Overview: The research focus of the NGA LTER site will be on mechanistic understanding of processes that underlie environmental variability, and the role of the latter in promoting high productivity and resilience. Building on prior knowledge, the investigators will test three hypotheses centered on ecosystem emergent properties:
1) Changes in the hydrologic cycle affect spring bloom production through changes in cloud cover, the stratification/mixing balance, macro- and micronutrient supplies, and transport pathways.
2) Hot-spots of high summer primary and secondary production result from interactions between the fresher Alaska Coastal Current and more saline offshore waters as promoted by shelf morphology and regional winds; hot spot timing and magnitude will be influenced by changes in the hydrologic cycle.
3) Nutritional and life history patterns of NGA consumers minimize trophic mismatch, buffering spatial and temporal variability in lower trophic level production and leading to resilience in the face of long-term climate change.
History: The start date for the Northern Gulf of Alaska LTER is October 1, 2017.