Weather Permitting

Heading north from the Bering Strait, the only variation would be the hues of white and grey floating water particles in the sky. Autumn was my favorite season growing up in Barrow.

Nets on Nets, What a Mesh!

Nets on Nets, What a Mesh!

When I was about to start out on this survey, I had nearly no idea what methods were going to be used or how all these species were going to be collected. From a beginner’s perspective, nets are simple tools to catch fish and that’s that. From a scientific researcher’s point of view, these nets are crucial elements in gaining information. On this survey I counted six different nets used for specific purposes. So why are there so many different types of nets with different designs?

Gadgets, Gizmos & Gorgonocephalus

Gadgets, Gizmos & Gorgonocephalus

Scattered ‘round the lab is a horde of blinking lights and screens flashing with maps and graphs. Microscopes and measuring utensils fill in the few open lab table spaces of the stations in which everyday progress occurs. Each lab station has been a flurry of fish sorting, water filtration systems, counting and calculating.

Where are the Seabirds?

Hi, name is Marty Reedy and I work for the Migratory Bird Management division at the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) out of Anchorage, Alaska.We are responsible for assessing the abundance and distribution of marine bird species in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Besides documenting what birds are here now, we can compare to historic data to look at long-term trends in bird species.

Sharks with Lasers on Their Heads

Sharks with Lasers on Their Heads

My role in the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Survey is to identify the phytoplankton and measure how active they are.  From a microscopic view, this basically translates to who and how much is there, and what they are doing.  This information is critical to understanding any ecosystem. 

Come On In... The Water's Fine

We are interested in understanding how changes in the physical and chemical environment of the Chukchi Sea, such as the water column heat content, stratification, and nutrients, ultimately impact the regional ecosystem. To help achieve these goals we use a multi-platform approach to examine the physics and chemistry and work with other project scientists to relate these parameters to various ecosystem components including phytoplankton, zooplankton, and fish.

Zooplankton - Where Do They Go On Their Summer Vacation?

My name is Dave Kimmel and I am a research oceanographer with the Eco-FOCI program of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. I specialize in zooplankton ecology and the goal of our research is to characterize the distribution and abundance of the mid-sized zooplankton community.

Different Boats of the Same Water

Different Boats of the Same Water

…Wait for it. OK go again. Wait for it. OK go again. Wait for it…aand go again!

My brain tells me to keep the balance forcing my limbs to take hold of any stable object nearby. It took me a few days to notice that I shift and pause more frequently in everyday things, even as I type this now, during peaks and falls of a huge crest wave

Mapping Fish With Sound

Mapping Fish With Sound

One of the objectives of this cruise is to establish the abundance and distribution of midwater fishes.  In particular, we are interested in the abundance and distribution of Arctic cod, as we have found large numbers of young-of-the-year Arctic cod on the Chukchi shelf in previous surveys, but very few adults.  We are trying to unravel the puzzle of what happens to the young Arctic cod that are present in summer on the Chukchi shelf.  What is their fate? 

Beam Trawl Sampling Results from Summer/Fall Survey Leg 1 and Leg 2

The 3m Plumb Staff Beam Trawl was deployed at 7 stations during Leg 1 and at 21 stations during Leg 2 (as of September 7). Benthic invertebrates dominated the catches. Overall we caught 199 individual taxa and 737 kg of invertebrates. In contrast, we caught 36 individual taxa and 4.8 kg of fish.

Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Survey Leg 2

My name is Ed Farley, and I work with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) at the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute in Juneau, Alaska.   I am the Chief Scientist for the second leg of the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Survey.  We are in the northern Chukchi Sea taking measurements of the physical oceanography, biological oceanography and fishes and documenting observations of seabirds and mammals in the region of the northern Chukchi Sea.

The Species Below Us

The Species Below Us

Beam Trawls…So how do they work?

With a 3-meter iron rod (beam) holding open the net, the beam trawl is deployed off the stern at each station. Two floats keep the trawl from sinking too far down while two sensors measure depth, temperature (microbathy thermograph) and how much it accelerates through the water (bottom contact sensor). Those sensors help calculate the area of the benthic region covered in square kilometers along with the amount of biomass of fish and invertebrates caught.

TaGiuq

TaGiuq , also known as “the ocean” in Inupiaq, greeted us with an energetic welcoming. It’s a good thing I’m on a boat with a great bunch of people! Our journey to the northern Chukchi Sea started with anticipation as we departed from Nome on Friday, August 25th. We knew we were going towards a storm, so preparations were made, individually and ship-wise. I bought anti-sickness medication last minute, and I was thankful that I did. By Saturday, August 26th, we were on a continuous roll that would last until Monday or Tuesday.

A Nome Away From Home

Bright eyed and jet-lagged, I walked out of the plane into Nome, awoken to rain and wind bringing in the salty sea air. Currently from the Tri-cities, the eastern Washington desert environment, it was refreshing to be enveloped by rain. Mixed emotions ran through my mind: excitement for the upcoming adventure, nostalgia for the ocean, and an eerie sense of deja vu. Except for the sloping mountains in the distance and tall willows, this coastal city is familiar to my own hometown (Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow) growing up in Alaska. I flew into Nome as many others had that day and realized I had flown to a place where I never really knew anybody, yet it was very familiar, like home.

A Summer at Sea

On station! With anticipation I pull on my Grunden’s bibs and float coat for the last time of Leg 1 at the last station of the Point Hope transect line. For most of us on board, this is the last science day of our sea time as we begin our 30-hour transit back to Nome to disembark on the 24th.

A Day on the R/V Ocean Starr

A Day on the R/V Ocean Starr

Twenty-four days on a research cruise may seem daunting at first, but when you take it one day at a time, the time moves by with ease. So what does a normal day look like on the R/V Ocean Starr? Well, it starts pretty early.

Sculpins, Sea Stars, Snow Crab, Sea Anemones, Shrimp… OH MY!

1… 2… 3… Haul-back. The radio clicks off and the winch on deck starts to run again. Soon the net will be on deck and sorting will commence.

The excitement was mounting in the fish lab as everyone slid into their Grundens bibs and put on float coats and hard hats. We peered out the doors to the deck and saw the beam trawl floating a few meters away from the boat.

A Sense of Place and Perspective in the Arctic

Where are we? When you spend most of your day inside the vessel cabin or in the lab you don’t really have concept of place. Even when I look out on deck, I find the usual endless horizon of the sea. No land in sight, but we are north of the Arctic circle now, heading up to the Beaufort Sea.

Gaining Our Sea Legs

Full steam ahead to Nome! Well, full steam is only about 8 or 9 knots with the rough weather of the Bering Sea and a loaded down boat, so we should make it to Nome by the evening on August 4th. This arrival date gives us all time to prepare the equipment and plan for the busy days ahead.