Alex Hanke

Research Scientist

Current research and/or projects

  • Determined the level of observer coverage and appropriate stratification to maximize the precision of bycatch estimates for 7 marine species. Estimated the bycatch of cusk by the lobster fishery in LFA 34 and produced bycatch estimates for all Scotian Shelf and Georges Bank commercial species by managed fishery and NAFO area.
  • Developed for the New Brunswick Salmon Growers Association a functional suite of instrumentation and a methodology for assessing the impact of a range of environmental conditions on the performance of present and future aquaculture installations.
  • Described the distribution (vertical, horizontal and temporal) of toxic phytoplankton in the Bay of Fundy and examined the movement of virtual viral particles between salmon farms in the Bay of Fundy.
  • Developed software that estimates fish weight from images stored on VHS tape and created a relational database to efficiently track fish growth for salmon cod, trout, haddock and sturgeon.
  • Described the distribution and abundance of age disaggregated cod in NAFO division 4VsW for the twenty-five years from 1970 to 1994. The observed patterns were correlated with bottom water temperatures and salinities. Geostatistical software was developed to provide the estimates of cod abundance, spatially map cod distribution and correlate cod distribution with trends in the physical environment.
  • Examined the effects of hatch time and family competition on the growth of a grilse and a two-seawinter stock of Atlantic salmon parr.

Research and/or project statements

Alex Hanke is a Research Scientist in the Population Ecology Section at the St. Andrews Biological Station. He has broad experience as an oceanographer, a fish geneticist and quantitative fisheries ecologist. As part of the Large Pelagics Group, he is concerned with International Governance Strategy issues related to Atlantic bluefin tuna, swordfish and marine turtles. His current research interests include understanding the life cycle and behaviour of the western Atlantic bluefin tuna population, improving the western Atlantic bluefin tuna stock assessment through improved indices of abundance, and examining ocean climate influences on the distribution and abundance of western Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Education and awards

  • B.Sc. Biology (1985, University of Guelph)
  • M.Sc. Quantitative Genetics (1988, University of New Brunswick)
  • Ph.D. Quantitative Genetics (1992, University of New Brunswick)

Key publications

  • Hanke, A.R., F.H. Page and J. Neilson. 2001. Distribution of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) eggs and larvae on the Scotian Shelf, Eastern Gulf of Maine, Bay of Fundy and Eastern Georges Bank. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2329: iii + 133p.
  • Dowd, M., J. Martin, M. Legresley, A.R. Hanke, F.H. Page. 2004. A statistical method for the robust detection of interannual changes in plankton abundance: analysis of monitoring data from the Bay of Fundy, Canada. Journal of Plankton Research 26: 509-523.
  • Martin, J.L., F.H. Page, A. R. Hanke, P.M. Strain, M.M. LeGresley. 2005. Alexandrium fundyense vertical distribution patterns during 1982, 2001 and 2002 in the offshore Bay of Fundy, eastern Canada. IN: Deep-Sea Research 52: 2569-2592.
  • Page, F.H., J.L. Martin, A.R. Hanke and M.M. LeGresley. 2006. Temporal and spatial variability in the characteristics ofAlexandrium fundyense blooms in the coastal zone of the Bay of Fundy, Eastern Canada. African Journal of Marine Science 28: 203–207.
  • Harris, L.E., and A.R. Hanke. 2010. Assessment of the Status, Threats and Recovery Potential of Cusk (Brosme brosme). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2010/004. vi + 23 p.
  • Paul, S.D., A. Hanke, S.C. Smith, and J.D. Neilson. 2010. An Examination of Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) Encounters in the Canadian Swordfish and Tuna Longline Fishery. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2010/088: vi + 32.
  • Hanke, A.R. 2010. Open Ocean Aquaculture Research Project Phase II. NBSGA Offshore Aquaculture Project, Final ACOA Report, Contribution No. 706083, 43 p.
  • Gavaris, S, K.J. Clark, A.R. Hanke, C.F. Purchase and J. Gale. 2010. Overview of discards from Canadian commercial fisheries in NAFO Divisions 4V, 4W, 4X, 5Y and 5Z for 2002-2006. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2873: vi + 112 p.
  • Hanke, A.R. and J.D. Neilson. 2011. Catch Rate Standardization for the Canadian Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Bluefin Tuna Fishery, 1981 to 2009. Int. Comm. Conserv. Atl. Tunas Coll. Vol. Sci. Pap., Madrid 66: 762-774.
  • Vanderlaan, A.S.M., B.A. Block, J. Chassé, A. Hanke, M.E. Lutcavage, S.G. Wilson, and J.D. Neilson. 2011. Initial investigations of environmental influences on Atlantic bluefin tuna catch rates in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Int. Comm. Conserv. Atl. Tunas Coll. Vol. Sci. Pap., Madrid 66: 1204-1215.
  • Hanke, A.R., I. Andrushchenko and G. Croft. 2011. Observer Coverage of the Atlantic Canadian swordfish and other tuna longline fisheries: an assessment of current practices and alternative methods. CSA Working Paper 2011/28.

Research facility

125 Marine Science Drive
St. Andrews, NB E5B 0E4


  • Animal breeding (Salmon Genetics Research Program, 1986-1992)
  • Stock assessment (Marine Fish Division, DFO, 1992-1994)
  • Salmon and Urchin aquaculture (DFO, Green Gold and Fundy Data Acquisition Ltd., 1994-2002)
  • Coastal oceanography and aquaculture engineering (Oceans Science, DFO, 1998-2010)
  • Phytoplankton ecology (Ocean Science, DFO, 2000-2008)