What Are They Doing?
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 planned 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 focused 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.
Where Are They?
The team lived and worked 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 traveled 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.
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]