Zach Olsen, Quantitative Fisheries Ecology Group Jennifer McKinney, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Graduate Student

Zachary T. Olsen

Graduate Research Assistant
Quantitative Fisheries Ecology Group


Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
703 East Beach Drive
Ocean Springs, MS 39564



Research Interest

My research involves quantifying the trophic role of Gulf Menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) in the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.  I am using stable isotope analysis to examine spatial and temporal patterns in assimilated carbon and nitrogen and to trace their movement through the food chain.  I am also interested in the assimilation of pollutants into the food chain and their detection at higher trophic levels using stable isotope analysis.  Gulf and Atlantic Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) are harvested for many industrial and agricultural products, including fish oil and fishmeal, and support the second largest commercial fishery in the nation, second only to west coast Pollock, by volume.  Menhaden also play multiple roles in the ecosystem as filter feeders and as important forage fish for other larger economically important predatory fish such as Spotted Sea Trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and Bluefish (Pomotomus saltatrix).  For this reason, it is important that we understand their role in the complex food web of the Gulf. 

Research Presentations