As the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) Senior Program Manager who has been working to build the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Research Program for the past six years, I believe I can safely assert that no one is more thrilled than I am to see our first research surveys begin. Allow me to be the first to thank you for following our blog and joining us on this exciting adventure!

Over the years I’ve shared the NPRB vision for this research program with potential funding partners from Washington, D.C. to the North Slope of Alaska, and indeed, all over the world. NPRB thanks our generous partners, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Collaborative Alaskan Arctic Studies Program (formerly the North Slope Borough/Shell Baseline Studies Program), and the Office of Naval Research Marine Mammals and Biology Program, for their support. We would also like to recognize generous in-kind support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the National Science Foundation.

One exciting aspect of this research program is the level of cooperation and coordination that we have achieved from the very beginning. Twenty-two separately-funded U.S. research projects are collaborating with us, and we welcome more to join us at any point over the next several years. We are also collaborating with international scientists from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Russia, and elsewhere.

Including the perspectives and insights of Alaska Native community members is a unique strength of this research program. The Alaska Native community in the Bering Strait, Northwest Arctic, and North Slope regions of Alaska will be involved throughout this program, from the design through the analysis and development of our conclusions. We welcome new voices to join the conversation.

We hope that you, the interested public, will enjoy sharing in our adventures and will encourage your friends to follow us as well. Our journey will begin with sharing stories from our research surveys, but that is only the beginning. You’ll join us for exciting first looks at our data and you’ll be a part of the conversation as we analyze them, formulate conclusions, and discuss the potential implications of our research results. 

Buckle your life jacket… it’s going to be an exciting journey!