Alaska Sea Grant planning major Arctic Ocean climate change symposium

Presentation and poster abstract deadline has been extended to December 15, 2012

11/01/2012

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NR: SG-2012/NR243

arctic cod Arctic cod, Boreogadus saida, Arctic Ocean, Canada Basin north of Barrow, Alaska. Photo by Elizabeth Calvert Siddon (NOAA/UAF). Click image for larger version.

Anchorage, Alaska—Sea Ice covering the Arctic Ocean melted away to a record low in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The steady loss of arctic sea ice in recent decades is perhaps the most obvious sign of a warming planet.

Far less obvious is how individual marine species—from arctic cod that live just below and sometimes within the sea ice, to seals, whales, polar bears and ultimately humans—will respond to the loss of sea ice and other consequences of a warmer Arctic.

In one of the first major scientific meetings on the topic, Alaska Sea Grant will convene Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, the 28th Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium, in Anchorage, Alaska, March 26–29, 2013.

This symposium will bring scientists from around the world to share their research on how arctic marine ecosystems are responding to climate change. Scientists and other presenters are asked to submit their abstracts by December 15, 2012.

Among the topics are

The symposium is organized by Alaska Sea Grant and guided by steering committee members from NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Pew Environment Group, U.S. Arctic Research Commission, Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, North Pacific Research Board, and the Institute of Marine Research in Norway.

Each summer, Arctic Ocean sea ice melts under nearly 24 hours of daylight. Scientists say the annual ice melt now begins earlier and lasts longer, leading to dramatic sea ice losses by the end of summer.

As of mid-September, Arctic Ocean sea ice covered just 1.32 million square miles of ocean—less than half the 1979-to-date average, when satellite measurements began.

The Alaska Sea Grant College Program is a statewide marine research, education, communication, and extension service at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Alaska Sea Grant is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and private industry.

The Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program is a statewide university extension and technical assistance program that helps Alaskans wisely use, conserve, and enjoy Alaska's marine and coastal resources.