Date of Award

Spring 2007

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

James M Pringle


Understanding the population dynamics of commercially harvested species is critical to fishery management. Coupled physical-biological models are powerful tools for exploring interactions among species and their environment. This study creates a coupled, individual-based model to explore interactions between northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine and their physical environment to try to understand the variability in their population from year to year and to draw hypotheses regarding spawning grounds, larval dispersal and settlement success zones for further study.

Model runs are performed using standardized winds to understand the general effects of variability in physical forcing on the population. Runs are then performed using daily wind data over twenty years to test the hypothesis that physical forcing is a first-order determinant of recruitment. No correlations are found, suggesting that sources of recruitment variability lie in biological influences on population dynamics. Strong hypotheses regarding controls on population dynamics are posed.