UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS

Posts by Paula Dobbyn

Advocate of Alaska marine safety passes on

Alaska Sea Grant is mourning the passing of one of its early Marine Advisory agents.  Hank Pennington joined the Marine Advisory Program as an agent specializing in marine safety. In 1985 he founded the nonprofit Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA).  The association provides marine safety training for commercial fishermen, as well as subsistence and recreational boaters…

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Can mushrooms replace Styrofoam and keep the oceans cleaner?

A University of Alaska Anchorage researcher who hopes to curb ocean pollution thinks fungi might have a useful role to play. Philippe Amstislavski, an associate professor of public health at UAA, is experimenting with using mushrooms to create biodegradable insulation, shipping material and other environmentally friendly products. Alaska Sea Grant, a partnership between the National…

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Unusual number of marine mammals found dead

Working with local subsistence experts, our Nome-based Marine Advisory agent Gay Sheffield has found many marine mammals dead in recent days. They include whales, walruses, and seals (mostly pups). Sheffield told the The Nome Nugget that while it is not unusual to find dead marine mammals once in a while, the number of dead animals found in…

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Lack of sea ice sends seal pups and walrus calves to beach

It’s been a busy couple of months for members of the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network, including Alaska Sea Grant’s Gay Sheffield, as they respond to multiple reports of dead ice seals along the coast of the Bering and Chukchi Seas. NOAA Fisheries reported in mid-June that at least 60 seals have recently washed up…

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Southeast Alaska tribal council develops climate change plan

A group picture of 34 people in front of a building

Climate change in Alaska’s high Arctic often captures headlines. Images of vanishing sea ice, dead seabirds, beached marine mammals, melting permafrost and houses tumbling into the ocean are common. Less media attention is directed to Southeast Alaska, an archipelago of hundreds of islands around a thin strip of mainland, blanketed by coastal temperate rainforest. But…

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Alaska fellowship program welcomes three new graduate students

Alaska Sea Grant has selected three graduate students for its year-long fellowship program. Meredith Pochardt will spend her fellowship working with NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region in Juneau. Pochardt recently graduated with a master of fisheries science degree from Oregon State University. She will be in the Habitat Conservation division assisting researchers with their habitat conservation…

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Juneau oyster farmer battles red tape to grow family business

Woman in waders and boots standing on dock

Meta Mesdag is a commercial photographer and mom to three young children. More recently, the Southeast Alaska resident added oyster farmer to her resume. Mesdag is the owner of Salty Lady Seafood Company, a small-scale mariculture operation in Bridget Cove, north of Juneau. She launched the company in April 2018 with the goal of having…

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Juneau company makes waves with kelp

Wild salmon, king crab and halibut are hallmarks of Alaska cuisine. But another ocean product is increasingly making it way onto store shelves and dinner plates. It’s a sea vegetable called bull kelp—a salty, crisp plant packed with vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, iodine and iron. A small but growing company in Alaska’s state…

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