University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers plan to deploy new buoys near Kodiak and in Southeast Alaska between Juneau and Sitka to increase their ability to collect data on ocean acidification in coming years, using $2.7 million funding from the Legislature.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to improve our understanding of a problem that could have far-reaching implications for our state,” said assistant professor Jeremy Mathis, director of the Ocean Acidification Research Center at UAF.
The project, which begins in July, will use the new funds to maintain existing buoys in the Gulf of Alaska outside of Resurrection Bay and in the Bering Sea west of Bristol Bay, as well as deploy new buoys in 2013 near Kodiak and in Southeast Alaska. The Alaska buoy network will be part of a larger operation along the west coast of North America and will involve partner institutions including the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab in Seattle.
Researchers will combine collected information with data from other research to develop a model to determine the current and future costs of ocean acidification. Mathis will work with scientists at NOAA fisheries labs in Kodiak and Newport, Ore., where researchers are already studying the effects of ocean acidification on specific Alaska organisms, including crab and Pollock.
The data will be made available to the community in a number of locations through a partnership with NOAA and the Alaska Ocean Observing System. Mathis said he would also continue talking with stakeholders around Alaska about the potential implications of ocean acidification and how data from the buoys can help communities as well as state and federal agencies plan for future changes.
Funding was made possible through the efforts of organizations including the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, which worked with legislators and organized support for the funding request.
The Cordova Times, 15 June 2012. Article.