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Project Information

Title: Nearshore ecosystems in the Gulf of Alaska

Project Year and Number: 2019: 19120114-H

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None

Principal Investigator (PI): Heather Coletti, National Park Service

Assisting Personnel: Brenda Ballachey, Jim Bodkin, Tom Dean, Dan Esler, Katrin Iken, Kim Kloecker, Brenda Konar, Daniel Monson

Research Location:

Restoration Category: Monitoring

Injured Resources Addressed: Barrow's Goldeneye , Black Oystercatchers , Clams , Commercial Fishing , Common Loons , Harlequin Ducks , Intertidal Organisms , Mussels , Pacific Herring , Pigeon Guillemot , Recreation & Tourism , Sea Otters , Sediments , Subsistence , Subtidal Organisms

Abstract: Nearshore monitoring in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) provides ongoing evaluation of the status and trend of more than 200 species, including many of those injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS). The monitoring design includes spatial, temporal and ecological features that support inference regarding drivers of change. Application of this monitoring design to date includes assessment of change in sea otter populations in relation to EVOS recovery and density dependent factors, as well as the assessment of the relative roles of static versus dynamic environmental drivers in structuring benthic communities. Continued monitoring will lead to a better understanding of variation in the nearshore ecosystem across the GOA and a more thorough evaluation of the status of spill-injured resources. This information will be critical for anticipating and responding to ongoing and future perturbations in the region, as well as providing for global contrasts. In FY19, we propose to continue sampling in Kachemak Bay (KBAY), Katmai National Park and Preserve (KATM), Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ), and Western Prince William Sound (WPWS) following previously established methods. Monitoring metrics include marine invertebrates, macroalgae, birds, mammals, and physical parameters such as temperature. In addition to taxon-specific metrics, monitoring includes recognized important ecological relations such as predator-prey dynamics, measures of nearshore ecosystem productivity, and contamination. In FY18, sea star observations continue to include some recruitment and recovery in WPWS and KEFJ but not in KBAY or KATM. We would expect a lag in recovery in these latter two regions as the disease seemed to move across the GOA from the east to the west; however, total star counts remain low across all sites following the large sea star die-off that began in 2015. We also initiated marine bird and mammal surveys and black oystercatcher productivity monitoring as well as increased sea otter foraging data collection efforts in FY18 in KBAY. We are not proposing any major changes to this project or budget for FY19.

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Proposal: View PDF (920 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2019

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2019

Annual Report: 2019: Due 03/01/2020

Final Report: Draft Final Report Due 4/15/20

Publications from this Project: None Available