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Keynotes, open sessions and Lunchtime presentations
Monday, January 18
Keynote: Carl Schoch (with introduction by Molly McCammon): A demonstration of an ocean observing system in Prince William Sound: Preliminary findings from the 2009 Field Experiment
Although the “official” Prince William Sound Field Experiment—known as Sound Predictions 2009—is completed, in reality the project is far from over. The AOOS field team, the data team in Fairbanks, and modelers in California have been working since then to analyze the data acquired during this unprecedented field exercise. Project leaders provided an update.
Carl Schoch has been the Principal Investigator for the Alaska Ocean Observing System on the Prince William Sound demonstration project since 2005. He is also a visiting researcher at the UCLA/Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering and an affiliate research professor at the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. His research interests are primarily in marine and estuarine ecology in temperate and tropical systems.
- Communicating Ocean Science Participants shared strategies and practices for communicating ocean science to national, regional and local audiences. Presenters included Craig Strang, COSEE West, on graduate-level science courses in communicating ocean science to formal and informal audiences; Annette deCharon, COSEE Ocean Systems, on linking researchers, graduate students and educators using concept-mapping tools; Carin Bailey-Stephens, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences; on communicating about ocean acidification. Other topics featured Google Ocean, cross-cultural communication of ocean science, and new media.
- Ocean Acidification Adaptation, Research and Communication Ocean Acidification is now recognized as one of the greatest threats to Alaska’s marine ecosystems. Research into the effects of acidification in the North Pacific is uncoordinated, marine fisheries and resource managers have little practical guidance on how to adapt to this threat and most educators do not have adequate communication tools to build public understanding of this issue. This workshop began with an initial overview of ocean acidification, the current state of knowledge in the North Pacific and a feature presentation on ocean acidification communication. The workshop then broke into three focal groups to discuss research priorities, adaptation guidance for marine resource managers and communications best practices for ocean educators. Group recommendations were reported in plenary and the workshop outcomes written up as a short report.
Tuesday, January 19
Special Session: A Demonstration of the Alaska Ocean Observing System in Prince William Sound, Featuring Results of the 2009 Field Experiment
The Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) and the Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) have over a period of five years developed an ocean observing system in Prince William Sound (PWS). This observing system now consists of a dense spatial array of atmospheric and oceanic sensors providing real time data directly to the public and to a new generation of weather, ocean circulation, wave forecast, and ecosystem models. A state of the art data management system at the University of Alaska Fairbanks provides access to these data and model forecasts from one data portal.
In 2009 AOOS sponsored a field experiment in Prince William Sound to evaluate the utility of the sensor arrays and the accuracy of model forecasts. The objective of the experiment was to quantitatively evaluate the performance of forecast models including the WRF atmospheric and ROMS ocean circulation models, the SWAN wave model, the CoSiNE ecosystem model, and the SAROPS search and rescue trajectory model. Overarching questions include:
- How well are the models able to predict atmospheric and oceanic water properties, wave conditions, and circulation patterns in different areas of PWS?
- Has the accuracy or skill of modeled circulation forecasts for the central basin improved from those made during the 2004 field experiment?
- What is the cost/benefit of the observing system for weather and ocean forecasting?
The field experiment was preceded in the summer of 2008 by a table-top exercise to re-run historical observational data from 2004 through the new generation of data assimilation models. In the spring of 2009 there was an experimental model run utilizing real-time data streams from operational PWS observational platforms.
During the July-August 2009 field experiment, the team repeatedly deployed, retrieved, and redeployed drifting buoys over a three week period. CTD casts and AUV and glider transects were made to collect water column profiles. An HF radar array was deployed to map surface currents in the central basin.
There was an emphasis on model validation of surface and deeper currents in the central basin but additional drifter deployments and observations occurred around the perimeter of the Sound. Five different Lagrangian drifter designs were used to simulate ocean currents, Coast Guard Search and Rescue targets, and oil spill trajectories.
- Practical Applications of the Alaska ShoreZone Coastal Habitat Mapping Database with Hands-on Training ShoreZone is a coastal habitat classification, inventory and mapping system that is a powerful dataset for use in habitat modeling, oil spill prevention and response, marine debris catchment beaches, and a myriad of other uses. Visit the Alaska ShoreZone online database. This workshop focused on describing the Alaska ShoreZone coastal habitat mapping project and its applications, which include oil spill response, invasive species and habitat capability modeling, and essential fish habitat. The workshop also provided hands-on training with the ShoreZone database. Workshop attendees received one-on-one training and also provided feedback on their needs or ideas for future applications of the ShoreZone dataset.
- Planning for New Acoustic Telemetry Infrastructure in the Gulf of Alaska The Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking (POST) Project is a free tool for tracking the movements of marine animals along the west coast of North America. The Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) is an ambitious program that applies the POST concept throughout the world's oceans. The two organizations are working together to soon expand the infrastructure of acoustic receivers in the Gulf of Alaska, allowing greater range and resolution of animal tracking along the state's continental shelf. Participants gave input on priorities relative to their research, potential locations of new receiver lines, and the type of equipment they would like to see deployed.
- The Arctic Council's Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) The AMSA 2009 Report was approved by the Arctic Ministers on 29 April 2009 in Tromso, Norway. The eight Arctic states of the Council sponsored this comprehensive assessment of Arctic marine activity during 2005-09. AMSA was led by Canada, Finland and the United States under the guidance of the Council's working group on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment. The AMSA 2009 Report should be viewed as a baseline assessment, a policy document of the Council and a strategic guide for many Arctic and non-Arctic actors. This session reviewed the outcomes of AMSA and the research agenda that resulted from this large study. Also, the results of an October 2009 workshop, Considering a Roadmap Forward for AMSA, were presented.
Lunchtime Presentation: National Ocean Sciences Bowl -- Students vs. Scientists
Alaska regional NOSB teams matched withs with scientists in this fast-paced quiz bowl. Left: Team NOAA (Mike Sigler, Anne Hollowed, Lowell Fritz, and Jeff Napp) confer on the best answer to a tough question. See larger image
The NOSB is a nationally recognized and highly acclaimed high school academic competition that provides a forum for talented students to test their knowledge of the marine sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. Learn more about the National Ocean Sciences Bowl
Wednesday, January 20
Keynote: Kate Moran, Office of Science & Technology Policy, "Past, Present, and Future Arctic Sea Ice"
Kathryn (Kate) Moran is currently on detail at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President from the University of Rhode Island. She is a Professor with a joint appointment in the Graduate School of Oceanography and the Department of Ocean Engineering. Moran co-led the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program’s Arctic Coring Expedition which recovered the first paleoclimate record from the central Arctic Ocean. She also led one of the first offshore expeditions to investigate the seafloor following the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
Previously, Moran was a scientist at Canada’s national oceanographic institute where one of her major research focus areas was the Arctic Ocean. She also served as the Director of the international Ocean Drilling Program in Washington DC; managed mission-specific drilling platform operations in the North Atlantic and Arctic; designed and developed oceanographic tools; participated in more than 35 offshore expeditions; and has served as Chair and member of national and international science and engineering advisory committees and panels. Professor Moran is active in public outreach (through public lectures, national panel discussions, and teacher training) on topics related to the Arctic and global climate change. At the University of Rhode Island, Moran spearheaded a research initiative on offshore renewable energy.
Keynote: Michael Beck, The Nature Conservancy, "Towards best practices for multi-objective marine spatial planning"
Mike Beck is a Senior Scientist with the Global Marine Team of The Nature Conservancy and a research associate at the University of California Santa Cruz. He has been a part of or led teams developing more than 15 regional marine plans in South America, the Caribbean, the Coral Triangle and throughout US waters. Over the past five 5 years he and his team have been developing approaches towards better multi-objective marine planning. They recently convened a group of practitioners from more than 20 regions globally to identify lessons learned and best practices from the extensive practical experience of the participants in the development of marine spatial plans. Mike discussed these findings and those from his own work. Read more about Mike's research here, and the work of the global marine team here. A report from the workshop on "Best practices for marine spatial planning" can be found here.
Lunchtime Presentation: Larry Mayer, "Law of the Sea and Mapping the Extended Continental Shelf in the Arctic"
Article 76 of the Law of the Sea Treaty is only 617 words, yet it provides a coastal state the opportunity to extend its sovereign rights over resources of the seafloor and subsurface far beyond the current 200 nm limit of the EEZ if certain geomorphologic and geologic criteria are met. While the U.S. has not yet acceded to the Treaty, efforts are underway to map those areas where the U.S. has a potential “extended continental shelf.” The largest of these regions is in the Arctic, where the Chukchi Cap forms and natural prolongation of the U.S. margin.
Since 2003, researchers from the University of New Hampshire have led five expeditions on the multibeam sonar-equipped, icebreaker HEALY, mapping more than 200,000 sq km of seafloor in a variety of ice conditions. These cruises have discovered new seamounts, found fields of pockmarks (indicative of gas flow), provided new insights into the history of glacial processes, and called into question current theories for the geologic origin of the region. Most importantly, the data collected on these cruises have radically changed our view of where the “foot of the continental slope” is. The foot of the slope is key component of Law of the Sea mapping and these new discoveries may lead to a large extension of the continental shelf that may overlap with that of other Arctic nations. This talk explored these issues and offered some remarkable new views of Arctic bathymetry.
Larry Mayer is a professor of Earth Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. He is also Director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping and Co-Director of the Joint Hydrographic Center. His research deals with sonar imaging, remote characterization of the seafloor, and advanced applications of 3-D visualization to ocean mapping problems. Read more about Larry Mayer's background and research.
Thursday, January 21
Keynotes: Mike Sigler and Rodger Harvey, BEST-BSIERP Bering Sea Project
RODGER HARVEY (left) and MIKE SIGLER (right) are principal investigators with the BEST-BSIERP Bering Sea Project, the most comprehensive investigation of the Bering Sea ecosystem to date. Ecosystem modeling will link climate, physical oceanography, lower and upper trophic levels, and economic outcomes, and attempt to predict the impacts of climatic change on the Bering Sea ecosystem.
This work has been made possible thanks to the coordinated efforts of nearly one hundred principal investigators working in a historic partnership between the North Pacific Research Board and the National Science Foundation.
Lunchtime Presentation: Charlotte Vick, "Using OCEAN in Google Earth to Share Research Stories"
As a content editor for Google Earth (OCEAN) since 2008, CHARLOTTE VICK has worked with Google in the development of Google Earth’s “Explore the Ocean” layer. Working with scores of partners and individual contributors, she has helped develop ocean stories about marine life, science and exploration, ocean and atmosphere, oceanic ecosystems, marine protected areas and the human connection in Google Earth. Charlotte also serves as Communications Director for Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Deep Search Foundation.
- Demonstration of ArcticWeb ArcticWeb is a geoportal for offshore Arctic areas. It currently covers the Norwegian Continental Shelf, and gives efficient access to updated statistical data for offshore Arctic areas. The geoportal contains data related to biology, geology, meteorology, ice, seabed, and bathymetry. It also covers infrastructure information such as emergency preparedness equipment, area/license information, petroleum activity, ship movement etc. All data are directly obtained from public databases and presented in a format specially designed for the energy industry. ArcticWeb is sponsored by a number of oil and gas companies in Norway and the Norwegian government. The goal is to expand the system to other Arctic areas, and we are thus seeking public data holders in the U.S. to participate in the project. A circumpolar geoportal would benefit all countries with energy interests in Arctic areas and enable efficient data sharing between them. Visit ArcticWeb for further information.
Friday, January 22
- Placing Your Stories in OCEAN/Google Earth Charlotte Vick (Communications Director for Sylvia Earle's Deep Search Foundation & Content Editor for OCEAN in Google Earth) will lead this hands-on workshop. Get an overview of Google Earth OCEAN layers and how to navigate under the water (non-technical) as well as learn how to put your own OCEAN stories there for the 500 million unique users of Google Earth using text, images, video and/or links back to your own web sites.
- Marine Spatial Planning: What is it and what’s it got to do with me? Marine Spatial Planning is a tool to minimize human-use conflicts in the ocean and protect the diverse and abundant resources that support these uses. It's not a new concept, but the Obama Administration is making it a priority. This workshop will cover the Ocean Policy Task Force's recommended framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning, the role for marine scientists and educators in Marine Spatial Planning, and a discussion of potential demonstration areas in Alaska.
Best Poster (cash award from Alaska Sea Grant)
- Jill Seymour, University of Alaska Fairbanks (Masters)
- Nathan Stewart, University of Alaska Fairbanks (PhD)
Best Oral Presentations (cash award from NPRB)
- Mayumi Arimitsu, University of Alaska Fairbanks (Masters)
- Phoebe Chan, University of Toronto (Masters)
- Steve Barbeaux, University of Washington (PhD)
- Elizabeth Siddon, University of Alaska Fairbanks (PhD)