is investigating the potential for red king crab hatchery rearing and field outplanting. Current research projects at the hatchery in Seward focus on investigating methods of scaling up larval culture, including experiments on larval density and feeding. (Collaborators include Ben Daly [PhD student], Celeste Leroux [MS student], Sara Persselin and Robert Foy [both NOAA]). King crab research projects in Juneau include an experimental test of the functional importance of biogenic invertebrate habitats for juveniles (Jodi Pirtle, PhD student) as well as a study of growth, abundance of juveniles in the field, and a comparison of wild-caught and hatchery-raised individuals (with Sherry Tamone [UAS] and Miranda Westphal [MS student]).
  • Crab reproductive potential. The incorporation of reproductive potential in the development of biological reference points is a pressing fishery management need for Bering Sea crab stocks. A review by the Center for Independent Experts determined that current assessments of reproductive potential are inadequate for this purpose. They determined that a quantitative understanding of the contribution of female crabs of differing life histories are needed to replace the current, crude measure of reproductive output based on total female biomass. This project includes concurrent laboratory experiments and field collections over a period of four years for Bristol Bay red king crab and eastern Bering Sea snow crab to provide data to improve assessment of reproductive potential and understanding population dynamics for these two stocks. This is a collaborative project with Joel Webb (PhD student), Gordon Kruse (UAF), and Kathy Swiney (NOAA).