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Learn More BERING SEA
PROJECT
The Bering Sea Project, a partnership between the North Pacific Research Board and the National Science Foundation, seeks to understand the impacts of climate change and dynamic sea ice cover on the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem.

BERING SEA
PROJECT

The Bering Sea Project, a partnership between the North Pacific Research Board and the National Science Foundation, seeks to understand the impacts of climate change and dynamic sea ice cover on the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem.

Bering Sea Project logo

The Bering Sea Research Project

The Bering Sea Project, a partnership between the North Pacific Research Board and the National Science Foundation, seeks to understand the impacts of climate change and dynamic sea ice cover on the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem. More than one hundred scientists engaged in field research and ecosystem modeling to link climate, physical oceanography, plankton, fishes, seabirds, marine mammals, humans, traditional knowledge and economic outcomes to better understand the mechanisms that sustain this highly productive region. The Bering Sea Project was a collaborative team effort, led by an elected group of six scientists working together with NPRB and NSF program managers. We invite you to explore these webpages to learn more about the Bering Sea Project’s hypotheses, focal areas of study, integrated goals, participants, and ecological and social context.  Visit the publications page for an up-to-date library of emerging peer-reviewed results.  Or contact the program managers with any questions or for more information.

PRogram Details

Click here to learn more about the program—where, why and how we studied the Bering Sea marine ecosystem.

MORE INFO

DATA & ReSULTS

Find out what we learned, including links to data portals, summaries, and final reports.

MORE INFO

OUtreach

Outreach and communication are important pieces for every successful IERP program. Learn more here.

MORE INFO

Resources for Investigators

Find relevant links, programmatic requirements, and additional info about the program.

MORE INFO

The Purpose of Bering Sea research

Ecologically, economically, and culturally, the eastern Bering Sea and its more than 30 coastal communities are of great importance. Characterized by an extensive seasonal sea-ice advance and retreat (ca. 1700km), this diverse and highly productive shelf ecosystem provides approximately 40% of the US commercial fisheries catch with a value exceeding $3 billion annually. After processing, the Bering Sea provides not only more than half of the wild-caught seafood consumed in the United States but also three-quarters of the subsistence harvest that supports 55,000 Alaskan natives and others living in coastal communities. Many of these communities have existed around the Bering Sea for centuries and have important cultural links to the ecosystem and its dynamics.

Eastern Bering Sea STUDY area

The Bering Sea Project research took place on the eastern Bering Sea shelf between the Aleutian Islands and St. Lawrence Island. The Bering Sea is an extraordinarily productive marine ecosystem. The Bering Sea region supplies food resources for the commercial fishing industry, as well as for more than 30 Alaska Native communities, millions of seabirds, and tens of thousands of marine mammals. This production is fueled by nutrients annually replenished from slope and oceanic waters across the very broad (>500 km) continental shelf.

The marine food chain

The Bering Sea Project examined the fish, seabirds, marine mammals, and people sustained by the Bering Sea. The project was built around five major hypotheses consisting of 44 unique studies, which provided a framework for collaboration and synthesis.

 

Physical Forcing Affects Food Availability

Climate-induced changes in physical forcing will modify the availability and partitioning of food for all trophic levels through bottom-up processes.

Location Matters

Climate and ocean conditions influencing circulation patterns and domain boundaries will affect the distribution, frequency, and persistence of fronts and other prey-concentrating features and, thus, the foraging success of marine birds and mammals largely through bottom-up processes.

Fisheries Reflect Climate

Climate-ocean conditions will change and, thus, affect the abundance and distribution of commercial and subsistence fisheries.

Ecosystem Controls are Dynamic

Later spring phytoplankton blooms resulting from early ice retreat will increase zooplankton production, thereby leading to increased abundances of piscivorous fish (walleye pollock, Pacific cod, and arrowtooth flounder) and a community controlled by top-down processes with several trophic consequences.

Driving from the Bottom-up

Climate and ocean conditions influencing water temperature, circulation patterns, and domain boundaries impact fish reproduction, survival and distribution, the intensity of predator-prey relationships, and the location of zoogeographic provinces through bottom-up processes.

Our Sea Research scientists

Integrated ecosystem research projects are ambitious, requiring collaborative efforts from experts in various disciplines of marine biology and oceanography, data managers, vessel crew, marine educators, and support staff. Over 45 different researchers were involved in GOAIERP, and with the help of Axiom Science, they were able to exchange, share, and upload data to one another. With such a large team, GOAIERP also required responsible program oversight, leadership, and communication from the Gulf of Alaska Board of Investigators (GABI) and NPRB staff.

Funding & Program History

Major direct funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (“Bering Ecosystem Study”; ~$26M) and the North Pacific Research Board (“Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program”, BSIERP; ~$16M). Substantial in-kind support (~$15M) was provided by program participants. The Bering Sea Project originated in novel, coordinated calls for proposals by the NSF and NPRB.  Proposals were reviewed by a joint NSF-NPRB science panel, and funding was awarded based on responsiveness to both the NSF or NPRB call for proposals and also responsiveness to the fully integrated program as envisioned in the BSIERP and the 2005 Bering Ecosystem Study implementation plan. 

The Bering Sea Project was founded upon the implementation and science plans for the Bering Ecosystem Study (‘‘BEST’’) supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (‘‘BSIERP’’) supported by the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB). The overarching goal of the two programs was to increase our understanding of the processes that maintain the structure and function of the Bering Sea marine ecosystem, and to learn how natural and anthropogenic variation in sea ice and other physical forcing mechanisms may produce natural, economic, sociological and cultural impacts to the ecosystem.

Bering Sea Research Data & Results

Principal investigators who have completed NPRB-funded research are required to provide datasets and metadata records for all data collected under NPRB grants as per the NPRB Metadata and Data Policy. Final reports are also required at the conclusion of the program. Peer-reviewed publications will be posted here as they become available.

Research Publications & Reports

We expect Bering Sea Project publications to be used by resource managers and scientists to inform and advance ecosystem-based management of Bering Sea marine resources, and also to promote or link to further research that strengthens our understanding of marine ecosystems. Peer-reviewed project results are disseminated as articles in special issues and as individual articles in scientific journals.

With nearly 150 peer-reviewed publications to date—including a series of four special issues of Deep-Sea Research II—a rich set of detailed results is emerging from the Bering Sea Project.  We invite you to explore the Project reports, Data and Metadata, and Scientific Publications pages of this website.

 

Deep Sea Research Special Issues

The Bering Sea Project will support publication of a series of special journal issues, aimed at sharing peer-reviewed project results across a broad audience and facilitating project integration and synthesis. The Science Advisory Board members and the program manager are serving as guest editors. Three have already been published and are available here; a fourth special issue is underway. Thanks to a collaborative NSF & NPRB purchase, we are authorized to host downloads of individual articles as well as a fully searchable, printable .pdf versions of each special issue. Contact the managing guest editor, Tom Van Pelt, if you’d like general information about the special issue series.

Bering Sea Research Final Reports

Each component of the NPRB-funded Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (“BSIERP”) was required to submit a final report. These reports are the summation of each component’s work on BSIERP, and provide a single, unified resource for learning about each project’s results. They also contribute to the overall understanding of the Bering Sea ecosystem and help evaluate the advantages gained by funding integrated ecosystem research.

Bering Sea Project logo
Humans
Marine Mammals
Seabirds
Fishes
food chain interactions
Life on the seabed (benthos)
Plankton
Atmosphere, Ocean, & Climate
Ecosystem Modeling
Predator-Prey Dynamics

Humans

A wide range of communities rely on the Bering Sea for sustenance and cultural life, with some almost wholly connected to the marine waters. Research in local communities was a priority from the outset. Ethnography, anthropology, and subsistence research all had a place in the Bering Sea Project, with more quantitative science operating hand-in-hand with traditional ecological knowledge and the study of natural and cultural history.

Subsistence harvest users, and local & traditional knowledge (ltk) ecosystem perspective
Lead Investigator | Henry Huntington

This project examines all animal species harvested by residents of our partner communities. We focus on species that are significant subsistence resources (nutritionally, culturally, or otherwise) and that are also focal species for other Bering Sea Project components. Read More

Final Report
Nelson Island Natural & Cultural Heritage Project
Lead Investigator | Henry Huntington

We will work with elder experts in five Bering Sea communities, non-Native scientists, and younger community members to document their unique natural history and cultural geography, including traditional place names, weather and ice conditions, harvesting patterns, animal and plant communities, and related oral traditions.

Read More

Final Report

Marine Mammals

Whales and porpoises (or “cetaceans”)found in the Bering Sea cover vast areas in search of the optimal balance between concentrations of their preferred prey and the environmental conditions that best suit their needs. Fluctuations in cetacean abundance and distribution are therefore more likely an indication of broad-scale rather than local changes. Variations in ocean conditions affect the distribution and abundance of important prey species on a large scale. How cetaceans react to these changes in real-time and long-term is still unclear. 

Whale Broad-Scale Distribution
Lead Investigator | Nancy Friday

We will collect sightings of fin and humpback whales during routine annual AFSC/NOAA walleye pollock stock assessment surveys. We will then analyze the sightings to estimate whale density and abundance.

We will also analyze whale distribution data and density estimates in terms of oceanographic and bathymetric variables, prey distribution, and prey density to investigate whale habitat characteristics and to create predictive distribution models. We will include sightings of other cetaceans as sample sizes permit.

Final Report

Seabirds

The Bering Sea is home to millions of seabirds that breed on islands and coasts, and supports visiting species like shearwaters and albatross. The Pribilof Islands lie near the edge of the Bering Sea shelf and are breeding areas for seabirds including the thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia) and black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla). Despite their close proximity to one another, seabird populations on St. Paul continued to decline, whereas those on St. George recently stabilized.

Seabird Telemetry
Lead Investigator | David Irons, Daniel Roby, Rosana Paredes

We will compare seabird foraging location and trip duration for Black-legged Kittiwakes and Thick-billed Murres nesting on two geographically associated islands in the Pribilof group, St. Paul and St. George.

The maximum edge of the winter ice on the Bering Sea shelf is generally nearer to St. Paul than to St. George. St. George is nearer the productive edge of the Bering Sea shelf. Read More

Final Report
Seabirds (Colony-Based)
Lead Investigator | Kathy Kuletz

We will examine the relation of seabird distribution to oceanographic and biological features of the eastern Bering Sea. Size, location, and composition of seabird foraging flocks at sea and diet composition can change when prey distribution or abundance changes.

Read More

Final Report
Seabird Broad-Scale Distribution
Lead Investigator | Heather Renner

We will examine the relation of seabird distribution to oceanographic and biological features of the eastern Bering Sea. Size, location, and composition of seabird foraging flocks at sea and diet composition can change when prey distribution or abundance changes.

Read More

Final Report

Fishes

Fish play a range of starring roles in the year-round drama that is the Bering Sea, from prey for a host of marine creatures during their drifting ichthyoplankton stage to voracious predators in adult form—even cannibalizing their own. And the ecological importance of fish is matched by their importance to subsistence harvests and to the regional economy, with tens of thousands of jobs and several billion dollars annually tied to Bering Sea fisheries.

Acoustic Surveys
Lead Investigator | Chris Wilson

We will estimate midwater walleye pollock (age 1+) abundance in the eastern Bering Sea through acoustic-trawl surveys conducted by NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Read More

Final Report
Surface Trawl Survey Acoustics
Lead Investigator | John K. Horne

We will quantify forage fish (e. g. , juvenile pollock, capelin, herring, and myctophids) distribution on the Bering Sea shelf, and examine how oceanography and climate forcing may influence forage fish distribution, abundance, and ultimately effect apex predator distribution and abundance. Read More

Final Report
Pollock and Cod Distribution
Lead Investigator | Lorenzo Ciannelli

We will conduct a retrospective analysis of ichthyoplankton catches of pollock, cod, and arrowtooth flounder and wintertime fisheries data to create species spawning distribution models.

Final Report
Functional foraging response
Lead Investigator | Kerin Aydin, Ed Farley

We will provide biological and physical data on the food habits of groundfish relative to predator and prey fields. We will use this information to evaluate whether competition for common prey or predator avoidance influences the spatial and temporal distribution of forage fish. Read More

Final Report
forage distribution and ocean conditions
Lead Investigator | Anne Hollowed

We will provide biological and physical data from a commercial fishing vessel, acoustic surveys and bottom trawl surveys. We will use this information to identify the processes influencing the spatial and temporal distribution of forage fish, their predators and competitors relative to ocean habitat conditions and to evaluate hypotheses regarding the potential impact of climate change on forage fish movement and seasonal distribution.

Final Report
Surface trawl survey
Lead Investigator | Ed Farley

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center conducts annual surface (epi-pelagic) trawl surveys to monitor the condition of the eastern Bering Sea continental shelf epi-pelagic fish community. This survey is funded with in-kind money and will support BEST-BSIERP by providing biological and environmental survey data to other PIs in the program.

Final Report
bottom trawl survey
Lead Investigator | Robert Lauth

The NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center conducts annual bottom (benthic) trawl surveys to monitor the condition of the eastern Bering Sea continental shelf epi-benthos. This survey is funded with in-kind money and will support BEST-BSIERP by providing biological and environmental survey data to other PIs in the program.

Final Report

Food Chain Interactions

The ecological chain connecting nutrients, phytoplankton, zooplankton, fishes, and other predators is quite complex, especially now that microzooplankton are thought to play a role as well. New evidence from the Bering Sea Project has revealed that diatoms are also consumed by protists, single-celled predators known as microzooplankton. How this non-linear food chain impacts larger predators such as commercial fishes, seabirds, and marine mammals and where these predator-prey interactions are occurring are of ecological concern.

Fish, Seabirds, and Mammals
Lead Investigator | Franz Mueter

We quantify past patterns of variability among of productivity of selected fish, seabird, and marine mammal species over time; test whether historical patterns and trends are consistent with existing hypotheses; suggest new hypotheses based on relationships among the productivity of different ecosystem components and relationships between their productivity and observed climate variability; and provide functional forms and parameter estimates (and their uncertainty) that link the productivity of different ecosystem components to climate variability.

Final Report
Top Predator Hotspot Persistence
Lead Investigator | Nancy Friday

The ability to predict the location of prey is an important component of foraging behavior of predators. Predictable prey locations reduce search time and thus energetic costs of foraging. We will analyze data collected from four other projects.

Seabird and cetacean locations from at-sea visual surveys will be analyzed in relation to pelagic forage species abundance and nutritional energy data from acoustic surveys.

Read More

Final Report

Life on the Seabed (Benthos)

The spring bloom creates a short window of time when so much excess food is available that copepods are able to increase their biomass up to 10-fold between early spring and summer. Even so, the zooplankton community does not fully graze the spring bloom, and the ungrazed portion falls to the sea floor, feeding the benthos. The amount of organic matter that falls to the sea floor (also called carbon “export”) varies across the Bering Shelf.

Carbon export in the eastern bering sea water column
Lead Investigator | S. Bradley Moran

We will quantify the export flux of organic carbon in the Eastern Bering Sea water column. Read More

Final Report
Epi-benthic video survey
Lead Investigator | Jacqueline Grebmeier

We will use a custom-built benthic digital imaging system at shallow stations in the Bering Sea. We will then analyze the imagery to determine grouping patterns of association between infaunal animals, bottom types and environmental factors.

Final Report
benthic ecosystem response to changing ice cover in the bering sea
Lead Investigator | Jacqueline Grebmeier

We will document benthic infaunal community composition and biomass as a means to determine key indicator species that should be monitored to evaluate climate change impacts on the Bering Sea ecosystem. Read More

Final Report
the impact of changes in sea ice extent on primary production, phytoplankton community structure, and export
Lead Investigator | S. Bradley Moran

We will investigate how the production and partitioning of spring bloom organic carbon, phytoplankton community structure, export, and water column-benthic coupling varies spatially (north-south) and temporally (seasonally and from year to year), as a function of sea ice extent. Read More

Final Report
nitrogen supply for new production and its relation to climatic conditions
Lead Investigator | Ray Sambrotto, Dan Sigman

We will measure new (nitrate) and regenerated nitrogen product ion directly with tracer incubation measurements in ice-impacted and ice-free regions of the eastern Bering Sea shelf. Read More

Final Report
denitrification and global change in bering sea shelf sediments
Lead Investigator | Allan Devol, David Shull

Denitrification in shelf sediments of the southeastern Bering Sea is estimated to remove about one third of the total nitrate supply to the Bering Shelf. We will measure profiles and fluxes of oxygen, nitrate, ammonium, phosphate and silicate. Read More

Final Report
sea ice algae, a major food source for herbivorous plankton and benthos
Lead Investigator | Rolf Gradinger

We will analyze spatial and temporal patterns of abundance, biomass, community composition and productivity of sea ice algae and phytoplankton just below the ice. We will measure salinity, temperature, and nutrient concentrations in ice cores and under-ice water, as well as ice thickness, snow cover and light regime. Read More

Final Report

Plankton

The intricate connections between ice retreat, intensity of the spring phytoplankton bloom, and the productivity of the Bering Sea motivated researchers to understand the drivers behind the timing and extent of the spring bloom. Ice algae flourish in association with the seasonal ice covering much of the northern portion of the shelf, and in ice-free areas, ocean circulation and biological processes combine to support open-water phytoplankton blooms that feed vast populations of zooplankton.

ichthyoplankton surveys
Lead Investigator | Janet Duffy-Anderson

Successful recruitment of fish larvae to suitable juvenile nursery areas is a necessary condition for growth, energy storage, survival, and subsequently recruitment to adult populations. Read More

Final Report
seasonal bioenergetics
Lead Investigator | Ron Heintz

We will study how growth, energy storage and metabolism interact to regulate the distribution and abundance of walleye pollock, Pacific cod and arrowtooth flounder in the Bering Sea. Read More

Final Report
summer microzooplankton in the bering sea
Lead Investigator | Diane Stoecker

Microzooplankton do most of the “grazing” on phytoplankton in the Bering Sea and are an important link in the food web between phytoplankton and zooplankton, which are food for fish. Read More

Final Report
trophic role of euphausiids in the eastern bering sea
Lead Investigator | H. Rodger Harvey, Evelyn Lessard

We hypothesize that seasonal and interannual variation in the timing and coverage of sea-ice and associated food resources will lead to differences in age structure, diet history and nutritional condition for euphausids, which ultimately translate into differences in product ion rates and availability as prey to higher trophic levels. Read More

Final Report
mesozooplankton-microbial food web interactions and sea ice
Lead Investigator | Evelyn Sherr, Carin Ashjian, Robert Campbell

We will analyze zooplankton (standing stock determinations and rate measurements) to determine relative microzooplankton and mesozooplankton grazing impacts. Read More

Final Report
mesozooplankton population and biomass in the eastern bering sea
Lead Investigator | Ken Coyle

We will assess mesozooplankton populations during the spring and summer cruises during the field seasons outlined for BEST-BSIERP. Read More

Final Report
a service proposal to examine impacts of sea ice on the distribution of chlorophyll-a over the eastern bering sea shelf
Lead Investigator | Rolf Sonnerup

We will collect, quality control, analyze and distribute the core chlorophyll-a data on databases at PMEL, NODC, and AOOS. Read More

Final Report

Atmosphere, Ocean, & Climate

The eastern Bering Sea ecosystem is structured in part by seasonal ice, advancing in the late autumn and retreating in the spring. The extent of sea ice is controlled by local and regional weather—wind and cold combine with currents and other oceanographic features to shape the formation, extent, and duration of ice. Oceanographic processes influence life in the eastern Bering Sea, controlling much of the rhythm and change in nutrient availability, plankton populations, etc. These ‘bottom-up’ processes consequently influence fish, birds, and mammals, making them key topics of study in the Bering Sea Project.

Downscaling Global Climate Projections With Nested Biophysical Models
Lead Investigator | Nicholas Bond, Enrique Curchitser, Katherine Hedstrom

Climate-induced changes will alter food availability for all trophic levels of the shelf ecosystem through “bottom-up” processes (processes beginning at the bottom of the food web and moving up through trophic levels).Read More

Final Report
Role of Ice Melting in Providing available iron to the surface water of the eastern bering sea
Lead Investigator | Jingfeng Wu

We will test the hypothesis that melting ice is a significant source of iron for biological growth in Bering Sea shelf water during spring. Read More

Final Report
Stratification on the bering shelf and its consequences for nutrients and the ecosystem
Lead Investigator | Tom Weingartner, Knut Aagaard

The enormous Bering shelf, containing one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world, has changed significantly in recent decades, both physically and biologically, and often in concert with regional climate fluctuations. Read More

Final Report
Impact of changes in sea ice on the physical forcings of the eastern bering sea
Lead Investigator | Jinlun Zhang

We will study historical and contemporary changes of Bering Sea ice cover and the impacts of these changes on Bering Sea climate. We will also investigate future changes of the eastern Bering marine environment under global warming scenarios.Read More

Final Report
Examining summer hydrographic structure and nutrients
Lead Investigator | Rolf Sonnerup, Terry Whitledge

We will collect, quality control, analyze, and distribute the core physical and chemical observations collected on the BEST summer cruise as a service component of the larger ecosystem program. Read More

Final Report

Ecosystem
Modeling

To weave together existing and new information at the ecosystem level, the Bering Sea Project invested in an ambitious numerical modeling effort anchored in physical oceanography. The models explored both “bottomup” (resource-limiting) mechanisms, such as climate and physics, as well as “top-down” (predation) forces, such as fisheries and management strategies.

Fish, Seabirds, and Mammals
Lead Investigator | Franz Mueter

We quantify past patterns of variability among of productivity of selected fish, seabird, and marine mammal species over time; test whether historical patterns and trends are consistent with existing hypotheses; suggest new hypotheses based on relationships among the productivity of different ecosystem components and relationships between their productivity and observed climate variability; and provide functional forms and parameter estimates (and their uncertainty) that link the productivity of different ecosystem components to climate variability.

Final Report
Top Predator Hotspot Persistence
Lead Investigator | Mike Sigler

The ability to predict the location of prey is an important component of foraging behavior of predators. Predictable prey locations reduce search time and thus energetic costs of foraging. We will analyze data collected from four other projects.

Seabird and cetacean locations from at-sea visual surveys will be analyzed in relation to pelagic forage species abundance and nutritional energy data from acoustic surveys.

We will quantify the existence of prey “hotspots,” whether these hotspots persist across years, and the location of apex predators relative to hotspot persistence based on apex predator frequency of association with persistent hotspots.

Final Report

Predator-Prey Dynamics

We define “patches” as significant spatial variation in any feature of prey that is important for exploitation by predators. Prey patches may occur at scales of <1 meter to several kilometers, and may last anywhere from minutes to months. Patches also vary in species composition, biomass, energy content of prey, and distribution (size of patch, density within a patch, density of patches, and distance from colony/rookery).

We don't know how top predators respond to variability in prey patches (patch dynamics) and the consequence this has on population dynamics of top predators in the Bering Sea. We need this fundamental information to predict how the Bering Sea ecosystem will respond to global warming.

Patch Dynamics
Lead Investigator | Andrew Trites

We are studying birds, mammals, and their forage bases to determine the consequences of spatial patterns (patches) on predator-prey dynamics.

We will seek to determine how groups of species are controlled -- by fishing, predators, food availability, the physical environment, or a combination of all four.

Final Report

Complete List of Final Reports

B51

Data Management

B52

Biophysical Moorings

B53

Ichthyoplankton Surveys

B54

Seasonal Bioenergetics

B55

Micro-zooplankton

B56

Carbon Export in the EBS Water Column

B57

Epi-benthos

B59

Surface Trawl Survey Acoustics

B60

Pollock & Cod Distribution

B61

Functional Foraging Response

B62

Forage Distribution & Ocean Conditions

B63

Seabird Telemetry

B64

Seabird Broad-scale Distribution

B65

Seabird Colony-Based

B66

Whale Broad-scale distribution

B67

Patch Dynamics Study

B68

Fish, Birds, and Mammals

B69

Subsistence Harvest & LTK Ecosystem Perspective

B70

FEAST

B71

Economic-ecological Models of Pollock & Cod

B72

Spatially Explicit Integrated Model of Pollock & Cod

B73

Management Strategy Evaluation

B74

Competing Furl Seal-Seabird Pollock Model

B75

Correlative Biomass Dynamic Model

B77

Pribilofs & North Bering Sea

B90

Surface Trawl Survey*

B91

Bottom Trawl Survey*

B92

Top Predator Hotspot Persistence**

Bering Sea Program Outreach

Showcasing scientific results in plain-language, attractive, and user-friendly context has been a priority for the Bering Sea Project.  To help achieve that priority, Bering Sea Project scientists—with help from program managers, the project steering committee, and communications and graphic design experts—authored and produced a series of 50 “headline” two-page briefing papers and a larger magazine, describing selected project results.

Bering Sea Ecosystem Magazine

Building from the headlines, we also created the major wrap-up publication we call the “magazine”— an edited and designed book that weaves together the ‘headlines’ with additional information about the origins, structure, participants, and outcomes of the Bering Sea Project. We are proud to present a pdf copy of the magazine (formally titled “The Bering Sea Project: Understanding Ecosystem Processes in the Bering Sea”) available for download here, in high resolution (20 MB) or medium resolution (8 MB), together with a companion cover letter.

Bering Sea Project Headlines

Bering Sea Project “headlines” are a series of two-page, user-friendly summaries of new research findings.  Project scientists were invited to author headlines, with editing and design help from NPRB and NSF staff and others.

Below are links to download individual headlines, labeled by first author and short title, and organized by thematic section in reference to the forthcoming Bering Sea Project “magazine” publication.  Given the integrated nature of the Bering Sea Project, some headline topics defy categorization into a single thematic section– so in the list below, you’ll see some duplication for headlines that straddle two or more sections.

Marine Ecosystem Headlines by Topic area:

Climate: Weather & Science
What is the Crystal Ball Saying about the Bering Sea?
North-South Differences in the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf
Warm and Cold Years in the Southeastern Bering Sea
Steps Toward Predicting the Future of the Bering Sea Fish Catch
Oceanography: Controlling Forces
Circulation on the Bering Sea Shelf Revealed by Temperature and Salinity Measurements
New Insights into Bering Shelf Circulation Structure
Origin and Fate of Nitrogen on the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf
Biophysical Moorings
North-South Differences in the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf
Observation Synthesis and High Resolution Numerical Modeling
The Role of Edgy Phytoplankton in the Bering Sea Ice Environment
Warm and Cold Years in the Southeastern Bering Sea
The Contribution of Dissolved Iron from Melting Ice in the Bering Sea
Sea Ice: A Closer Look
Late Winter in the Northern Bering Sea
Bering Sea Ice
Changing Wind and Ice Conditions in the Bering Sea
PLankton & Benthos: The Living Water Column
Demography and Population Dynamics of Bering Sea Krill
The Spring Bloom Matters
Hidden Food in the Coldest of Times
Where You Are Is More Important Than Where You Started
Bering Sea Krill and the Impact of Climate Change
The Impact of Changes in Sea Ice Extent in the Eastern Bering Sea
Return of the Zooplankton
Zooplankton Populations in the Eastern Bering Sea
Protists - Tiny Predators of Phytoplankton
Organic Matter Mineralization in Bering Sea Sediments
Summer Microzooplankton in the Bering Sea
Fishes: Bountiful Predator & Prey
Does Water Temperature Influence Pollock Spawning?
Young Fish in a Warm Bering Sea
Seasonal Bioenergetics in the Bering Sea
Climate, Population Dynamics and Predator-Prey Overlap
Distributions of Bering Sea Forage Fish
The Early Life of Walleye Pollock on the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf
Understanding Bering Sea Groundfish Populations
Seabirds & Mammals: A Changing Environment
Whales and Porpoise in the Bering Sea
Seabird Diets and Reproductive Success in the Pribilofs
A Moveable Feast
Hot Spots in the Bering Sea
North to the Arctic
Aging Murres in a Warming Sea
Climate Change Could Stress Kittiwakes and Other Seabirds
Commercial Fisheries: Economic Engine of the Bering Sea
Climate and Bering Sea Fisheries: Beyond a Northward March
Defining Ecological Regions in the Bering Sea
Hungry Fish Make a Difference
Understanding Bering Sea Groundfish Populations
Bering Sea COmmunities
Subsistence Harvests Show Continuity and Change
Documenting Nelson Island Natural and Cultural History
Synergies Between Traditional and Western Environmental Knowledge
Subsistence Food Comes from a Vast Area
Local and Traditional Knowledge of the Bering Sea Ecosystem
Do Subsistence Harvests Reflect Ocean Ecology?
A Lasting Legacy of the Bering Sea Project

Project Outreach

Every NPRB IERP program is required to maintain a dedicated outreach budget and set of initiatives that are separate from general NPRB outreach funds. What this means is NPRB has the ability and flexibility to create outreach and engagement deliverables that are distinct and relevant to our stakeholders. Click on the tabs below to explore additional investments NPRB made for the Bering Sea Program.

Brochure
Radio & Podcasts
Teachers at Sea

Bering Sea Program Brochure

This booklet (updated January 2010) describes the program in general terms, including focal areas, geographic scope, communities of interest, program management, cruise planning, education and outreach activities, and list of principal investigators.

Radio & Podcasts

Encounters: Experiences in the North brings the sounds of the wild to a national weekly radio program on observations, experiences and reflections on the northern world around us. Each program is recorded live in the field, and contains a tight weave of scientific and indigenous perspectives. Visit Encounters to subscribe to podcasts and to learn more about their radio programs.

To listen to the dedicated podcasts about BSIERP research, clink on the buttons below.

Teachers at Sea

We invite you to visit the Bering Sea Collection, a body of educational resources focused on understanding the impacts of climate change and dynamic sea ice cover on the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem. The Collection was developed during a four day workshop that brought together teachers who had traveled to the Bering Sea during teacher researcher experience programs; Bering Sea community teachers from St. Paul, Emmonak, and Nome; as well as Bering Sea Project scientists interested in gaining expertise in broader impacts activities.

Select Your Option Below:

Brochure
Radio & Podcasts
Teachers At Sea

Bering Sea Program Brochure

This booklet (updated January 2010) describes the program in general terms, including focal areas, geographic scope, communities of interest, program management, cruise planning, education and outreach activities, and list of principal investigators.

Radio & Podcasts

Encounters: Experiences in the North brings the sounds of the wild to a national weekly radio program on observations, experiences and reflections on the northern world around us. Each program is recorded live in the field, and contains a tight weave of scientific and indigenous perspectives. Visit Encounters to subscribe to podcasts and to learn more about their radio programs.

To listen to the dedicated podcasts about BSIERP research, clink on the buttons below.

Teachers at Sea

We invite you to visit the Bering Sea Collection, a body of educational resources focused on understanding the impacts of climate change and dynamic sea ice cover on the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem. The Collection was developed during a four day workshop that brought together teachers who had traveled to the Bering Sea during teacher researcher experience programs; Bering Sea community teachers from St. Paul, Emmonak, and Nome; as well as Bering Sea Project scientists interested in gaining expertise in broader impacts activities.

Resources for Investigators

Principal investigators who have completed NPRB-funded research are required to provide datasets and metadata records for all data collected under NPRB grants as per the NPRB Metadata and Data Policy. Final reports are also required at the conclusion of the program. Peer-reviewed publications will be posted here as they become available.

Program Reporting
Financial Reporting
Templates
Metadata & Data
Other

Progress Reports

Each component of the NPRB-funded Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program ("BSIERP") prepared semi-annual progress reports during the duration of their work.  These reports are intended to communicate progress among BEST-BSIERP colleagues, evaluate progress toward planned milestones, identify and promote successes, identify and find ways to mitigate problems, and manage the overall project as an integrated whole.

FINAncial REPORTS

For NPRB-funded projects, quarterly financial forms should be submitted to Kristin Thoresen, Grants Manager at the Alaska SeaLife Center (grants-contracts@alaskasealife.org). Contact the program manager, Thomas Van Pelt, with general questions.

Project Headlines

Each component of the NPRB-funded Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program ("BSIERP") was required to submit a final report. These reports are the summation of each component's work on BSIERP, and provide a single, unified resource for learning about each project's results. They also contribute to the overall undertanding of the Bering Sea ecosystem and help evaluate the advantages gained by funding integrated ecosystem research.

Financial
Reporting

NPRB funds are federal with a CFDA number of 11.472. Federal grant rules apply, including the Fly America Act. Projects are supported on a reimbursable basis, with invoices for expenditures due on a quarterly schedule. A financial report form, pre-populated from the accepted statement of work, is provided at the time of release of funds. Due dates for timely reimbursement are January 31st, April 30th, July 30th, and October 31st. Final invoices must be submitted within 60 days of the project end date and be clearly marked ‘Final’. Invoices will not be paid if programmatic reporting is delinquent. Failure to submit the final invoice within this period constitutes a complete waiver of all claims by the Subrecipient to any amounts not previously invoiced.

Contact Our Fiscal Agent

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the North Pacific Research Board's fiscal agent. Contact Tara Miller or (907) 224-6372 for all financial matters. Invoices should be submitted electronically, or by mail:

c/o Tara Miller
Alaska SeaLife Center
PO Box 1329
Seward, AK 99664

Budget Request Change

Reallocation of funds between or among the direct cost categories in the subawardee's NPRB Budget Summary Form in Appendix 1 must be approved in writing by NPRB prior to any such reallocated expenditure occurring, if that reallocation exceeds ten percent of the total subaward budget amount.

 

h

Projects with One Subaward Agreement

Reallocation of funds between direct cost categories requires approval only if the cumulative amount of budget reallocations is greater than 10% of the total budget amount. If you need to exceed this 10% threshold, you must request approval from NPRB. You can reallocate between years within a single cost category without needing to request approval.

i

Projects with multiple Subaward Agreements

The "10% threshold" stated above refers to the total amount (cumulative across budget categories) being reallocated per institution.

t

Budget request change example

A project has a total budget of $100,000. $80,000 goes to Organization 1; $20,000 goes to Organization 2. Organization 1 needs to request approval only if its cumulative budget reallocation is more than $8,000, and Organization 2 only if its reallocation exceeds $2,000. So the 10% is at the institute or awardee level; not at the overall project level, and also not at the individual budget category level.

Templates

Lead Prinicipal Investigator Mike Sigler presented a summary of the Bering Sea Project at the 2014 Alaska Marine Science Symposium and the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting. In addition to program scope and chronology, the presentation examined examples of synthesis of individual research projects that inform the larger ecosystem hypotheses. A Bering Sea Project Overview Poster is available. Poster is 17 in x 37 inches. Please contact Tom Van Pelt if you would like a copy of this poster.

We offer PowerPoint templates for Bering Sea Project presentations and posters. There is no requirement to use them, but they make it easy to add coherency to the program when presenting activities and results.

Metadata & Data

Archiving data and metadata throughout the Bering Sea Project was an important component to the project's overall success. In 2011, the BEST and BSIERP data archives were merged into the Bering Sea Project Data Archive, and has since been transitioned to Axiom Data Science. The merger has provided a centralized location for data access, storage, and availability.  The BEST data archive has maintained by the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Earth Observing Laboratory; BSIERP data were maintained by a University of Alaska Fairbanks team led by Ken Coyle from 2007-2010.

Contact the data manager, Don Stott at the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Earth Observing Laboratory, with questions or for more information.

No-Cost Extension Request

NPRB staff consider no-cost extensions on a case-by-case basis, with no guarantee of approval.

Submit requests for a no-cost extensions at least 30 days before the end of the project period. Send your request to Thomas Van Pelt, Program Manager. Requests must include:

Z

Justification for an extension

Z

A brief narrative summary of funds that are expected to be remaining at the current ending date

Z

Your requested new ending date with an updated timeline for completion based on your requested end date

Foreign Travel

Because NPRB funds originate with the Department of Commerce, NOAA must approve all foreign travel that occurs on NPRB grants. The approval process can take up to eight weeks, so please make your request as early as possible.

Requests must include: Full name of the meeting/conference, Itinerary (including dates of travel, dates of meeting/conference), Estimated costs for Airfare, Lodging ($xx/night for x nights), Meals ($xx/day fro x days), Registration, Ground transportation, Mileage, Other,and a short Justification. The Fly America Act applies to all travel using NPRB funding. A U.S. flag air carrier is required on every portion of a flight route unless qualified for a waiver.

If foreign travel was specified in your original project budget, the overall release of funds for your project will exclude the foreign travel funds. Each foreign travel trip must be approved individually. E-mail requests for foreign travel to Thomas Van Pelt and Kristin Thoresen.

Select Your Option Below:

Reports
Financial
Templates
Metadata
Other

Progress Reports

Each component of the NPRB-funded Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program ("BSIERP") prepared semi-annual progress reports during the duration of their work.  These reports are intended to communicate progress among BEST-BSIERP colleagues, evaluate progress toward planned milestones, identify and promote successes, identify and find ways to mitigate problems, and manage the overall project as an integrated whole.

FINAncial REPORTS

For NPRB-funded projects, quarterly financial forms should be submitted to Kristin Thoresen, Grants Manager at the Alaska SeaLife Center (grants-contracts@alaskasealife.org). Contact the program manager, Thomas Van Pelt, with general questions.

Project Headlines

Each component of the NPRB-funded Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program ("BSIERP") was required to submit a final report. These reports are the summation of each component's work on BSIERP, and provide a single, unified resource for learning about each project's results. They also contribute to the overall undertanding of the Bering Sea ecosystem and help evaluate the advantages gained by funding integrated ecosystem research.

Financial
Reporting

NPRB funds are federal with a CFDA number of 11.472. Federal grant rules apply, including the Fly America Act. Projects are supported on a reimbursable basis, with invoices for expenditures due on a quarterly schedule. A financial report form, pre-populated from the accepted statement of work, is provided at the time of release of funds. Due dates for timely reimbursement are January 31st, April 30th, July 30th, and October 31st. Final invoices must be submitted within 60 days of the project end date and be clearly marked ‘Final’. Invoices will not be paid if programmatic reporting is delinquent. Failure to submit the final invoice within this period constitutes a complete waiver of all claims by the Subrecipient to any amounts not previously invoiced.

Contact Our Fiscal Agent

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the North Pacific Research Board's fiscal agent. Contact Tara Miller or (907) 224-6372 for all financial matters. Invoices should be submitted electronically, or by mail:

c/o Tara Miller
Alaska SeaLife Center
PO Box 1329
Seward, AK 99664

Budget Request Change

Reallocation of funds between or among the direct cost categories in the subawardee's NPRB Budget Summary Form in Appendix 1 must be approved in writing by NPRB prior to any such reallocated expenditure occurring, if that reallocation exceeds ten percent of the total subaward budget amount.

 

h

Projects with One Subaward Agreement

Reallocation of funds between direct cost categories requires approval only if the cumulative amount of budget reallocations is greater than 10% of the total budget amount. If you need to exceed this 10% threshold, you must request approval from NPRB. You can reallocate between years within a single cost category without needing to request approval.

i

Projects with multiple Subaward Agreements

The "10% threshold" stated above refers to the total amount (cumulative across budget categories) being reallocated per institution.

t

Budget request change example

A project has a total budget of $100,000. $80,000 goes to Organization 1; $20,000 goes to Organization 2. Organization 1 needs to request approval only if its cumulative budget reallocation is more than $8,000, and Organization 2 only if its reallocation exceeds $2,000. So the 10% is at the institute or awardee level; not at the overall project level, and also not at the individual budget category level.

Templates

Lead Prinicipal Investigator Mike Sigler presented a summary of the Bering Sea Project at the 2014 Alaska Marine Science Symposium and the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting. In addition to program scope and chronology, the presentation examined examples of synthesis of individual research projects that inform the larger ecosystem hypotheses. A Bering Sea Project Overview Poster is available. Poster is 17 in x 37 inches. Please contact Tom Van Pelt if you would like a copy of this poster.

We offer PowerPoint templates for Bering Sea Project presentations and posters. There is no requirement to use them, but they make it easy to add coherency to the program when presenting activities and results.

Metadata & Data

Archiving data and metadata throughout the Bering Sea Project was an important component to the project's overall success. In 2011, the BEST and BSIERP data archives were merged into the Bering Sea Project Data Archive, and has since been transitioned to Axiom Data Science. The merger has provided a centralized location for data access, storage, and availability.  The BEST data archive has maintained by the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Earth Observing Laboratory; BSIERP data were maintained by a University of Alaska Fairbanks team led by Ken Coyle from 2007-2010.

Contact the data manager, Don Stott at the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Earth Observing Laboratory, with questions or for more information.

No-Cost Extension Request

NPRB staff consider no-cost extensions on a case-by-case basis, with no guarantee of approval.

Submit requests for a no-cost extensions at least 30 days before the end of the project period. Send your request to Thomas Van Pelt, Program Manager. Requests must include:

Z

Justification for an extension

Z

A brief narrative summary of funds that are expected to be remaining at the current ending date

Z

Your requested new ending date with an updated timeline for completion based on your requested end date

Foreign Travel

Because NPRB funds originate with the Department of Commerce, NOAA must approve all foreign travel that occurs on NPRB grants. The approval process can take up to eight weeks, so please make your request as early as possible.

Requests must include: Full name of the meeting/conference, Itinerary (including dates of travel, dates of meeting/conference), Estimated costs for Airfare, Lodging ($xx/night for x nights), Meals ($xx/day fro x days), Registration, Ground transportation, Mileage, Other,and a short Justification. The Fly America Act applies to all travel using NPRB funding. A U.S. flag air carrier is required on every portion of a flight route unless qualified for a waiver.

If foreign travel was specified in your original project budget, the overall release of funds for your project will exclude the foreign travel funds. Each foreign travel trip must be approved individually. E-mail requests for foreign travel to Thomas Van Pelt and Kristin Thoresen.

Online Resources

Below are some helpful resources related to the Bering Sea marine ecosystem and marine research.

Alaska-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative

This group is assembling existing information, gaining new information and improving techniques for understanding the trends and causes of variation in salmon abundance and human use of salmon that support sustainable use and restoration. See how AYK-SSI is reaching their goals.

Bering Sea LTK research priorities

This summary of examples of community research interests expressed in various places in recent years demonstrates the strong interest of many communities and organizations, the sophistication of the questions they ask, and the opportunity for productive partnerships in research activities.

BarEcoRe

The objective of the BarEcoRe project is to evaluate the effects of global environmental change on the future structure and resilience of the Barents Sea ecosystem. This will be studied by investigating the effects of past changes in climate and fisheries on the Barents Sea ecosystem, by developing indicators of ecosystem resilience, diversity and structure, and by forecasting the possible future states of the Barents Sea ecosystem under particular environmental and fisheries scenarios.

NOAA Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations

NOAA-FOCI: This program was established in 1984 to study relationships between the marine environment and the survival of commercially valuable fish in the western Gulf of Alaska. See the final FOCI report.

NOAA Loss of Sea Ice (LOSI) Program

NOAA-LOSI: Marine ecosystems adapted to cold temperatures and seasonal sea ice presumably will shift northward as ocean temperatures warm and sea ice retreats poleward. Addressing these shifts is critical for fisheries management, because the nationally important Bering Sea commercial fisheries (>40% US catch) are located primarily within the southern Bering Sea, and for successful co-management of marine mammals, upon which at least thirty Alaska Native communities depend. Learn more about what NOAA is doing to study sea ice.

EcoFOCI Bering Sea Expedition

In spring 2006 two ships, the NOAA ship Miller Freeman and the R/V Thomas G. Thompson participated in an expedition to the Bering Sea ice edge. Their goal was to examine the ice and water of the area, as well as the plankton, birds and mammals that make their living from the sea ice.

Russian-American Long-Term Census of the Arctic

RUSALCA: A joint research program launched in 2004 between NOAA and the Russian Academy of Sciences involving ceanographic expeditions to the the Bering and Chukchi Seas. As the only Pacific gateway to the Arctic Ocean, the Bering Strait is a critical point of heat exchange between the Arctic and the rest of the world. See projects, cruise photos and expedition reports.

Oshoro Maru surveys

Japanese researchers conduct annual surveys of the eastern Bering Sea shelf. These surveys, which comprise the longest time series of shelf water properties and plankton, are invaluable for examining low frequency variability related to climate since the mid 1950s. See vessel data and contact information for the T/S Oshoro Maru.