Northern Bering and Chukchi Seas 2007
Sir Wilfrid Laurier

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Researchers Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper, their science party, and high school science teacher Betty CarvellasClick on picture for larger view will continue their 2007 research in the Bering and Chukchi Seas aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Service icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier in a continuing multi-national collaboration that is studying the impacts of climate variability on the Western Arctic circulation and associated ecosystems. In 2007 and 2008 this program is embedded in a larger International Polar Year (IPY) effort called C3O: Canada's Three Oceans. This "time-series" study has a central goal of better understanding the ecological forces at work in the water column and the sediments in the Arctic. The sediments in the Bering and Chukchi Seas are ecological importance because this system is home to top benthic (seafloor)-feeding predators such as the spectacled eider (a threatened population of diving sea ducks), walruses and gray whales, which are responding to a changing marine environment.  A good summary of the results of this continuing project is included in a paper published in Science in March 2006.  As a public service, Science is making this paper available without charge through a special link at this webpage: This summer cruise will continue a 2007 spring effort in the northern Bering Sea just completed on the USCGC Healy and further information from this spring Healy cruise and the current Sir Wilfrid Laurier 1007 cruise are both found at the expedition website

Data collections in the Bering and Chukchi Seas on the Laurier cruise will include hydrographic sampling for plant chlorophyll, nutrients and water mass tracers, as well as studies of benthic organisms that live on the bottom of the sea and the characteristics of their environment. The core focus of Grebmeier and Cooper's research is on time-series measurements of water and sediment parameters in the northern Bering and Chukchi Seas, supported over the years by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Other scientists from the U.S. and Canada onboard the ship will collect phytoplankton and zooplankton samples, use a towed bio-acoustic package to study zooplankton, continuously measure seawater temperature and salinity near the surface, and use a lowered camera system to observe the benthic environment.

Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper are professors of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee. Over the last 20 years, Jackie's field research program in both the Arctic and Antarctic has focused on such topics as understanding biological productivity in arctic waters and sediments and documenting longer-term trends in ecosystem health of arctic continental shelves, including studying the importance of bottom dwelling organisms to higher levels of the arctic food web, such as walrus, gray whale, and diving sea ducks. Lee's scientific focus is the marine biogeochemical cycle using both stable and radioactive isotopes, along with traditional oceanographic measurements, such as water column chlorophyll a and nutrients. Betty Carvellas teaches biology and is serving as co-chair of the science department at Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vermont. One of Betty's goals is to bring science alive for her students and to relate classroom work to real world issues. "It's a thrill to watch students get excited about science when they see its relevance to their everyday lives and they begin to appreciate the complexities of scientific research and interpretation of evidence." Another goal of Betty's is for all of her students to understand that science is not just for an elite few. Her hope is that students will appreciate the nature of science and the wonder of the natural world around them.

For more information on Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper's Arctic research projects, please go to: and link to "Arctic Environmental Observatory" and/or "North Bering Sea". The CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier passes through the Bering Strait region every year in July while on a navigational aids mission in the Canadian Arctic from its base in Victoria, British Columbia. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian government ministry that operates the Sir Wilfrid Laurier (named for the first French Canadian prime minister of Canada) has been regularly making the ship available to Canadian and international scientists in conjunction with researchers from the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C. who help coordinate the overall international effort.

Main Canadian Coast Guard Page for CCGS SIR WILFRID LAURIER

C3O (Canada's Three Oceans) project

Teacher Betty Carvellas Journals
Jackie's periodic updates
Laurier 2007 Photo Gallery


Dear All,
for those still wondering who the one running around with the fluffy microphone might be: I am a science reporter with the German Public Radio and besides the recording I am posting photos and journals about the journey on our webpage. It is all in German but you are very welcome to have a look at it or forward it to any German speaking friends:

Thanks for having me on board!

Page last updated by Kim Harmon 07/13/2007