What Are They Doing?

A diverse research team aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Healy conducted sampling along a series of transects over the eastern Bering Sea. Research on the ship was multidisciplinary, with scientists using a variety of techniques to document ocean conditions and 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 walrus and seal to assess the health of these populations. A major focus of this cruise was characterizing the phytoplankton bloom associated with the edge of the melting sea ice.

These measurements helped give scientists an indication of the status of the Bering Sea ecosystem and an indication of any changes that could affect the use of its resources, and the economic, social, and cultural sustainability of the people who depend on it. This is the second 2009 cruise in support of the Bering Sea Ecosystem Study (BEST) and the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP).

Where Are They?

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.

Latest Journals

"Glad to be back?" One of the first questions that people ask (before "Did you see a polar bear?" and "Did you ever grow your sea legs?") is the hardest to answer. Yes, I am happy to be back in a place with greenery, excited for sun-dresses, ready for bike riding and…
Suiting up in an MSD-900 survival suit felt a little bit strange considering that there was no ice for as far as the eye could see. We were miles from the ice-edge as we pulled into Dutch Harbor but there I was pulling and squirming back through the many zippers and pull-ties. This time I would…
Latitude: 57 10.174N Longitude: 163 45.851W Alexei Pinchuk peers into a clear plastic bottle that he has taken out of the fridge outside the lab. If you didn't know better, you would think that he was looking at a bottle of chilly water. What he is actually doing is checking on his babies...his…
Latitude: 57 30.196N Longitude: 168 04.025WSo where in the world does a producer eat other animals, a consumer make its own food and sometimes either will decide to do both? Welcome to the wacky world of the Bering Sea ecosystem! In theory, there are two main categories of eaters- heterotrophs…
Dates
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Location
USCGC Healy, Bering Sea
Project Funded Title
Bering Sea Ecosystem Study (BEST)-Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP)

Spring Plankton and Changing Ice Cover Resources

Overview

As part of a migratory bird study conducted with my bilingual second graders in Washington, DC, the students in my elementary science class spent four weeks getting to know all about birds! We initially focused on birds that migrate from our Mid-Atlantic forests to the tropical forests of Central America (an area where many of them are from).

Lesson
Arctic
About 1 period
All Aged
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This lesson came out of a desire to connect the plankton research that I did during the 0902 Healy cruise with my young "researchers" back in Washington, DC. I wanted them to understand that plankton not only feed the Arctic but that much of the world relies on these little critters that come to life for us when we look through a microscope and into a drop of water.

Lesson
Arctic
About 1 period
Elementary and Up
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This series of three labs challenges students to think about the role of plankton in different ecosystems and waterways in the world. By modeling the research methods of scientists on the Healy icebreaker, students can conduct a small-scale change study to examine reproductive behavior of an isolated type of local plankton.

Lesson
Arctic
About a week
Elementary and Up
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Students will become familiar with the anatomy/physiology, habitat and lifestyle of puffins. On the 2009 Healy Icebreaker expedition the wildlife survey team was primarily interested in bird diversity and population in the Bering Sea. Puffins were spotted during the cruise, especially feeding in and around Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Lesson
Arctic
About 1 period
Elementary and Up
n/a

This Live from IPY event was held with PolarTREC Teacher Simone Welch and numerous researchers working on the USCGC Healy in the Bering Sea as part of the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Project.

This Washington Post article features PolarTREC teacher Simone Welch and her science expedition on board the Healy in the Bering Sea.

Article
Arctic
All Aged
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