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Ecosystem Study of the Chukchi Shoal

Meet the Team

Teacher - Deanna Wheeler

Deanna Wheeler's picture
J. C. Parks Elementary School
Indian Head , Maryland
United States

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.

Researcher - Lee Cooper

Lee Cooper's picture
University of Maryland
Solomons , Maryland
United States

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 []


August 27, 2012 Wake Up! Was it a Dream?

Arctic – Homebound- Was I just in the Arctic on Saturday and now I am at home on the couch with the family and dog? Traveling by air can make the sense of time and place surreal. I can imagine that before air travel, people had a connection to the land and changes in the landscape as they...

August 23, 2012 A Piece of the Bottom-- A Picture of the Past

Healy 1201
Gravity Cores by Dr Lee Cooper Dr. Lee Cooper The gravity core is an instrument shaped like a missile. It is designed to forcibly enter a meter or more into the sediments. We are primarily using it to collect long, small diameter cores that are suitable for measuring sedimentation rates.

August 22, 2012 Going to the Zoo—the Copepod Zoo with Carin Ashjian

Healy 1201
Zooplankton Project by Dr. Ashjian- Dr. Carin Ashjian, scientist at Woods Hole Institute of Oceanography, at her microscope Zooplankton are small animals that live in the water and that swim so slowly that they cannot swim against the ocean currents.

August 21, 2012 Haps! You've got it!

Healy 1201
Coring the bottom- Let’s see if you can shout “Haps” after reading this journal. The Haps Corer is the instrument used by teams studying the bottom of the Chukchi Sea. Simply, it is a tube that is forced into the bottom and removes a cylinder of sediment, which is called a core. On Team Benthos,...

August 20, 2012 Poetry Mash Up Continues… and a Sunset, too.

Healy 1201
Science and Poetry Continues! Poem At the Seabird Olympics The seabird’s Darth Vader, the long-tailed jaeger, Makes his pirate’s patrol, taking his toll on the kittiwake’s hold of a silvery fish, who wishes instead that both birds will fumble their dish Back to that blue roiling ocean,...

Project Information

Chukchi Sea Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA) Hanna Shoal Ecosystem Study
USCGC Healy, Hanna Shoal, northwest of Barrow, Alaska on the Chukchi Sea
3 August 2012
25 August 2012

Where are They?

The Healy icebreaker crosses the Chukchi Sea
The Healy icebreaker crosses the Chukchi Sea
The team will live and work from the United States Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy. The USCGC Healy is a research vessel designed to conduct a wide range of research activities and can break through 4 ½ feet of ice continuously. The team will travel to the Hanna Shoal, northwest of Barrow, Alaska in the Chukchi Sea, which may be a sensitive ecological system close to areas planned to be exploited for oil and gas exploration.

What are they Doing?

Raising a Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) Sensor
Raising a Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) Sensor
The northern Chukchi Shelf receives large inputs of organic matter from the highly productive shelf regions of the North Pacific and from local sources of primary production, including algae in the ice and sediment and phytoplankton in the water column. As a result, highly productive biological "hotspots" have been documented in the vicinity of Hanna Shoal. Because of the biological significance of this region and its importance for oil and gas exploration and development, the team is planning a multi-disciplinary investigation to examine the biological, chemical and physical properties that define this ecosystem.

Previous work in the area has profiled the biogeochemistry of the northern Chuckhi sea but this study will focus more particularly on the Hanna Shoal region, looking at phytoplankton and zooplankton in the open ocean as well as the physical oceanography through direct measurement of circulation, density fields and ice conditions.


Title Date About Type
Massillon Native, Teacher to Explore Chukchi Sea 6 August 2012 Online newspaper from Massillon, Ohio interviews teacher Deanna Wheeler about her second PolarTREC... Article
Parks Teacher to Embark on an Arctic Journey for the Second Time 25 July 2012 This press release in the Bayonet online newspaper from Maryland outlines teacher Deanna Wheeler's... Article
Follow the Polar Expedition! A Student Activity Booklet Follow the Polar Expedition is a booklet designed for students to help them learn about the 2012... Activity
Parks Teacher to Embark on an Arctic Journey for the 2nd Time 27 July 2012 Article from newspaper describing PolarTREC teacher Deanna Wheeler's expedition to the Chucki Sea... Article

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