TODAY marks the start of the 28th Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium, at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, at which scientists from around the world will present research on how the Arctic marine environment is responding to climate change.
The four-day symposium will feature new and interesting research from 60 scientists on the impacts of a changing arctic climate on the region's ocean circulation and composition, whales, fish, polar bears, seals, seabirds, shellfish, and lower trophic level species such as plankton. Scientists also will discuss impacts of the arctic's changing climate on humans and human activities such as subsistence, oil, gas and other natural resource extraction, shipping, infrastructure, livelihoods and culture.
Keynote speakers include:
• Kate Moran, president of Ocean Networks Canada, who has led several major oceanographic expeditions, including the first drilling expedition to the Arctic Ocean in 2004. The following year she led the first expedition to find the source of the earthquake that caused the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
• Sue Moore is a biological oceanographer with the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology. SHE spent the past 35 years studying the ecology, bioacoustics, and the natural history of whales and dolphins in the Western Arctic.
• Edward Itta is an Inupiat whaler and hunter in Barrow, Alaska. He is committed to protecting the Inupiat subsistence heritage and ensuring the long-term social and economic viability of all the communities of Alaska's North Slope.
Invited guest speakers include: Fran Ulmer, chair of the US Arctic Research Commission; Anne Hollowed, senior scientist at the NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center; Philip Loring, ecological anthropologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Mike Hammill, head of the marine mammal section of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and others.
Sea Ice covering the Arctic Ocean reached a record low in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The steady loss of arctic sea ice is perhaps the most obvious sign of a warming planet.
Far less obvious is how individual marine species—from arctic cod that live just below and sometimes within the sea ice, to seals, whales, polar bears and ultimately humans—will respond to the loss of sea ice and other consequences of a warmer Arctic.
The symposium is organized by Alaska Sea Grant, and guided by steering committee members from NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Pew Environment Group, US Arctic Research Commission, Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, North Pacific Research Board, and the Institute of Marine Research in Norway.
To download the complete symposium programme booklet and learn more about the symposium, please visit: http://seagrant.uaf.edu/conferences/2013/wakefield-arctic-ecosystems/index.php