Exhibit will highlight human connections to Aleutian Islands

A new traveling exhibit will teach visitors how human communities have relied on the Aleutian Islands as a source of food and protection. “Underwater Forests of the Aleutians” opened at the Museum of the Aleutians in Unalaska in July, and visitors can learn about ecosystems in the coastal environments surrounding the Aleutians and how communities depend on the resources that thrive there.

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Research will map risk of invasive aquatic weeds in Alaska

Woman in waders holding up elodea sample

Anchorage, Alaska—Waterbodies all over Alaska are at risk for being inhabited by elodea, an invasive waterweed that can interfere with salmon spawning and deplete lake nutrients. New research aims to inform resource managers about the costs and benefits of managing elodea, and prioritize areas that are most at risk for invasion. Tobias Schwörer, a researcher…

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Pollock fishermen may struggle to maintain catch numbers as oceans change

Fish processor standing over large tub of pollock

Juneau, Alaska—The behavior of pollock fishermen may yield insights about the effects of climate change on fishing operations, according to preliminary findings of a University of Alaska Fairbanks student researcher. Changes in the ocean and its resources have dramatic implications for communities and economies that rely on them. Jordan Watson, a PhD student at the…

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Baker steers Alaska fishermen toward success

Woman talking to people sitting around a table

Cordova, Alaska—With the dual perspective of a commercial fisherman and educator, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory agent Torie Baker strives to help Cordova fishermen connect with each other and run successful businesses. “Sometimes I feel like the den mother,” Baker said. “I like that people are able to come to my office and ask basic…

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Ginny Eckert inspires big-picture thinking in her research and students

woman on shore with spotting scope and binoculars

Juneau, Alaska—Ginny Eckert likes having a comprehensive understanding of the world around her. Her work as the associate director of research at Alaska Sea Grant and professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences has taken her all over Alaska. Eckert and her graduate students have studied reproductive potential of…

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Burgeoning sea otter population in southern Southeast Alaska depletes commercial fishery species

Three floating sea otters

Juneau, Alaska—Sea otters enjoy feeding on sea cucumbers, sea urchins, Dungeness crabs and geoducks. Unfortunately, so do people. In southern Southeast Alaska, commercial fisheries for these invertebrate species provide income for local economies. At the same time, a growing population of sea otters is consuming the invertebrates. Predation from the otters is already having an…

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Glacier silt hinders establishment of kelp bed communities

diver working with equipment on seafloor

Kachemak Bay, Alaska—Long-term build up of silt from glacier melt is limiting growth and establishment of kelp beds in Kachemak Bay, according to an ongoing project by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers. Kelp beds form tall underwater forests that are an important habitat in Kachemak Bay near Homer. Large kelp beds serve as a nursery…

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Glacier meltwater into Southeast Alaska estuaries influences fish diets

Two researchers at waters edge pulling in seine net

Juneau, Alaska—In most estuaries, fish feed on ocean- and river-dwelling plants and animals.  However, fish living in some estuaries near Juneau also have the option to eat terrestrial and freshwater species delivered by glacier meltwater. Estuaries are coastal water bodies that contain both saltwater from the ocean and freshwater from rivers or streams. The rivers…

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Fish to school program will increase local salmon in school lunches

bowl of fish soup

Fairbanks, Alaska—The “fish to school” program aims to help schools in Alaska upgrade lunch menus from fish sticks to locally caught salmon. The program promises to both support Alaska fishermen and improve nutrition.  What we eat affects our bodies, community economics and the environment. Many Alaska communities also have a strong cultural connection to the food…

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