Northern Bering and Chukchi Seas 2008



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We will be involved in 3 cruises this year:
HLY0801 on board USCGC HEALY March 13-26, 2008
Canada's 3 Oceans on board Laurier July 2008


Chief ScientistLee W. Cooper ( or, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

HLY0801Cruise Plan

HLY0801 Station close up pdf
One page summary of cruise plan pdf


Patch dynamics is a conceptual approach to ecosystem and habitat analysis that emphasizes the dynamics of heterogeneity within a system.  Benthic-oriented measurements have been taken in the northern Bering Sea for many years because the region is known to support highly productive benthic communities and food resources for benthic-feeding apex predators, including gray whales, bearded seals, walruses, and diving sea-ducks—all of which are important for subsistence hunting by local Bering Sea communities. Continued benthic sampling is planned in the St. Lawrence Island area to complement the planned field studies of walrus  distributions.  Recent studies (e.g. Grebmeier et al. (2006; Science 10 March 2006: Vol. 311. no. 5766, pp. 1461 - 1464) suggested that climate warming may change the present benthic-dominated northern Bering Sea ecosystem to one more pelagic in nature, similar to the southern Bering Sea—a direct result of changing trophic interactions. Specific evaluation of dominant infaunal prey of walrus (e.g., bivalves, gastropods, and polychaetes), will be undertaken during the benthic field component of this BSIERP-BEST walrus-prey patch dynamics study.  We will plan to place these studies in the context of retrospective benthic data sets collected over the last 20 years in the region. We will be evaluating the spatial heterogeneity of benthic infaunal population and sediment tracers in oceanographic context at coarse scales (20 nm) to evaluate overall effects on ecological processes. We will also strive to develop scaling strategies and limitations for extrapolating information from the small scale (3-5 nm) used for our walrus-prey patch dynamics study to larger (10-20 nm) and even regional (50-100 nm) scales in order to evaluate information from the local ecosystem to overall northern Bering Sea regional scale in which the walrus reside.

Core Projects:
BEST Benthic Ecosystem Response to Changing Ice Cover in the Bering Sea (National Science Foundation ARC-0802290), Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper, PIs

BSIERP: Patch Dynamics (North Pacific Research Board project O4.62), Andrew Trites and Chad Jay, lead shipboard PIs

Other Participating Projects:
BEST: Sea Ice Algae, a Major Food Source for Herbivorous Plankton and Benthos in the Eastern Bering Sea (NSF ARC-0732767)   PIs: Rolf Gradinger, Bodil Bluhm, Katrin Iken

BSIERP Project: Epi-benthic survey (NPRB project) PIs: Jackie Grebmeier, Lee Cooper

 Impacts of Sea Ice Variability and Polynya Formation on Biological Productivity in the Northern Bering Sea (NSF ARC-0713939) PI: Karen Frey

 Climate-driven changes in impacts of benthic predators in the northern Bering Sea (NSF ARC-0454454) PIs: Jim  Lovvorn, Jackie Grebmeier, Lee Cooper

North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Observer Program (NPRB Project 637) PIs: Kathy Kuletz, David Irons

Optics under sea ice and heat absorption impacted by bioprocess (Chinese International Polar Year Program)
PI: Jinping Zhao, Ocean University of China

National Marine Mammal Laboratory shipboard marine mammal observation program PI: Sue Moore

Thin Ice: An Exploration of the Bering Sea at the Dawn of Global Warming A public education project for the International Polar Year- 2007-2008   PIs: Thomas Litwin and Larry Hott



This page last updated by Kim Harmon and Lee Cooper
 Saturday March 08, 2008
 Any questions please contact us.