A diverse research team aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGS) Healy conducted sampling along a series of transects over the eastern Bering Sea. Research on the ship was multidisciplinary, as part of the Bering Ecosystem Study, with scientists using a variety of techniques to measure the productivity of the Bering Sea ecosystem. Research teams measured the temperature, salinity and nutrient content of the sea water, changes in sea ice cover, and the concentration of nutrients used and released by phytoplankton. They also conducted surveys of zooplankton, fish, seabirds, and marine mammals such as walruses and seals, to assess the health of these populations. These measurements helped give scientists an indication of the status of the Bering Sea ecosystem and any potential changes occurring in the marine environment that might change the continued use of its resources, and the economic, social and cultural sustainability of the people who depend on it. Click here to go to the Bering Sea Ice Expedition webpage.
The team traveled on the USCGC Healy in the Bering Sea. The Bering Sea lies to the west of Alaska and to the east of Russia. The team departed from and returned to the port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, the most productive fishing port in the United States.
Maggie Prevenas teaches seventh grade science at Kalama Intermediate School on the island of Maui, Hawaii. She has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and has taught science and computer technology in Wisconsin, Oregon, and Hawaii. A recent National Board Certified teacher, Ms. Prevenas traveled to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2005 and continues to develop creative educational materials related to her experience. Ms. Prevenas was participating in the BEST cruise as a joint PolarTREC and NOAA Teacher at Sea teacher.
Emily Davenport, a first year graduate student in the Environmental Science Department at Western Washington University, also participated in the research cruise to conduct her thesis research on benthic communities, nutrient cycling, and climate change. At the time, she was a participant in a program funded by the National Science Foundation that places graduate students around the country in middle school science classrooms to improve science education. Ms. Davenport worked with sixth grade students at Nooksack Valley Middle School in Everson, WA and utilized the PolarTREC Virtual Base Camp to interact with students while on the cruise.
Robyn Sweet is the Earth and Life Sciences Coordinator at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Marine Biology with a Chemistry minor. Ms. Staup taught high school science for seven years in Charlotte, North Carolina and coached teams for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competition before moving to Ohio. She has been a participant and leader in several science education activities and appreciated the opportunity to share her PolarTREC experience with others.
Raymond Sambrotto is the chief scientist on this Bering Sea Ecosystem Study cruise and studies marine plankton ecology and global nutrient cycles. Dr. Sambrotto has worked from small boats in the Caribbean to major oceanographic programs in the Arabian Sea. He has worked extensively at both poles using icebreakers and submarines to traverse these difficult environments. An important part of Dr. Sambrotto’s research is determining how marine populations will fare under changed climate conditions and how these changes will affect the larger global environment.