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Project Information

Title: Biophysical Observation Aboard Alaska Marine Highway Systems Ferries

Project Year and Number: 2004: 040699

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None

Principal Investigator (PI): Ned Cokelet, NOAA

Assisting Personnel: Calvin Mordy, Scott Pegau

Project Website: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/foci/GEM/alaska_ferry

Research Location: Alaska Coastal Current, Prince William Sound

Restoration Category: Research

Injured Resources Addressed: Not Specified

Abstract: The Alaska Coastal Current flows counterclockwise along the edge of the Gulf of Alaska carrying the river runoff, nutrients and plankton that fuel the productive coastal-marine ecosystem. As seen in satellite images, a strong “chlorophyll front” develops in summer between the nutrient-poor region to seaward and a productive region around Kodiak Island that extends northward to the Kenai Peninsula. Conventional wisdom predicts that the Gulf ecosystem should not be productive because the average wind pattern favors downwelling oceanic conditions that fail to restore nutrients to the sunlit upper layers. The chlorophyll front presents a natural study area over which low and high productivity regions lie in close proximity. The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry M/V Tustumena crosses this front over 280 times each year. We propose to instrument the Tustumena to measure physical and biological oceanographic parameters across the Alaska Coastal Current and in Prince William Sound. This will begin a GEM oceanographic monitoring program in the Gulf that will lead to understanding nutrient replenishment and document ecosystem trends for years to come.


Geographic Regions Gulf of Alaska
Kodiak Island
Prince William Sound
Species Microorganisims - Phytoplankton
Fields of Expertise Chemistry

Proposal: View PDF (713 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2004 , 2005 , 2006 , 2007

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2004 , 2005 , 2006 , 2007

Annual Reports: 2004: View (30 KB) 2005: View (191 KB) 2006: View (219 KB) 2007: View (270 KB)

Final Report: View

Publications from this Project: None Available