For more information on species & ecosystem science:

Wildlife Science

Fish Science

Habitat Science


Project Leads


Bob Pacunski, Senior Groundfish Biologist/ROV Project Manager


Research Focus
- Puget Sound groundfish distribution and    habitat use
- Benthic marine habitat mapping and   modeling
- Remote-sensing survey design
- Unique Puget Sound fish
- Marine reserve design and monitoring

M.S., Fishery Science,  University of Washington
B.S., Biology, Seattle Pacific University

Contact information:

Bob Pacunski, M. Sc.
Senior Groundfish Biologist/ROV Project Manager

Bob Pacunski has been a marine fish biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife since 1992. He began his career building underwater camera systems and conducting scuba and drop-camera surveys of fishes in rocky habitats throughout Puget Sound, and his expertise in remote-sensing technology has led to the Department’s use of remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) as a primary survey tool.  Bob currently serves as a Project Leader with the Marine Fish Science Unit where he is responsible for planning and conducting biological and ecological assessment surveys for Puget Sound marine fish using bottom trawls, scuba diving, and ROVs.  A major focus of Bob’s research has been understanding habitat use patterns of rockfish and other structure-oriented marine species, and the improvement of groundfish survey tools and techniques. During his career Bob has logged over 2100 research scuba dives and over 500 hours piloting small ROVs in Puget Sound and Canada, and he is often called upon to provide scientific and technological advice on marine fishery management, ROV survey methodology, and underwater equipment design and maintenance by agencies along the West Coast.

Current Research

  • The distribution and abundance of ESA-listed rockfish in Puget Sound
  • Deep-water habitat associations of red brotula Brosmophycis marginata in Puget Sound
  • Improved mapping and groundtruthing of benthic habitats in Puget Sound using remote-sensing tools

Selected Publications

  • Estimating Fish Abundance and Community Composition on Rocky Habitats in the San Juan Islands Using a Small Remotely Operated Vehicle
  • Britton-Simmons, K.B. A.L. Rhoades, R.E. Pacunski, A.W. E. Galloway, A. T. Lowe, E. A. Sosik, M.N. Dethier, and D.O. Duggins.  2012.  Habitat and bathymetry influence the landscape-scale distribution and abundance of drift macrophytes and associated invertebrates.  Limnol. Oceanogr., 57(1). pp. 176–184.
  • Pacunski, R.E., W.A. Palsson, H.G. Greene, and D.R. Gunderson. 2008. Conducting visual surveys with a small ROV in shallow water. Pages 109-128 in Marine Habitat Mapping Technology for Alaska, J.R. Reynolds and H.G. Greene, eds. Alaska Sea Grant Program, AK-SG-08-03. 282 p.
  • Palsson, W.A., R.E. Pacunski, T.R. Parra, and J. Beam.  2008.  The Effects of Hypoxia on Marine Fish Populations in Southern Hood Canal, Washington. Am. Fish. Soc. Symp. no. 64, pp. 255-280.