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.    

 Map of sampling stations for the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Survey that is sampling in summer/fall. Leg 2 of the survey will sample the area shaded pink; leg 3 will sample the area shaded yellow. 

Map of sampling stations for the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Survey that is sampling in summer/fall. Leg 2 of the survey will sample the area shaded pink; leg 3 will sample the area shaded yellow. 

Our daily routine consists of taking physical measurements of the ocean, water samples at different depths, zooplankton samples using bongo and Juday nets, benthic community using a beam trawl, and mid water fishes using acoustics and marinovich net.  By taking these measurements, we are attempting to understand how loss of sea ice and warming marine waters will impact the marine ecosystem of the region. 

 A Juday net is deployed from the R/V  Ocean Starr . Photo credit: Ed Farley

A Juday net is deployed from the R/V Ocean Starr. Photo credit: Ed Farley

Our research team is varied.  Ryan McCabe from the University of Washington is a physical oceanographer and is interested in how the physical environment in the Chukchi Sea varies among the differing water masses (currents) and years.  Ryan is responsible to deploying the conductivity, temperature, at depth device at each station.  Steve Baer from the Bigelow Laboratory in Maine, is a biological oceanographer and is interested in the composition of phytoplankton (plants) species and their growth rates.  Dave Kimmel (AFSC, Seattle) and Esther Goldstein (Post Doc, AFSC, Seattle) are interested in the species of zooplankton found in the Arctic.  They are taking samples of zooplankton species from the bongo net to understand the distribution and relative abundance of different species within the survey area.  Alex De Robertis (AFSC, Seattle) is our acoustician taking acoustic measurements of the fishes within the mid water and determining when to set mid water trawl nets for collections of those fishes.  Our fisheries research biologists consist of Alex Andrews (AFSC, Juneau), Dan Cooper (AFSC, Seattle), Libby Logerwell (AFSC, Seattle) and myself.  We have been processing the fish catch from both the mid water nets and bottom samples.  Samples of fishes and invertebrates (crab, snails) are collected to determine age, energy content, diet, and to voucher species when we have a difficult time determining the species.  Marty Reedy with the US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking data on sea bird and marine mammal observations during the survey.

 Sorting the catch from the mid water trawl.  Catch consists mainly of jellyfishes and age-0 Arctic cod. Photo credit: Ed Farley

Sorting the catch from the mid water trawl.  Catch consists mainly of jellyfishes and age-0 Arctic cod. Photo credit: Ed Farley

Alicia Flores is a biologist who grew up in Barrow and is taking part in the survey through the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program.  Alicia is providing assistance with all the sample collections and has been helping out with the recent blogs from the ship.

Genevieve Johnson is a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is taking a year off  to work as a Seagrant Fellow with my program at the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute in Juneau, Alaska.  Genevieve is also providing assistance with all the sample collections and will be working closely with Arctic IES scientists on reporting our results.

We also have three Russian scientists on board.  Alexey Somov and Natalia Kuznetsova are from TINRO Center in Vladivostok, Russia.  They are assisting with sample collection and processing.  Natalia is also processing the samples of zooplankton from the Juday net and stomach contents from the fishes we are collecting in the midwater.  Igor Grigorov is from VNIRO Center in Moscow, Russia, and he is also assisting with sample collection and processing.

So far we have sampled a large area of the northern Chukchi Sea.  Our daily routine consists of starting sampling at 06:00 with a Juday sample, bottom grab of mud, vertical deployment of the conductivity, temperature at depth device, bongo net tow, and a beam trawl.  Each station (colored dots on the map) takes about one to two hours to complete collections, then samples are taken into the ship’s laboratory for further processing. 

The following series of blogs from scientists on board will provide information on what we have found.