Storm-related data help Bristol Bay communities plan for change

Man on a boat holds a GPS and a large plastic object.

Coastal communities across the Bristol Bay region are facing significant environmental change as the climate warms. For many west and northwest Alaska coastal communities, long, cold winters produce a barrier of sea ice along the coast, protecting against erosion and damage to infrastructure. With a warming Arctic resulting in less solid sea ice and longer…

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Planning for extreme climate events in Southeast Alaska

stumps and roots on the shoreline

Residents of Southeast Alaska are used to lots of rain and snow. Although precipitation varies greatly across the region, less than 30 inches of precipitation a year is highly unusual. As the climate changes, however, the region has experienced hotter and drier conditions, as well as other unusual weather events. Extreme heat and drought conditions…

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Research investigates toxins in Arctic food webs and marine mammals

Walrus with tusks on a piece of ice in the ocean

A new bulletin published by Alaska Sea Grant summarizes research to inform the public and help them understand the risk of paralytic shellfish toxins in Arctic Alaska food webs and marine mammals. Paralytic shellfish toxins—also called saxitoxins—are produced by microscopic marine algae and can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) when people consume shellfish or marine…

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Kachemak Bay monitoring efforts contribute important data about ocean acidification in nearshore ecosystems

man on boat holding research equipment

Alaska’s coastal waters are some of the most commercially valuable and productive ecosystems on the planet. Ocean acidification—a decrease in ocean pH caused by increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide—is expected to impact these ecosystems, but very little is known about how it could alter nearshore environments. Nearshore ecosystems provide habitat and serve as a nursery…

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Student interns from Kake contribute to local climate change studies

Elizabeth Figus, PhD, contributed to this story. During the summer of 2021, two students from Kake participated in Alaska Sea Grant’s Community Engaged Internship (CEI). The internship is designed for undergraduate students from underrepresented and Indigenous communities, with the goal to engage students in place-based projects that respect and integrate local ways of knowing. Simon…

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New podcast explores solutions to warming ocean

logo showing crab holding headphones

Ocean acidification and ocean warming are growing concerns of coastal Alaskans and the seafood industry. As carbon dioxide levels rise in the atmosphere due to fossil fuel burning and deforestation, about one-third gets absorbed by the ocean, making it more acidic. The ocean also absorbs most of the excess heat resulting from greenhouse gas emissions,…

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Cause of seabird die-offs still unknown

Dead bird on beach.

For the fifth year in a row, Gay Sheffield has been investigating unusual seabird deaths in Western Alaska in collaboration with Bering Strait residents, Kawerak Inc., the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others. Sheffield is a marine mammal biologist and Alaska Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Program agent in Nome. Part of her work involves…

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Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference focuses on climate change

WAISC logo on top of photo of man holding an instrument on shore

Alaska Sea Grant, together with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay Campus, hosted the 13th annual Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference (WAISC) on May 13 and 14. The conference brought together local and indigenous knowledge of subsistence-based communities and other scientific research relevant to Western Alaska. Normally convening in a Western Alaska community such…

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Improving sea ice forecasts for safer subsistence harvests

Closeup of Pacific walrus

Alaska Native people have lived along the coasts of the Chukchi and Bering seas in northwest Alaska for thousands of years. The rich bounty of the ocean, including marine mammals, fish and birds, has sustained these communities, not only feeding them, but also shaping their traditions, culture, identity and health. The Pacific walrus is an…

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