|Title||PIs||CoPI(s)||Other Project Members||Start Date||End Date||Abstract||Programs||Funding Agency||Implementation Categories||Keywords||Region||Grant/Project Funding Amount||Project Identifer(s)||Project Web Link||Weblink to data and/or metadata||Outreach/Education Description|
|Shifting Seasonality of Arctic River Hydrology Alters Key Biotic Linkages Among Aquatic Systems|
Linda Deegan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our goal is to determine how the shifting seasonality of Arctic river hydrology alters key biotic linkages within and between lake and stream components of watersheds and may alter the function of the Arctic system. Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) is a quintessential, circumpolar Arctic species that provides a model system for understanding the impacts of changing seasonality on arctic ecosystem function because an interconnected and varied landscape (large tundra rivers, small streams and lakes) is required to maintain their population viability. Changes to environmental conditions that disrupt their migration will affect the system-level function of aquatic ecosystems. Grayling serve as food for other biota, including lake trout, birds and humans, and as top-down controls in stream ecosystems suggesting that changes to their populations will have effects that reverberate throughout the coupled river-lake system. The scale and pace of the changes now impacting tundra lakes and streams imparts an urgency to understand how they are linked and how they function as a system.
We are addressing 4 main questions: 1) How are seasonality, rate and distance of grayling migration affected by climate change? 2) Are the seasonality of life-cycles, life-history and attributes of stream insect populations changing in response to climate change? 3) How does changing seasonality of river discharge interact with insect production to affect availability and transfer of stream production to grayling? 4) What is the effect of climate driven disruption of the migratory link on the structure and function of winter refugia?
We are examining the implications of changing climate on key biotic linkages by: 1) retrospective studies of long-term databases of stream flow and temperature and insect and fish productivity and migration, 2) new work on controls on seasonality of migration, stream productivity and trophic transfer and 3) new work on the feedbacks between changing open water season and food webs in winter refugia. These findings will be integrated into a systems-level model, using grayling as the ‘currency’, to evaluate the effects of altered linkages among system components on system level functioning. Improved understanding of the interdependence of lake and stream productivity through biotic linkages will advance our general understanding of landscape ecology, the role of animals in ecosystem dynamics, life-history evolution and ecosystem management of fisheries.
|Arctic System Science Program||National Science Foundation||Understanding Change|
We have participated with MBL's Science Journalism course, taught at Toolik Field Station during the Arctic grayling spring migration. Ten journalists join researchers in the field for hands-on research by counting migrating grayling, reading tags, taking length and weight measurements and assessing diet. One publication resulting from this interaction won the 2009 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Use of Sound. The winning broadcast is entitled "Kuparuk's Grayling Sound a Warning".
Eve Kendrick was awarded NSF Research Experience for Teachers (RET) funding and was at Toolik Field Station in 2011 doing a comparison study of Arctic grayling young-of-the-year dynamics across the North Slope of the Brooks Range. While at Toolik, Eve participated in the Arctic LTER Schoolyard Saturday, a weekly seminar series by visiting and resident scientists, based at Barrow, Alaska, for Inupiat Eskimos. Eve's blog entitled "More YOY and a day with the RAHI high school students"was posted on July 21, 2011.
|Bering Sea Sub Network: A Distributed Human Sensor Array to Detect Arctic Environmental Change|
Lilian Alessa (email@example.com)
This award will support the continued implementation of the Bering Sea Sub-Network (BSSN), a regional initiative of community-based organizations in Western Alaska and Northeast Russia. The "Intellectual Merit" of BSSN lies in its operation as a distributed network which employs people as individual, coordinated sensors for local environmental observations of socio-ecological change. BSSN will address the following questions: (1) how have economically significant species changed over the past century and what strategies have residents used to cope with these changes; (2) what key biophysical variables and indicators may be correlated to changes in distribution and properties of ecologically significant species; (3) how well do indigenous and traditional knowledge and Western science show spatial/temporal convergence and statistical correlation at local and regional scales; and (4) what are the major trends, patterns and constraints in individual and community adaptation to changes? The "Broader Impacts" of this award include a better understanding of Arctic environmental system change and resilience, and how to develop appropriate adaptation strategies to change for Arctic communities. BSSN will leave a legacy for a broad community of arctic residents striving to organize an observing system that is a valid partner in pan-Arctic environmental system observations. A key product will be a widely disseminated and highly accessible publication entitled The State of the Bering Sea Bioresources: Perspectives of Local Residents, an assessment based on observations of local and indigenous observers. Other products will include a tool kit for communities to develop their own observing programs based on the framework of BSSN, and an annual illustrated magazine aimed at the village and regional levels.
|Arctic Observing Network||National Science Foundation|
Education / Outreach
|NOAA-FOCI (Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations)|
Allen Macklin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FOCI (Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations) is a joint research program between the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (NOAA/National Marine Fisheries/AFSC) and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (NOAA/Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research/PMEL). The program was established by NOAA in 1984 to study relationships between the marine environment and the survival of commercially valuable fish in the western Gulf of Alaska. Walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) was the first fish species examined in these studies. Since the inception of the program, the scope has evolved to encompass study of the ecosystems of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea with the goals of improving understanding of ecosystem dynamics and applying that understanding to the management of marine resources.
FOCI comprises physical and biological oceanographers, atmospheric scientists, and fisheries biologists from federal and academic institutions. FOCI promotes cooperation between scientific disciplines, while determining the influence of the physical environment on marine populations and the subsequent impact on fisheries. Substantial variations exist in the natural processes of the Gulf of Alaska. Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands, ranging from temperature and salinity changes, to fluctuations in sea-ice extent, atmospheric forcing, tidal influences, freshwater influx, productivity and mixed-layer depth. These variations occur on many timescales: seasonal, annual, decadal and longer. FOCI scientists integrate field, laboratory and modeling studies to determine how varying biological and physical environmental trends influence this large region.
|National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration||Observing Change|
Gulf of Alaska
North Pacific Ocean
|Sea Ice Algae, a Major Food Source for Herbivorous Plankton and Benthos in the Eastern Bering Sea|
Rolf Gradinger (email@example.com)
Funds are provided to study the role of sea ice algae in the food web of the eastern Bering Sea shelf ecosystem. The scarce observations available from the Bering Sea indicate that ice algal production may be as high as 30% of the phytoplankton production; during times of ice cover, ice algal biomass can be nearly as high as integrated pelagic algal biomass. The overarching hypothesis of this proposal is that sea ice algae are the major food source for pelagic and benthic herbivores in spring, specifically during periods of ice melt. In addressing this hypothesis, this proposal aims at providing information on the spatial and temporal patterns of abundance, biomass, community composition and productivity of sea ice algae and phytoplankton just below the ice in relation to the physical and chemical environment. Environmental measurements will include salinity, temperature, and nutrient concentrations in ice cores and under-ice water, as well as ice thickness, snow cover and light regime. Sedimenting material, stable isotope ratios (d13C, d15N) and algal community composition will be used as three lines of evidence to follow the fate of ice algal production through the pelagic and into the benthic food web of the Bering Sea. Field work conducted during different ice cover regimes will be augmented with experimental work on pelagic and benthic herbivores, producing the first-ever stable isotope turnover rate measurements for any Bering Sea invertebrates. The combined data set will allow for a refined interpretation of the relevance of the sea ice produced organic matter for the food web structure in the Bering Sea.
This project is part of a larger program designed to develop understanding of the integrated ecosystem of the eastern Bering Sea shelf, a highly productive region of US coastal waters. This ecosystem is home to a major portion of the commercial fisheries of the US and also provides significant resources to subsistence hunters and fisherman of Alaska. Understanding role of sea ice algae in this system is essential to being able to predict how and why the system may respond to changes in sea ice conditions, such as have been observed in recent years.
|Bering Ecosystem Study||National Science Foundation||Understanding Change|