What Are They Doing?

Akmaliighaq (least auklets) at sunset. Kitnkik, east of Savoonga, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Photo by Lisa Sheffield Guy.
Akmaliighaq (least auklets) at sunset. Kitnkik, east of Savoonga, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Photo by Lisa Sheffield Guy.
Seabirds are considered to be ecosystem sentinels; their productivity and populations rely on availability of zooplankton and forage fish species. Long-term data suggest that conditions seabirds experience during the non-breeding season might have a large impact on their reproductive output and survival.

This project will help us understand the non-breeding ecology of seabirds. This need is especially pressing in areas of the Arctic undergoing changes in winter sea ice dynamics and increases in natural resource development. Using the data they collect, the team will develop a conceptual model of how warming in the Pacific Arctic will alter the region’s food web structure which is important for seabird conservation and management.

Where Are They?

Vijay Patil does the last bird count of the evening. Savoonga, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Photo by Lisa Sheffield Guy.
Vijay Patil does the last bird count of the evening. Savoonga, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Photo by Lisa Sheffield Guy.
The team will base operations out of Savoonga, Alaska and visit sites that are 5 km, 18 km and 30 km from the village. The remote village is located on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea.

Latest Journals

This gift of a breathtaking final morning sunrise run encapsulates my feelings about the journey I undertook this summer. Rugged beauty of the unknown, the remote, and a powerful nod to nature. It's exactly what I didn't know I was missing. Lessons Learned Coming home after being 4000…
What Does "No Sea Ice" Mean? A beautiful misty start to the our day of coastal cliff exploration. One of my earlier posts highlighted part of the conversations I had with local Yupik villagers here in Savoonga about impacts of change on their community and our Earth in general. Our research…
Non-negotiables for Field Work Glitz and glamour aren't descriptors that come readily to mind when talking about field work. That in itself could freak some people out – the thought of no Starbucks, no makeup, no flush toilets. Ideal weather doesn't always perform on demand, there are no promises…
What is a mist net? Not a bad office view. The day prior to this there was a torrential downpour and 20 mph winds. This was a welcomed respite. Alexis and Sasha setting up the mist net across a portion of the auklet colony. Sasha extends the net just high enough to be able to reach the birds…
Savoonga, Alaska
Project Funded Title
Winter migration and carry-over effects in planktivorous and piscivorous seabirds breeding on St. Lawrence Island.
Wendi Pillars - Educator
Jordan-Matthews HS

Wendi Pillars, NBCT, has been teaching English-language learners in grades K-12 for over 20 years, both stateside and overseas, in civilian and military contexts. She also works as a facilitator with the Teacher Leadership Institute, guiding emerging teacher leaders in playing more consequential roles in shaping educational policies and practices. She is the author of "Visual Notetaking for Educators: A Teacher's Guide to Student Creativity," and a frequent contributor to EdWeek and other educational platforms. Wendi is a former Global Classroom Fellow through the State Dept, a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, and teacher leader with the Center for Teaching Quality. An autodidact, she is focused on providing brain-changing, perspective-altering learning opportunities, and loves using creativity to empower her learners. Find her on Twitter @wendi322.

Alexis Will - Researcher
University of Alaska

Alexis Will is a post-doctoral research fellow at the National Institute of Polar Research in Japan, and a research scientist at the Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks. She works with an international team of researchers studying how seabirds respond to changes in their environment. Currently they are exploring how seabirds breeding in the Northern Bering Sea interact with sea ice during the non-breeding period to understand how changes in sea ice extent may impact seabird distributions in the future.

Alexander Kitaysky - Researcher
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Research Interests:

The main focus of my current research program is on the fundamental question: Can we predict population responses (range shift, adaptation or extinction) to an environmental change based on current phenotypic and biological age structures of natural populations of marine top-predators?

Specifically, I am interested in (A) how climate- and human induced environmental changes affect physiology, reproduction and survival of different phenotypes in wild seabird populations; and (B) the consequences of such differential selection pressure on individuals for the spatial and temporal dynamics of their populations.

Migration and Carry-Over Effects in Arctic Seabirds Resources

What is PolarTREC?##

PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program in which formal and informal educators spend 3-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions. The goal of PolarTREC is to invigorate polar science education and understanding by bringing educators and polar researchers together.

Summary of Science##

The primary objectives of this particular

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Article published featuring PolarTREC teacher Wendi Pillars in her hometown newspaper, in Ashtabula, Ohio.

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