ARI Announcement of Opportunity

Date: 
16 October 1997

Dear Colleague:

This is an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) and Call for Proposals for
the 1998-99 NOAA Arctic Research Initiative. While the level of funding
is still uncertain, proposals are being solicited for two-year research
projects, and must be received at the NOAA/University of Alaska
Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research (CIFAR) no later than 5:00
p.m., 15 December 1997. This AO can also be found on the CIFAR home
page on the Internet at http://www.cgc.uaf.edu/cifar. Please forward
this announcement to other interested members of the research community.

Thank you.

Gunter Weller Director, CIFAR

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ARCTIC RESEARCH INITIATIVE: HEALTH OF THE WESTERN ARCTIC/BERING SEA
ECOSYSTEM

ANNOUNCEMENT OF OPPORTUNITY AND CALL FOR PROPOSALS

INTRODUCTION

The Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research (CIFAR) announces the
availability of funds for studies on the Health of the Western
Arctic/Bering Sea Ecosystem. These funds will be made available from the
Department of Commerce/NOAA through the Arctic Research Initiative which
started in FY97. This is a call for proposals in two research areas:
1) natural variability of the Western Arctic/Bering Sea ecosystem, and
2) anthropogenic influences on the Western Arctic/Bering Sea ecosystem.
Proposals are solicited for two-year research projects, but funding for
the second year is contingent on funds being available. The Arctic
Research Initiative is being coordinated by the NOAA/University of
Alaska Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research (CIFAR).

The Arctic Research Initiative's overall goal is to address the
following national arctic policy objectives: * Protecting the arctic
environment and conserving its biological resources. * Assuring that
natural resource management and economic development are environmentally
sustainable. * Strengthening institutions for international
cooperation. * Involving the region's indigenous people in decisions
that affect them

International connections are also relevant. This includes the Arctic
Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) and particularly its AMAP
(Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme). Japan has proposed
collaboration with the United States in research and development toward
realization of global change prediction and Japan's Frontier Research
System for Global Change Prediction is very similar to the U.S. Global
Change Research Program (USGCRP). It includes plans for arctic research
to be conducted by an Inter-national Arctic Research Center (IARC), now
under development at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Finally,
opportunities for cooperation exist under the U.S.- Russia Arctic
Climate Initiative. Further information on some of these programs can be
found on the list of web pages below.

BACKGROUND AND GEOGRAPHICAL AREA

There are several reasons why this initiative focuses on the Western
Arctic/Bering Sea region, including the importance of the fisheries and
marine mammals, the presence of coastal communities, the cultural and
economic value of this area, and the need to address issues of
sustainable use of resources. In addition, this initiative is in
support of the CIFAR research theme of Environmental Monitoring,
Assessment, and Numerical Modeling. The Bering Sea contains a
tremendous variety of biological resources, including at least 450
species of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks; 50 species of seabirds; and
25 species of marine mammals. High primary production supporting this
ecosystem is found at the retreating ice edge in spring, and along the
frontal areas along the shelf. Primary production in the Bering Sea is
highly variable seasonally and spatially. The physical environment is
dominated through much of the year by sea ice, which is a prominent
feature over the Bering Sea shelf during the winter months. The ice
edge in the Eastern Bering Sea advances and retreats seasonally over a
distance as great as 1,000 km, and there is extraordinary interannual
variability in ice cover as well as a trend towards less ice in recent
years. The Bering Sea region is of great international interest and
attention since it is one of the largest remaining fisheries in the
world, heavily utilized by many nations.

While the Arctic Research Initiative focuses on the Bering Sea, the
surrounding regions of the Western Arctic, which are connected to the
Bering Sea through various processes and interactions, are also targets
of this initiative. These connections include the large-scale
circulation of the atmosphere and the ocean which transport heat,
momentum, moisture, sea ice and contaminants into and out of the region.
Contaminants transport and ecological risk assessment due to the
contaminants are an important concern in the region. Areas where there
is already a major research effort or facility, such as Barrow, where
other resources could be leveraged and combined with those of the
initiative are of particular interest.

THE ARCTIC RESEARCH INITIATIVE

The scope of the Arctic Research Initiative program is broad. The focus
will continue to be on "Health of the Western Arctic/Bering Sea
Ecosystem", in particular, on two major research areas: 1. Study of the
natural variability of the Western Arctic/Bering Sea Ecosystem. 2.
Study of anthropogenic influences on the Western Arctic/Bering Sea
Ecosystem.

The Arctic Research Initiative includes four major sub-topics:

Natural variability of the Western Arctic/Bering Sea ecosystem 1. The
Bering Sea Green Belt: processes and ecosystem production. 2.
Atmosphere-ice-ocean processes that influence ecosystem variability.

Anthropogenic influences on the Western Arctic/Bering Sea ecosystem 3.
Arctic haze, ozone and UV flux and their potential impacts 4.
Contaminant inputs, fate and effects on the ecosystem.

1) The Bering Sea Green Belt: Processes and Ecosystem Production.

The Green Belt is a region of sustained high primary production located
over the outer shelf and slope of the Bering Sea. Ecosystem production
is also focused here as evidenced by large numbers of fish, marine
mammals, and birds. This abundance must be the result of physical
mechanisms, primary production and food web structure and function. The
physical, chemical and biological processes accounting for this
abundance, however, are poorly defined or unknown. The goal of this
research component is to define and understand the physical, chemical
and biological processes that lead to sustained ecosystem production.

Objectives: a. Determine the extent and characteristics of the Green
Belt ecosystem. b. Determine natural variability of Green Belt
processes on seasonal and interannual time scales. c. Determine the
physical, chemical and biological processes, including primary
production and productivity of higher trophic levels. d. Assess
interactions of human activities with the temporal and spatial
variability of Green Belt processes.

2) Atmosphere-Ice-Ocean Processes that Influence Ecosystem Variability

Climate-scale atmospheric and oceanic phenomena and attendant changes in
ice cover are critical elements of the regional ecosystem. It has been
determined that variations in the North Pacific and Western Arctic
atmosphere influence intra-annual, inter-annual and decadal shifts in
the oceanography and biology of the Bering Sea. There is a particular
need for an understanding of the mechanisms underlying the decadal
variations. We note the potentially significant shift in the climate
regime of the 1990s compared to previous decades. The impact of these
shifts can be enhanced and transferred to the biological domain;
cross-shelf transport may be a particularly important process. Sea ice
plays a prominent role in the Bering Sea ecosystem; its variability
influences the physical mechanisms of oceanographic advection and
stratification, as well as the extent and timing of biological
processes.

Objectives: a. Quantify the influence and mechanisms of the atmosphere
and ocean on regional variability. b. Determine the influence of sea
ice on local and large scale oceanographic processes. c. Ascertain the
potential impacts of climate change on processes that are critical to
ecosystem health. d. Identify and understand atmospheric variability on
decadal time scales and its relationship to changes in the ocean and its
ecosystem.

3) Arctic Haze, Ozone and UV Flux and their Potential Impacts

Key components of climate and global change in the Arctic include the
observed changes in arctic haze, stratospheric ozone and UV flux. These
are important to climate forcing, human health and the arctic ecosystem.
Many uncertainties still exist on the transport and fate of arctic
haze, its chemical composition, its effect on radiative transfer and its
role as ice and cloud condensation nuclei. Uncertainties in UV studies
include the flux into the ocean and sea ice and ground truthing for
satellite measurements. Existing data sets on ozone remain to be
analyzed with respect to the Arctic.

Objectives: a. Define variability in atmospheric circulation as a driver
for arctic haze, ozone and UV flux, and study long-term trends at arctic
locations having an existing logistics infrastructure. b. Characterize
ozone anomalies and loss, and understand temperature trends for
formation of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs). c. Understand the
chemical and physical characteristics of arctic haze.

4) Contaminant Inputs, Fate and Effects on the Ecosystem.

The Arctic is not a pristine environment. Various contaminants have
been and continue to be introduced into the region by a variety of
pathways; they include: radionuclides, metals, organochlorine
compounds, and petroleum hydrocarbons. Studies of pathways and food
webs are needed and techniques exist now to study the effects of
contaminants on sentinel species. Studies should focus on contaminants
suspected of having adverse effects.

Objectives: a. Determine pathways/linkages of contaminant accumulation
in species that are consumed by top predators, including humans, and
determine sub-regional differences in contaminant levels and their
effects. b. Use an ecosystems approach to determine the effects of
contaminants on food web and biomagnification. c. Encourage local
community participation in planning and implementing research
strategies.

RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER PROGRAMS

This initiative is related to other ongoing programs, including the
Southeast Bering Sea Carrying Capacity (SEBSCC) program, Arctic
Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Fisheries-Oceanography
Coordinated Investigations (FOCI), North Pacific Marine Science
Organization (PICES), Bering Sea Impacts Study (BESIS), Surface Heat
Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) program, Atmospheric Radiation
Measurements (ARM) program, the International Arctic Research Center
(IARC) and the ongoing studies of the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean
at PMEL. Information about these programs can be obtained from their
respective home pages:

SEBSCC: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/sebscc/index.html AMAP:
http://www.grida.no/amap/info/inf-amap.htm FOCI:
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/foci/home.html PICES: http://pices.ios.bc.ca
BESIS: http://www.cgc.uaf.edu/besis
http://www.urova.fi/home/arktinen/wggc.htm SHEBA:
http://sheba.apl.washington.edu/ ARM: http://www.arm.gov IARC:
http://www.iarc.uaf.edu PMEL: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/bering/ (Bering
Sea)

Knowledge provided by local residents is an additional source of
information that should be utilized.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

NOAA expects to continue its support for the Arctic Research Initiative
in FY98. Although the availability of a specific funding level is
uncertain at this time, the expectation is that it will be at or above
the FY97 level of about $1M. NOAA also expects additional funds for
this initiative at the same level in FY 99. Proposals should be
submitted for a two-year period.

PROPOSAL PROCESS

Proposals are solicited from interested teams to further the
understanding of the Bering Sea ecosystem and anthropogenic influences
on the Arctic. A technical review panel will be convened by CIFAR to
evaluate the proposals. Participation in this initiative is open to
teams comprised of individuals from all academic, federal, state and
local government, and private institutions. It is highly encouraged
that research teams involve both university and NOAA researchers.

PROPOSAL FORMAT AND CONTENT

The proposal should be a succinct summary of the proposed research
project. Proposals may not exceed 5 pages of text (not including title
page, references, budget, and curriculum vitae) and must be
single-spaced, typewritten and printed with one (1) inch margins on 8
1/2 x 11 paper with no smaller than a 10-point font.

All proposals must include: Title page; narrative (text) with the
project rationale and objectives; scientific approach; work plan; data
plan; references; budget; and a curriculum vita (1 page maximum) for
each principal or associate investigator.

Title Page. The title page should include the title of the project; the
name and affiliations of the principal investigator (with address to
which correspondence should be addressed) and all co-principal
investigators; the total funding requested; the date submitted; and
should be addressed to the CIFAR Office.

Project Rationale and Objectives. This section should present the
problem or opportunity to be addressed by the project, and state the
research questions, hypotheses, and project objectives. The project
objectives should clearly relate to the goals and objectives of the
Arctic Research Initiative.

Scientific Approach. This part of the proposal should present the
approach and the expected results. Proposals should summarize the
approach that the team would use to test hypotheses, describe how the
PIs and co-PIs would contribute to the overall study approach, briefly
describe the research methods to be used (retrospective studies,
process-related site studies, etc.), and identify proposed study sites.

Work Plan. The proposal should include a brief implementation plan.
Proposals should indicate how the team will work with the CIFAR Office
to develop synthesis information and outreach products, how the research
will be managed, and how coordination with the CIFAR Office will be
carried out. This section should also include a summary of estimated
requirements for ship time. Limited NOAA ship time may be available at
no cost to the program. Availability of platforms, however, is
presently not known.

Data Plan. The proposal should include a plan on how the data generated
by the proposed research will be made available to other scientists
(e.g., web pages) and deposited in a recognized data archive.

Budget. This section should present separate detailed budgets for each
year, including, at a minimum, costs for salaries, wages and fringe
benefits for project participants, supplies and equipment, travel, and
other costs. Travel to an annual PI meeting in Seattle should be
included. Budgets should generally not exceed $100K/year and proposals
with small budgets are encouraged. Salaries for NOAA investigators will
not be supported, but limited upgrades to existing research facilities
will be considered only if it can be demonstrated that the needs of the
scientific community will be negatively impacted without such support.

Evaluation Criteria. Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of experts
in appropriate disciplines. The proposals will be evaluated based on
the following criteria:

a. Proposes high-quality science, as judged by peer review. b.
Addresses gaps in one of the four major sub-topics described above. c.
Addresses issues having the greatest potential socioeconomic impacts. d.
Has a reasonable cost or leverages other resources, e.g., federal,
private, international, etc., including use of available logistics. e.
Focuses on management and policy issues relevant to the Arctic. f.
Builds teams and partnerships between universities and NOAA. g.
Includes the involvement of Native and/or other regional organizations.
h. Utilizes or synthesizes available retrospective data bases. i. Has
an outreach or educational component.

Submission. One (1) original and five (5) copies of each proposal must
be received at the CIFAR Office no later than 5:00 p.m., 15 December
1997, in order to be considered.

Address. CIFAR, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 757740,
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-7740. Attn: Dr. Gunter Weller

SCHEDULE

The anticipated schedule is as follows:

Announcement of Opportunity: October 1997 Proposals due to CIFAR: 15
December 1997 PIs notified: February 1998 Start date of awards: 1
April 1998

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Additional information may be obtained from CIFAR by telephone at (907)
474-7371, FAX at (907) 474-6722 or e-mail at gunter@gi.alaska.edu.
Also, you can visit the CIFAR Home Page at http://www.cgc.uaf.edu/cifar.

NONDISCRIMINATION

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides awards for
research in the sciences. The awardee is wholly responsible for the
conduct of such research and preparation of the results for publication.
NOAA, therefore, does not assume responsibility for such findings or
their interpretation. CIFAR welcomes proposals on behalf of all
qualified scientists and engineers, and strongly encourage women,
minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in any of the
research and research-related programs described in this document. In
accordance with Federal statutes and regulations, and NOAA policies, no
person on the grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or
disability shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits
of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity
receiving financial assistance from NOAA.