Young adult herring from Puget Sound.
Margaret Siple
Young adult herring from Puget Sound.

A wise investor plays the financial market by maintaining a variety of stocks. In the long run, the whole portfolio will be more stable because of the diversity of the investments it contains.

It’s this mindset that resource managers should adopt when considering Pacific herring, one of the most ecologically significant fish in Puget Sound and along the entire West Coast, argue the authors of a recent paper appearing in the journal Oecologia.

Just like a financial portfolio contains shares from different companies, the diverse subpopulations of herring from different bays and beaches around Puget Sound collectively keep the total population more stable, the study’s authors found.

“This paper shows that all of these little subpopulations are important to the stability of Puget Sound herring as a whole,” said lead author Margaret Siple, a University of Washington doctoral student in aquatic and fishery sciences.

“If you’re a manager and you need to invest in multiple pieces of a natural resource, it’s helpful to know what the impact will be of diversifying your efforts instead of just focusing on a few spots.”

Read more at UW Today »