What Are They Doing?

A diverse team of researchers participated in the first of three research cruises in the 2009 season in support of the Bering Sea Ecosystem Study (BEST) and the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP). Scientists on board the ship documented late winter ocean conditions, studied the biological communities found in sea ice, monitored the early spring plankton bloom, and investigated light penetration through open water and ice cover. Additionally, researchers examined the benthic communities living on the seafloor and observed an important benthic predator, the walrus. The region of the Bering Sea where the team worked 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 traveled 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 departed from Kodiak Island, Alaska, and returned to the port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which is in the Aleutian Islands.

Latest Journals

On our cruise, the scientists' areas of expertise are all different, like pieces of a quilt. All of the pieces are important to the whole quilt as they rely upon each other to make the quilt. The study of our quilt is called in the science community, Bering Sea Integrated Environmental Research…
Where are we in relationship with other places in the Northern Hemisphere? Maryland is almost half way around the world from the Bering Sea. Check out the map to see how far the Bering Sea is from the Maryland. Can you find Maryland? The next map captured as we arrived to Dutch Harbor shows the…
Sounds aboard the Healy What do I hear? While in the ice, the ship can make sounds from birds chirping to loud bangs, squeaks and swooshes. Listed below are the sounds found at the end of the journal. Listen to the audio provided by Elizabeth Arnold to the ship cutting through the ice. Listen…
What is 420 feet long, 82 feet high, breaks ice up to 4.5 ft thick at 3 knots, and can travel 300 miles in open seas in 24 hours? It is the USCGC Healy. The Healy is the largest and newest Coast Guard cutter in the fleet. With new technology, the Healy can operate with fewer crewmembers than other…
USCGC Healy, Bering Sea
Project Funded Title
Bering Sea Ecosystem Study (BEST)-Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem
Deanna Wheeler - Teacher
J. C. Parks Elementary School

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 - Researcher
University of Maryland

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]

Early Spring Plankton and Benthos Resources

PolarTREC teacher Deanna Wheeler from JC Parks Elementary School is interviewed (:30-:43) as a leader who is educating today's youth and future leaders about the Arctic. She discusses a few of the many activities her classes, school and community are doing to teach people about the importance of the Arctic and what they can do on a daily basis to

All Aged

What happens to the salinity in the Bering Sea during ice and no ice conditions? Does it change throughout the year and at different depths during different seasons? Create a model of the Bering Sea in ice conditions. Change the conditions based on seasonal changes to explore the effects of runoff on salinity.


The students will understand: *

Less than a week
Middle School and Up
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Polar researchers Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper, joined PolarTREC teacher Deanna Wheeler in a presentation about their work in the Bering Sea. The presentation was at the Old Durham Church in Maryland.


This article highlights climate change research on board the USCGC Healy in the spring of 2009 with interest in the role of Deanna Wheeler, PolarTREC teacher on board the ship. There are also short videos embedded within the article.

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This Live from IPY event was a private event held with J.C. Parks Elementary School, and other regional Maryland Schools. PolarTREC teacher, Deanna Wheeler presented along with researchers studying various components of the Bering Sea ecosystem. The audience was primarily elementary school students.

Charles County Public Schools teacher, Deanna Wheeler will spend 21 days on he USCGC Healy in the Bering Sea as part of the PolarTREC program.

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Online article from the New York Times, highlighting walrus ecology and the research conducted by Lee Cooper and other researchers on the March 2008 cruise in the Bering Sea aboard the USCGC Healy.

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