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.
Twenty-one middle school students built, learned how to operate and took home their own small unmanned aircraft at a camp taught by pilots and engineers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute the week of June 11-15.
The camp, funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, uses unmanned aircraft to encourage kids to pursue science, technology, engineering and math-related education and careers.
Pilots and engineers from UAF’s Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration instructed the students through a combination of engineering, flying and interacting with simulators. The students spent the week building their own unmanned aircraft, piece by piece, and flying them. They listened to presentations from industry guest speakers and learned about topics like no-fly zones and the importance of registration.
The goal was for kids to leave with technical skills and a well-rounded knowledge of not only the UAS industry but also FAA safety rules and other requirements.
The University of Alaska (UA) has been collaborating with maritime industry representatives, state agencies, legislators and other training entities across the state since 2012 on the Fishing, Seafood and Maritime Initiative (FSMI). The goal of the initiative is to assess, develop and deliver training programs, raise awareness and further research to prepare Alaskans to meet current and emerging workforce, economic and scientific needs.
The FSMI Spring Update was released in May. Read the full report here.
Government, industry and academic representatives met in Anchorage recently to discuss new ways to advance the state’s maritime sector.
Alaska’s maritime industry—sometimes referred to as “Alaska’s blue economy”—supports over 70,000 jobs and is the state’s largest private employer, according to the Alaska Department of Labor. It includes fishermen, seafood processors, ocean managers and researchers, vessel operators, deckhands, mechanics and many others who work in jobs connected to Alaska’s 44,000 miles of shoreline and its multibillion-dollar annual seafood industry.
The 2018 federal budget was passed and signed into law in late March. The omnibus bill calls for $65 million in base funding for Sea Grant and $11.5 million in directed funding for aquaculture. That’s an increase of $4 million over last year’s appropriation to Sea Grant.
“It is a testament to the high caliber of the work done by everyone in the Sea Grant network and the impacts we have had on our constituents,” said Jonathan Pennock, director, National Sea Grant College Program.
The White House had proposed eliminating all funding for Sea Grant earlier this year.