Kodiak hosts regional marine science symposium

Kodiak Area Marine Science Symposium

Alaska Sea Grant recently wrapped up the fourth Kodiak Area Marine Science Symposium. The multi-day symposium had taken place every three years since 2011, but was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“We were determined not to let another year go by without this important regional event,” said event chair and local Marine Advisory Program agent Julie Matweyou. “Thanks to an amazing steering committee, many local partners, and our eager presenters, we were able to move to an online format, and I think we can all agree it was a success.”

As in prior years, the event provided an opportunity for researchers to come together and share their interdisciplinary work with the Kodiak community. This year’s keynote speaker was Steve Barbeaux, a research fisheries biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. His talk on heat wave impacts on the Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod kicked off a full schedule of presentations that took place over four days.

The symposium included oral and poster presentations spanning a variety of marine science and related fields pertinent to the region’s coastal communities. Oral presentations, delivered via the online platform Zoom, were grouped in themes including fisheries, harmful algal blooms, marine birds and mammals, and crabs. Submitted scientific posters are available on the event website.

Guest speaker Natalia Ruppert, a geophysicist from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, made an appearance on the third day of the symposium with a presentation and discussion of the 2018 Kodiak earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.9. 

overlooking Kodiak harbor, with mountains and dramatic clouds
Kodiak, Alaska. Photo by Davin Holen/Alaska Sea Grant.

Several coordinated activities took place over the course of the week to engage Kodiak youth in marine science. The Kodiak Public Library and Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge shared marine related resources and activities, and Kodiak 4-H organized a marine debris cleanup project. The collected trash was transformed into mosaic fish art displayed at the Kodiak History Museum and the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. 

The week closed with a Buskin Beach cleanup hosted by the Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak, Alaska Sea Grant and the Island Trails Network. The online symposium attracted 190 registered participants.

Since the first Kodiak Area Marine Science Symposium took place in 2011, it has come to be an important opportunity for the local community. The event offers a venue for researchers to plan for integrated, cooperative and community-inspired marine research, and a chance for community members to learn how Kodiak’s marine environment and resources function, change, and affect local lives and livelihoods.

For more details and to find recordings of the symposium presentations, visit the Kodiak Area Marine Science Symposium event page and local news covering the event: