The National Science Foundation has announced two new oceanic LTER sites, both based in regions with highly productive fisheries. In addition, the newly-announced Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems (BLE) LTER will focus on changes occurring both on land and in the ocean that affect Arctic ecosystems over time.
The Northern Gulf of Alaska (NGA) LTER site, led by Russell Hopcroft at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will focus on emergent properties of ecosystems, particularly three hypotheses:
The research plan of the Northeastern U.S. Shelf (NES) LTER, led by Heidi Sosik at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is guided by an overarching science question:
How is long-term environmental change impacting the pelagic NES ecosystem and, in particular, affecting the relationship between compositional (e.g., species diversity and size structure) and aggregate (e.g., rates of primary production, and transfer of energy to important forage fish species) variability?
Capitalizing on high levels of seasonal and interannual variability in the NES, the research will study short-term responses to environmental change, in order to:
The Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystem (BLE) LTER is led by Ken Dunton at University of Texas-Austen in collaboration with researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Oregon State University, The University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Toronto Mississauga.
The planned research will advance our fundamental understanding of how input of materials from land and oceanographic conditions interact to influence coastal food webs. It will also allow researchers to track and understand:
Near-shore food webs along the Alaskan Arctic coastline support large populations of migratory fish and waterfowl that are essential to the culture of Iñupiat communities of northern Alaska. The research at this LTER site will create a framework for anticipating the impacts of future changes on the coastal ecosystem that are of great concern to these communities.
Project start dates for the new sites are between August and October of 2017.