Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Studying the Past

Studying the Past


Retrospective analyses allow us to put the data collected during this short-term study into context by examining patterns in historical data collected over the past few decades.  Examining long-term patterns allows us to ask informed questions about the possible environmental drivers of fish survival and recruitment in the Gulf of Alaska.  

a:1:{s:16:”ERgu5k27P7TPl4nm”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:10:”text_field”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:244:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6MTA6InRleHRfZmllbGQiO3M6ODoic2V0dGluZ3MiO2E6NDp7czo1OiJ0aXRsZSI7czoxMzoiQmxvY2sgSGVhZGluZyI7czoxMjoiY29udGVudF90eXBlIjtzOjA6IiI7czoxNDoiY29udGVudF9mb3JtYXQiO3M6NDoibm9uZSI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6IndQYWNCdmFjV1QydFZPRjAiO319″;s:4:”data”;s:15:”Further Details”;}}

Studying patterns in data collected in the same manner over long periods of time (called time-series) allows us to see how much things typically change over time and also allows us to identify points in time when changes are out of the ordinary.  For example, natural variability may cause a measurement like water temperature to be a little higher in some years and a little lower in other years, and that variation may not be enough to cause effects on fish survival.  We need to know how much change is natural in order to identify years when changes are extreme.  If we can identify extreme years, we may be able to find a link to fish survival.  Ultimately we are trying to identify a few environmental measurements that can be monitored to predict fish recruitment, which allows scientists to better predict future abundances and managers to set more appropriate quotas for fisheries. 



Photo Credit: Carl Johnson


Retrospective analyses are being conducted on a variety of types of data.  Sea surface temperature and chlorophyll concentrations have been measured via satellite over decades, and we are putting together multiple streams of data to create a continuous time series and identify important patterns in space and time.  Other analyses include salinity, climate indicators, plankton and fish distribution, and others. 



Studying the Past

Integrated Biophysical Models


Ecosystem modeling is being used to determine which environmental conditions have the greatest effect on the survival of the five groundfish species that are the focus of this study (walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, sablefish and arrowtooth flounder). A series of models is used to examine the effects of oceanography, current patterns, nutrient availability, food availability, predator interactions, and various combinations of these factors on how these fish survive under different conditions. This information will help managers to predict fish survival and therefore predict more accurately the number of fish that should be available to support the ecosystem and commercial fisheries in the future. Historic data is used to develop the models and field data provides information about current conditions and is used to test the predictive power of the models.

a:2:{s:16:”JvCSTSbyC0dK7mA5″;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:10:”text_field”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:244:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6MTA6InRleHRfZmllbGQiO3M6ODoic2V0dGluZ3MiO2E6NDp7czo1OiJ0aXRsZSI7czoxMzoiQmxvY2sgSGVhZGluZyI7czoxMjoiY29udGVudF90eXBlIjtzOjA6IiI7czoxNDoiY29udGVudF9mb3JtYXQiO3M6NDoibm9uZSI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6IndQYWNCdmFjV1QydFZPRjAiO319″;s:4:”data”;s:20:”Oceanographic Models”;}s:16:”271sqzmRsR5tA77P”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:6:”wygwam”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:204:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6Njoid3lnd2FtIjtzOjg6InNldHRpbmdzIjthOjQ6e3M6NjoiY29uZmlnIjtzOjE6IjYiO3M6NToiZGVmZXIiO3M6MToibiI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6Im1pQTQyRktaNDdHUHVKMWQiO3M6NToidGl0bGUiO3M6NzoiQ29udGVudCI7fX0=”;s:4:”data”;s:350:”

Regional Oceanographic Modeling Systems (ROMS) is used to model the oceanography that transports larval fish from areas offshore where they were spawned to nearshore nursery areas. Factors like water temperature, salinity, wind, and current patterns determine if fish are transported to appropriate nursery areas and how they grow and survive.

a:2:{s:16:”8z70R7E0ELnTVSru”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:10:”text_field”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:244:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6MTA6InRleHRfZmllbGQiO3M6ODoic2V0dGluZ3MiO2E6NDp7czo1OiJ0aXRsZSI7czoxMzoiQmxvY2sgSGVhZGluZyI7czoxMjoiY29udGVudF90eXBlIjtzOjA6IiI7czoxNDoiY29udGVudF9mb3JtYXQiO3M6NDoibm9uZSI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6IndQYWNCdmFjV1QydFZPRjAiO319″;s:4:”data”;s:47:”Nutrient Phytoplankton Zooplankton (NPZ) Models”;}s:16:”hZgZet65TNXN2SVF”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:6:”wygwam”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:204:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6Njoid3lnd2FtIjtzOjg6InNldHRpbmdzIjthOjQ6e3M6NjoiY29uZmlnIjtzOjE6IjYiO3M6NToiZGVmZXIiO3M6MToibiI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6Im1pQTQyRktaNDdHUHVKMWQiO3M6NToidGl0bGUiO3M6NzoiQ29udGVudCI7fX0=”;s:4:”data”;s:292:”

Nutrient Phytoplankton Zooplankton (NPZ) models examine the effects of varying levels of nutrients, phytoplankton, and zooplankton in the water column, which provides information on the productivity of the system, and the availability of prey, under different environmental conditions.

a:2:{s:16:”cQ3FVAirxwUVCc4x”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:10:”text_field”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:244:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6MTA6InRleHRfZmllbGQiO3M6ODoic2V0dGluZ3MiO2E6NDp7czo1OiJ0aXRsZSI7czoxMzoiQmxvY2sgSGVhZGluZyI7czoxMjoiY29udGVudF90eXBlIjtzOjA6IiI7czoxNDoiY29udGVudF9mb3JtYXQiO3M6NDoibm9uZSI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6IndQYWNCdmFjV1QydFZPRjAiO319″;s:4:”data”;s:29:”Individual Based Models (IBM)”;}s:16:”TxuFN3117l2q9vk5″;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:6:”wygwam”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:204:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6Njoid3lnd2FtIjtzOjg6InNldHRpbmdzIjthOjQ6e3M6NjoiY29uZmlnIjtzOjE6IjYiO3M6NToiZGVmZXIiO3M6MToibiI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6Im1pQTQyRktaNDdHUHVKMWQiO3M6NToidGl0bGUiO3M6NzoiQ29udGVudCI7fX0=”;s:4:”data”;s:789:”

Individual Based Models (IBM) developed for each of the five focal groundfish species provide information about the basic life history and behavior of these fish as they grow from eggs to larvae and juveniles and are transported from spawning to nursery areas. Information about the typical depth at which the fish spend time during a given life stage, and the time that elapses between stages, is included the models. The IBM, NPZ, and ROMS models are nested so that the oceanography determines the location of a given fish at a particular time, the NPZ model determines the productivity at that location, and the IBM determines if the habitat is suitable for the fish during that stage of its life cycle. The combination of these environmental conditions determines fish survival.



Photo Credit: Merrill Jensen

a:2:{s:16:”f9UEofO9XnRTmiEg”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:10:”text_field”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:244:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6MTA6InRleHRfZmllbGQiO3M6ODoic2V0dGluZ3MiO2E6NDp7czo1OiJ0aXRsZSI7czoxMzoiQmxvY2sgSGVhZGluZyI7czoxMjoiY29udGVudF90eXBlIjtzOjA6IiI7czoxNDoiY29udGVudF9mb3JtYXQiO3M6NDoibm9uZSI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6IndQYWNCdmFjV1QydFZPRjAiO319″;s:4:”data”;s:12:”Other Models”;}s:16:”y3BLVli23MQU9DVE”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:6:”wygwam”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:204:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6Njoid3lnd2FtIjtzOjg6InNldHRpbmdzIjthOjQ6e3M6NjoiY29uZmlnIjtzOjE6IjYiO3M6NToiZGVmZXIiO3M6MToibiI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6Im1pQTQyRktaNDdHUHVKMWQiO3M6NToidGl0bGUiO3M6NzoiQ29udGVudCI7fX0=”;s:4:”data”;s:387:”

A genetics model is used to compare the connectivity between spawning and nursery areas predicted by the IBM models with genetic variation observed in samples collected during prior field studies.

A multi-species model is used to examine the interactions of the five focal fish species with one another and predators and will also address the potential impacts of fishing.



Studying the Past

Ocean and Climate Forces


This aspect of the project focuses on the physical and biological oceanography that influences the survival of the five focal groundfish species (Pacific cod, pollock, Pacific ocean perch, sablefish, and arrowtooth flounder) during their first year of life.  Oceanographers are testing the hypothesis that cross-shelf and along-shelf transport of nutrients and plankton differs in the central and southeast Gulf of Alaska and that the mechanisms controlling primary production differ as a result.  They are also testing the hypothesis that the food webs leading to larval and juvenile fish differ between these regions.

Courtesy GOAIERP Research Team

a:2:{s:16:”Lk7OTiRETDgAGQTG”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:10:”text_field”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:244:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6MTA6InRleHRfZmllbGQiO3M6ODoic2V0dGluZ3MiO2E6NDp7czo1OiJ0aXRsZSI7czoxMzoiQmxvY2sgSGVhZGluZyI7czoxMjoiY29udGVudF90eXBlIjtzOjA6IiI7czoxNDoiY29udGVudF9mb3JtYXQiO3M6NDoibm9uZSI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6IndQYWNCdmFjV1QydFZPRjAiO319″;s:4:”data”;s:21:”Cross-Shelf Transport”;}s:16:”le9RPqHd6JDvuIOb”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:6:”wygwam”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:204:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6Njoid3lnd2FtIjtzOjg6InNldHRpbmdzIjthOjQ6e3M6NjoiY29uZmlnIjtzOjE6IjYiO3M6NToiZGVmZXIiO3M6MToibiI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6Im1pQTQyRktaNDdHUHVKMWQiO3M6NToidGl0bGUiO3M6NzoiQ29udGVudCI7fX0=”;s:4:”data”;s:747:”

Cross-shelf transport is the process by which nutrient-rich water from the deep ocean basin is carried by currents or upwelling into the shallower waters over the continental shelf. Nutrients collect in deeper waters when organisms die and sink to the sea floor. When they are brought up into shallower waters, nutrients act as the fertilizer that planktonic algae need to grow. When these planktonic plants are exposed to sunlight in the presence of nutrients, they can grow very quickly in what is known as a plankton bloom and form the base of the marine food web. This project will contribute to our understanding of the processes controlling when and where these blooms occur and how that influences the food web in the Gulf of Alaska.

a:2:{s:16:”u5wvbhAxQvzTfxHw”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:10:”text_field”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:244:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6MTA6InRleHRfZmllbGQiO3M6ODoic2V0dGluZ3MiO2E6NDp7czo1OiJ0aXRsZSI7czoxMzoiQmxvY2sgSGVhZGluZyI7czoxMjoiY29udGVudF90eXBlIjtzOjA6IiI7czoxNDoiY29udGVudF9mb3JtYXQiO3M6NDoibm9uZSI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6IndQYWNCdmFjV1QydFZPRjAiO319″;s:4:”data”;s:21:”Along-Shelf Transport”;}s:16:”sPUi4qNZnEWwWMpw”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:6:”wygwam”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:204:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6Njoid3lnd2FtIjtzOjg6InNldHRpbmdzIjthOjQ6e3M6NjoiY29uZmlnIjtzOjE6IjYiO3M6NToiZGVmZXIiO3M6MToibiI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6Im1pQTQyRktaNDdHUHVKMWQiO3M6NToidGl0bGUiO3M6NzoiQ29udGVudCI7fX0=”;s:4:”data”;s:751:”

Along-shelf transport is the movement of water along the coast over the continental shelf. In the Gulf of Alaska, coastal water typically flows counter-clockwise, northward along the coast of Southeast Alaska, westward along the central Gulf of Alaska coast, and southwest as it moves past Kodiak Island toward the Aleutian Island chain. This project is describing this movement of water and how it changes both seasonally and inter-annually to better understand how currents may affect the transport of zooplankton and larval fish from their offshore spawning areas to nearshore nursery areas. It is also providing information about the transport of iron, zooplankton, and fish off of the continental shelf into the deeper waters of the basin.

a:2:{s:16:”cNL4r4ohU9u66wLo”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:10:”text_field”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:244:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6MTA6InRleHRfZmllbGQiO3M6ODoic2V0dGluZ3MiO2E6NDp7czo1OiJ0aXRsZSI7czoxMzoiQmxvY2sgSGVhZGluZyI7czoxMjoiY29udGVudF90eXBlIjtzOjA6IiI7czoxNDoiY29udGVudF9mb3JtYXQiO3M6NDoibm9uZSI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6IndQYWNCdmFjV1QydFZPRjAiO319″;s:4:”data”;s:26:”Data Collection & Sampling”;}s:16:”DdIuHu4I3uT7NoxC”;a:3:{s:12:”element_type”;s:6:”wygwam”;s:16:”element_settings”;s:204:”YToyOntzOjQ6InR5cGUiO3M6Njoid3lnd2FtIjtzOjg6InNldHRpbmdzIjthOjQ6e3M6NjoiY29uZmlnIjtzOjE6IjYiO3M6NToiZGVmZXIiO3M6MToibiI7czozOiJlaWQiO3M6MTY6Im1pQTQyRktaNDdHUHVKMWQiO3M6NToidGl0bGUiO3M6NzoiQ29udGVudCI7fX0=”;s:4:”data”;s:3368:”

Field data collection is conducted in spring and fall throughout the study region (to see maps of the sampling sites, please visit the Study Region page under the About the Project menu). A variety of data are collected aboard the oceanographic vessels. An instrument is lowered at each sampling station to collect infomation about salinity, temperature, and depth to create a profile of the water column. Water samples are also collected at depth.

Iron sampling is conducted aboard the oceanographic vessels as well. Iron is necessary for primary production to occur, and iron is typically input into coastal Gulf of Alaska waters via terrestrial freshwater runoff. Understanding the processes that concentrate iron in the ocean, such as eddies (circular currents), will further our understanding of primary production and allow us to better predict when and where plankton blooms are likely to occur.

Satellite-tracked drifters are deployed from the oceanographic vessels to illustrate the actual movement of water around the Gulf of Alaska. Researchers watch the movment of these drifters over time to learn about the passive transport of larval fish and how their trajectories may change based on climatic conditions.

Bongo nets are used to catch fish eggs, zooplankton and larval fish to describe the base of the food web and how it differs with geographic region. Information about when and where fish eggs and larval fish of each of the five focal groundfish species are found is being used to initialize ecological models that will simulate the transport of larval fish from their offshore spawning areas to nearshore nursery areas.

Biophysical moorings are deployed throughout the Gulf of Alaska in February and are recovered in October. These moorings collect detailed information about water properties, currents, and phytoplankton and zooplankton concentrations in localized areas. These data represent time-series that provide important insights into how these factors vary seasonally and inter-annually. Little was known about the dynamics of water flow in Southeast Alaska prior to this study and this project is advancing our knowledge of the oceanography in the region considerably.



Submit Potential Research Topics for the 2017 Request for Proposals

Each spring, NPRB staff develops research priorities for the upcoming year's request for proposals (RFP). Working closely with NPRB's science panel and the broader research community, potential research priorities are drafted for the NPRB advisory panel and board to review in the fall. In an effort to coordinate research activities and avoid duplication, NPRB has established formal agreements with other agencies to jointly identify time-sensitive science, management, and monitoring needs. NPRB draws on research needs outlined in the 2005 NPRB Science Plan, an assessment of completed, current and planned projects, and new information presented at science meetings and in the scientific literature.

If you have a research suggestion that you think merits consideration in the 2017 RFP, please complete the RFP input form by Friday, July 22, 2016 to ensure consideration.

Read the RFP evolution to see topics included in the annual RFP since NPRB issued the first call in 2002.

It’s All in the Details

It's all the details of the navigation charts….

NOAA’s Mark Zimmerman is making some detailed maps with antique information that turns out to provide even more detail about the bottom of the Gulf of Alaska – helpful stuff to fisheries managers and researchers. 
When the National Oceanic Surveys (NOS) conducted surveys of the bottom of the Gulf of Alaska almost a century ago, the information was used to create the marine navigation charts that we all use on the water. However, when creating the navigation chart, the NOS used only about 1% of the information that was collected from the bottom of the ocean. When NOS digitized the original paper surveys, they left out a lot of the details. Now Mark Zimmerman’s team at NOAA is going back to those paper charts and collecting the details. 
“It’s like when we drive our car on a road there are signs that tell us when to stop, where the cross walks are and when to slow down, “says Zimmerman, the NOAA “ The maps we are making now,” says Zimmerman, “tell us where the potholes are.” These new maps have far more details than navigation charts. The old paper surveys show where all the bumps and dips are on the ocean floor, for example, and those bumps are dips are fish habitat. When NOAA surveys the bottom of the ocean for bottom dwelling fish its useful to know when the bottom is going to be too steep or too rough to sample using a bottom trawl and where other methods can be employed to count fish. 
For the Gulf of Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Project, these new charts are used to help look at habitat where juvenile fish may be hanging out and when Zimmerman combines his NOS “antique chart” data with GIS topographical information from topo charts he can calculate a whole new set of useful information about marine habitat in the bays and inlets of the Gulf of Alaska. He can calculate how much volume of water there is in a bay, or how much area is covered by kelp beds or rocky reefs. His chart work is being used by NOAA scientists Kalei Shotwell and Jodi Pirtle to make predictive models for where the five species of commercially important groundfish may be found. Go here for more information!

Studying the Past

Warmer Temps in the Gulf of Alaska

NPRB funded researcher Russ Hopcroft was looking at warmer temperatures in the waters of the Gulf of Alaska this summer

Most Alaskans would comment on how unusual the summer weather has been during 2014.  The same applies to the waters in the Gulf of Alaska – it’s been a hot one!  Ocean surface temperatures there were a comfy 55-57°F. A team of scientists that have been studying the Alaskan shelf south of Seward, Alaska, found the upper 300 feet of the ocean to be from 1 to 5°F warmer than the September average they have measured over the past 17 years.  “It was like working in a bath tub out there” said chief scientist Professor Russ Hopcroft, “except for the wind and 12 foot swell. This year was more than 1 degree warmer than any other year we have studied.”

The warm temperatures are partly a result of an unsual winter that left the distant offshore water of the Gulf far warmer than normal. A warm water anomaly in the tropical Pacific Ocean may have further added to the warming. Together, they have created warmer summer waters from Southeastern Alaska through the Bering Sea.  While this might be great if you’re a swimmer, warmer temperatures can have large consequences to marine life that are accustomed to colder year-round temperatures.  Some colder-water species experience hard times when water is too warm for them. Consequences may have been mixed for other species, for example, while some fish grow more quickly in warm water, they also burn more calories at warmer temperatures, so need to find much more food. 

During warm years, coastal currents also tend to bring more warm water species northward.  The team lead by University of Alaska researchers found unusually large numbers of warmer water plankton species during their survey. Months of laboratory work analyzing plankton samples will be required to know the extent of their invasion.  NOAA partners studying ocean acidification have had a small armada of self-contained robotic devices out monitoring the physics and chemistry of the shelf and the nearby Prince William Sound since their last cruise in May.  This will provide an unprecedented look at the seasonal progression during this unusual year.

The ability of scientists to keep their fingers on the pulse of the ocean has been increasing progressively over the past decades. An army of profiling drifters monitors temperature and salinity in the deep oceans beyond the continental shelf.  Satellites have also been able to follow the development of these warm conditions at the ocean’s surface.  But understanding the details of what is happening on the Alaskan shelf – and most importantly its biological consequences – requires regular ship-based surveys that are in place to capture extreme events such as 2014. The North Pacific Research Board, Alaska Ocean Observing System and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council have formed a consortium to ensure such information is collected in Alaska and distribute that information to the public as soon as it becomes available.

Studying the Past

The Mystery of Sablefish Survival

GOAIERP scientists study what environmental conditions and habitats are important in sablefish survival

In 2008, a team of scientists at the Auke Bay Laboratories initiated several dedicated research projects aimed at understanding ecological and management issues concerning Alaska sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria). One of these projects is led by Dr. Kalei Shotwell and deals specifically with exploring the driving mechanisms surrounding the highly variable and uncertain survival of young sablefish.  The project began with two main goals: 1) determine if an index of young sablefish could be created from historical data and 2) investigate whether measures of the environment can be used in a model to predict the survival of these young fish. Toward the first goal, Dr. Shotwell collected the available data from short-term surveys and found that it was not consistent enough in space and time to be used within the current sablefish assessment model. However, the information can be used for helping understand the best habitat for young sablefish to settle upon after their long journey to the nearshore. Dr. Shotwell along with Dr. Jodi Pirtle of the Benthic Habitat Project will be using this information to develop habitat suitability models and maps to characterize the nearshore benthic habitat for sablefish and the other focal species. These maps will be used by several components of the GOA Project, specifically the modeling component to inform their individual based model trajectories.


The search for environmental predictors for the second goal of Dr. Shotwell’s sablefish project has led to investigating ways to include environmental information in stock assessment. The first breakthrough was the discovery of a relationship between the North Pacific Polar Front and sablefish survival (Shotwell et al. 2014). Colder than average wintertime measures of this large-scale ocean feature in the central North Pacific were found to create good survival conditions for young sablefish. This relationship led Dr. Shotwell and her co-authors (Dr. Dana Hanselman and Dr. Igor Belkin) to put forward a conceptual model of sablefish early-life survival which was termed the ODDS model for Ocean Domain Dynamic Synergy. It is basically a description of the pressures that might influence the survival of young sablefish as they journey from where they are born in the deep ocean slope, through their ride on the waves of the ocean gauntlet, and finally as they settle to their habitat homes in the nearshore. Answering the “What are the Odds?” question for sablefish has led Dr. Shotwell to work with several researchers (GOA Project included) to consider the influence of other environmental measures such as mesoscale eddies, upwelling, freshwater output, nearshore production, pink salmon competitors, and seabird predators. The results of these projects are forthcoming and when completed Dr. Shotwell plans to work with the lead authors of these projects to collect the relevant indicators that will serve as time series that support the ODDS model of early-life survival. These indicators will be compiled in an annual graphical report card to be included in the individual stock assessment reports. The sablefish ODDS report card may be used to assist scientists and managers in understanding what may influence sablefish survival and also visually see the changes of these environmental indicators over time.


Literature Cited:

Shotwell, S.K., D.H. Hanselman, and I.M. Belkin. 2014. Toward biophysical synergy: Investigating advection along the Polar Front to identify factors influencing Alaska sablefish recruitment. Deep-Sea Reaserch II. Special Issue, Fronts, Fish and Top Predators.

Studying the Past

Ironclad Science

Iron analysis sheds light on productivity of Gulf of Alaska

Iron is a nutrient that is needed in small quantities, but has a big impact on life in the Gulf of Alaska. Dr. Ana Aguilar-Islas is a chemical oceanographer at the University of Alaska School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences who is looking at the how, where and when of iron in the Gulf. Iron is especially important to tiny plant-like organisms – the phytoplankton. When there is sufficient iron relative to other nutrients, the more phytoplankton can produce and that can have cascading effects considered good for fish productivity. 
Last summer Dr. Aguilar-Islas's lab collected iron samples around the Gulf of Alaska and now she and her lab are doing the hard work of sample processing and analysis. Studying iron requires a sterile laboratory, because there is so little of it in seawater. The analysis of iron requires a clean work space where researchers wear special coats, gloves, headcover and shoes. The clean lab is kept to assure that iron from the outside in the form of dust, skin, and dirt doesn’t contaminate the water samples. People who work in the lab filter the collected seawater to separate iron into different sizes, and then using mass spectroscopy – a way to separate elements by their mass – they examine the iron itself. Marie Seguret is pictured here working in the lab.

Arctic Conceptual Model workshop report available

An Arctic Conceptual Model workshop co-sponsored by NPRB was held April 30 – May 2, 2013 and the workshop report is available here. The recommended citation for this report is: Dickson, D. (Editor). 2014. Developing a Conceptual Model of the Arctic Marine Ecosystem. Workshop report, North Pacific Research Board, 92p.

Kittiwakes, Herring and Anemones, Oh My!

North Pacific Research Board announces 2014 photo contest winners.

The North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) awarded a total of over $3000 to the winners of the 2014 installment of its annual photo contest. The winning images from the 2014 contest will be featured alongside 2013 contest winners in the 2015 NPRB calendar, which will be available to the public for free in January 2015. View the winning images.

Congratulations to all the photographers!

In the adult category,

First place: Nesting kittiwakes escape calving at Northland Glacier (Blackstone Bay, Prince William Sound) by Bill Rome of Eagle River
Second place: Sac roe herring fishery in Sitka Sound by Glenn Aronwits of Anchorage
Third place: Anemones in Sitka Harbor by Ward Hulbert of Anchorage

In the youth category,

First place: The remains of decaying dead pink salmon create a striking pattern by Lione Clare of Sitka
Second place: No bird in sight by Meret Beutler of Seward
Third place:  Living on the edge by Meret Beutler of Seward

WHo we are

Established in 2001, NPRB is a marine research organization that supports pressing fishery management issues or marine ecosystem needs.


More than 600 peer-reviewed publications have been produced through NPRB-funded research. Browse our library and our reports here.


NPRB comprises a 20 member Board, representing Federal, State, and other entitites while receiving advice from Science and Advisory Panels.


Looking to partner with NPRB? NPRB welcomes partnerships to co-fund research in areas of common interest and across its programs.


NPRB communicates and engages with a broad and diverse set of Alaskan stakeholders and audiences, from coastal communities to academia.


NPRB staff support the Board, Science, and Advisory Panels for funding decisions, science priorities, recommendations, and program management.

Funding Available

The Core Program offers year-round funding with flexible rolling submission options.


NPRB staff begins developing draft research priorities for the Core Program in late July and August. Submit before July 2nd to be considered for the current year’s RFP development. 

Our Programs

NPRB maintains scientific programs designed to address pressing fishery management issues and Alaska marine ecosystem information needs.


NPRB supports a competitive, peer-reviewed annual request for proposal (RFP) process dedicated to marine research in Alaskan waters.

The Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Reserach Program looked at how physical changes in the ocean influence the flow of energy through the marine food web in the Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, and western Beaufort Sea from 2017-2021.


Supporting science communication, engagement, outreach, and education initiatives for all our research programs.


This program supports new or existing time-series research that enhance the ability to understand the current state of marine ecosystems.

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


These are large-scale interdisciplinary ecosystem-based programs, requiring multiple agency coordination, collaboration, and investigation.


NPRB supports next generation scientists, researchers, and resource managers to further their studies in relevant fields of marine science and to our mission.

The Gulf of Alaska Project tested three main hypotheses about the survival and recruitment of five focal groundfish species (Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, walleye pollock, arrowtooth flounder, sablefish) during their first year of life.

About NPRB
  • Menu Item 1
  • Menu Item 2
  • Menu Item 3
  • Menu Item 4
  • Menu Item 5
  • Menu Item 6
  • Menu Item 7

Title Goes Here

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the

Title Goes Here

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the