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Learn More INTEGRATED ECOSYSTEM
RESEARCH
To support innovative multi-disciplinary research to improve understanding of the complex mechanistic processes that influence the structure and function of marine ecosystems.

Integrated Ecosystem
Research

To support innovative multi-disciplinary research to improve understanding of the complex mechanistic processes that influence the structure and function of marine ecosystems.

INTEGRATED ECOSYSTEM RESEARCH

oceanographic, fisheries, marine wildlife, & social scientific research

NPRB developed the Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (IERP) to support multi-disciplinary research to better understand the complex mechanistic processes that influence the structure and function of marine ecosystems. IERP investigations include, for example, studies of the processes that affect productivity, organize biological communities, shape species interactions, and influence ecosystem services for communities and industry. IERP research is explicitly intended to identify and characterize important ecosystem attributes and processes to improve our ability to forecast and respond to environmental change.

The program promotes collaboration across disciplines (e.g., oceanography, fisheries, social science) and integration across ecosystem components (e.g., physics, chemistry, plankton, invertebrates, fishes, marine birds and mammals, humans). It also advances partnership and exchange among the wide range of entities and institutions responsible for implementing research and management in the North Pacific. Since 2002, NPRB has supported three IERPs in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and Arctic marine ecosystems. NPRB is currently planning a fourth IERP that will be centered in, but not limited to, the Northern Bering Sea. The intent is to examine processes and dynamics in this region as influenced by adjacent systems. 

Starting in 2025! New Integrated Fisheries Ecosystem research in
the Northern Bering Sea

The Bering Sea is a productive and diverse marine ecosystem that supports important fisheries and coastal communities in western Alaska. But with recent warming conditions in the Bering and Chukchi Seas and rapid sea ice loss, this once productive ecosystem is showing signs of profound transition. The North Pacific Research Board will focus on the northern Bering Sea and will include consideration of upstream and downstream ecosystems in the southeastern Bering Sea, western Bering Sea, and Chukchi Sea, respectively.

New! Northern Bering Sea IERP

Starting in 2025, the Northern Bering Sea IERP will investigate how environmental conditions and processes in the Northern Bering Sea influence species of commercial, ecological and subsistence importance, and implications for state and federal fisheries management and communities that depend on these resources.

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.

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. 

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.

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Phases of Integrated marine ecosystem Research

ASSESSMENT PHASE

During the assessment phase, existing knowledge is synthesized and research needs are identified.

Research Implementation

During the research implementation phase, data are collected and integrated analyses are conducted. The research implementation phase is typically five years in duration and includes 2-3 years of field data collection.

Synthesis

During the synthesis phase, data and ideas that resulted from the research implementation phase are further leveraged to provide an opportunity to address new research questions and conduct integrated analyses that will inform resource management.

Questions or Inquiries

Questions should be directed to Danielle Dickson, Senior Program Manager of the Integrated Ecosystem Research Program  (Danielle.Dickson@nprb.org) or Matthew Baker, NPRB Science Director (Matthew.Baker@nprb.org).