Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Climate anomalies in the California Current Ecosystem have direct and indirect impacts on marine resources and fisheries. Located along the West Coast of the United States, the ecosystem regularly experiences large-scale climate anomalies lasting from months to years (e.g., El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and large marine heatwaves) and state changes, namely shifts from relatively warm to relatively cool regimes described by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Fish are vulnerable to both climate variability and climate change because their underlying metabolic processes, such as food assimilation and respiration, are impacted by temperature. Yelloweye rockfish, Sebastes ruberrimus, are one of the largest and longest-lived rockfishes in the California Current Ecosystem. The reproductive strategy, growth strategy, and high site fidelity of yelloweye rockfish make them especially vulnerable to climate change, giving them a high conservation value. We hypothesized that yelloweye rockfish growth and reproduction would respond differently to anomalous climate events. Using a fish bioenergetics model, we assessed responses such as fish mass, maturity, and larval output between anomalous conditions for a range of life stages. Model results show that yelloweye mass, maturity, and larval output are more sensitive to events when the PDO and ENSO are co-occurring and cause more extreme deviations from average temperatures. Additionally, mass, maturity, and larval output showed a greater response to temperature at shallower depths and consumption at deeper depths. Understanding the impact anomalous events have on yelloweye rockfish bioenergetics is crucial for understanding the future implications of climate change on this already vulnerable species. Future research that identifies species-specific bioenergetic parameters would help improve the predictive ability of the model in order to inform management decisions.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Bates Community After Expiration]

First Advisor

Holly Ewing

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


Available to Bates Community via local IP address or Bates login on Saturday, May 23, 2026.