Early Spring Plankton and Benthos
What are they Doing?
A diverse team of researchers will participate in the first of three research cruises this season in support of the Bering Sea Ecosystem Study (BEST) and the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP). Scientists onboard the ship will document late winter ocean conditions, study the biological communities found in sea ice, monitor the early spring plankton bloom, and investigate light penetration through open water and ice cover. Additionally, researchers will be examining the benthic communities living on the seafloor as well as observing an important benthic predator, the walrus. The region of the Bering Sea where the team is working is biologically rich and supports highly productive ecological communities of bivalves, gastropods, and polychaetes. These benthic communities have been changing over the past several decades, perhaps as a result of competing fish species moving north as the Bering Sea's waters warm.
Where are They?
The team will be travelling on the icebreaker USCGC Healy to a sampling area in the northern Bering Sea. The Bering Sea lies to the west of Alaska and to the east of Russia. The team will depart from Kodiak Island, Alaska, and return to the port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which is in the Aleutian Islands.
Meet the Team
Passionate about land and water, Deanna Wheeler is inspired to make sure that "no child is left inside". Hands on, real science is her priority. From hatching, raising, and releasing yellow perch and horseshoe crabs to participating in a pilot sturgeon project, her students discover how connected they are to the world around them. Ms. Wheeler's love of learning and the outdoors meld together in her professional and personal life. She is dedicated as a teacher and as a citizen to better understand and protect the environment for positive impacts on individuals, the community, and the health of our environment. Ms. Wheeler cherishes time spent with her family, exploring, camping, kayaking, reading, and just having fun.
Lee Cooper is a research scientist with the State University System of Maryland, and has been working in the Arctic for approximately 30 years on interdisciplinary research problems. He is interested in high latitude oceanography, but has also worked on land, and in freshwater systems. His research specialty is biogeochemistry and he presently studies biological changes in the northern Bering Sea. He is committed to public service in support of improving arctic research through service on committees, organizing workshops, and teaching and public outreach responsibilities through the University of Maryland. Read more about Lee Cooper here [http://arctic.cbl.umces.edu]