The research vessel Sikuliaq made port in Nome in late June after a cruise, which began in Seward on May 31. The scientists on board have been doing research in the Bering Strait area and the southern Chukchi Sea. As part of the Strait Science lecture series at UAF’s Northwest Campus, senior scientist Seth Danielson gave a talk on the vessel’s voyage and the nature of its mission.
“This project is part of a multi-year program that’s funded primarily by the North Pacific Research Board,” said Danielson, the chief scientist aboard the vessel. “It’s called the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Research Program. Our particular project within this program is called the Arctic Shelf Growth, Advection, Respiration and Deposition, Rate Measurement Project. ASGARD for short. In Norse mythology ASGARD is the homeland of the gods and it’s the most productive of all those homelands.”
The continental shelf in the Bering Strait region is remarkable in that it gets the biggest flux of nutrients of any inner continental shelf anywhere. “There’s a massive stream of nutrients that’s coming up from the Gulf of Anadyr, we call it Anadyr water, and it flows north into the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait closing the global freshwater balance,” said Danielson. Excess fresh water from the North Pacific goes through the Bering Strait and makes its way to the North Atlantic, where the ocean is saltier.
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