Marine Science Symposium Coming to Anchorage

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

A big science meeting that happens every year in Anchorage is bigger than ever this year.

Sponsored by the North Pacific Research Board, the ninth annual Marine Science Symposium is where the results of this year’s scientific field season are revealed. The Board pays for a lot of that research from a federally designated fund, but in recent years, there have been significant infusions of research money from offshore oil and gas lease bids, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies.

Among other things, the Symposium will feature the observations from a second year of biological and chemical surveys of the Chukchi Sea, where Shell bid close to $2 billion for oil leases.

Presidential Oil Spill Commission member Fran Ulmer will talk about that body’s findings, announced this week in Washington.  The latest field observations of Pacific Walrus will be shared: Withdrawing sea ice has forced many female walrus to shore to have their calves, and there are signs that they have been increasingly moving into Russian waters. A lot of fisheries science will be presented as well.

Clarence Pautzke has been Executive Director of the Research Board for nine years, and has seen a lot of growth in that time:

The poster sessions take place in the evening.  The scientists put up posters describing their work and are available to talk with anyone who comes by.

Scientists will present a proposal for an array of observing equipment in the Bering Strait.  And the Calista Elders Council will present its plan for documenting indigenous Yupik knowledge and integrating it with scientific observations.

Download Audio (MP3)