Vol. 32, No. 2
Mike Davis, UAF Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development, and Izetta Chambers, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, co-taught the weeklong course "Understanding the Legislative Process" in Juneau last week, to a dozen students who live in Dillingham, Point Hope, and Igiugig.
The group was introduced to legislators, staff, press, and lobbyists who spoke on topics ranging from current legislation to the budget. They also met with Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti to talk about the role of courts in the legislative process.
The course covered several fisheries topics, including this season’s legislation to lower interest rates on permit loans, and past legislation such as the bill to commission a study on the Pebble Mine in relation to the Bristol Bay fishery. Sue Aspelund, assistant to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner, also gave a presentation on the legislature’s role in fisheries policy, the difference between statute and code, and the Board of Fisheries process.
All students are enrolled in a Rural Development degree program, several at the master's level. Some are commercial fishermen or work in administration, and most have practiced subsistence fishing in the Dillingham region. Transportation to Juneau was paid by grant funds, administered through the UAF Bristol Bay Campus.
Huseyin Biceroglu, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences M.S. student in interdisciplinary studies, defended his thesis early this month—Salmon Heads: New Product or Ingredient Source, the Alaska Experience. Biceroglu and his advisor Scott Smiley compared shelf life characteristics, rancidity, and mold growth of dried pink salmon and Pacific cod heads, stored for up to 180 days at 21°C, for East African seafood markets.
The dried Pacific cod heads showed promising shelf stability as a potential dried seafood product. Frozen pink salmon heads had a 60 day shelf-life, and antioxidant glazing slowed oxidation. For dried pink salmon heads the antioxidant treatment kept oxidation levels lower than the acceptable limit for up to 60 days. Biceroglu hopes the study will provide essential information to improve the utilization of these Alaska fishery byproducts. Alaska Sea Grant provided partial support for Biceroglu in 2011–2012.
Marine Advisory agent Torie Baker is the author of “Ocean Acidification and Fisheries: Alaska's Challenge and Response,” a new Alaska Seas and Coasts. In the article she describes how ocean acidification impacts Alaska’s seas and explores ocean acidification topics that Alaska researchers focus on and why. Commercially important shellfish are a top research priority because of their economic value and because they are likely to suffer direct effects of reduced calcium carbonate availability. The need for biological research to catch up with the understanding of physical changes in the ocean, and the flexibility of marine policy to reflect those changes, are critical to the future of Alaska fisheries. The publication is available at the Alaska Sea Grant bookstore.
Terry Johnson added three new climate adaptation fact sheets to the website Adapting to Climate Change in Coastal Alaska: Fisheries Effects, Harmful Algal Blooms, and Species Shifts. The Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program project brings a marine-dependent community perspective to climate change adaptation issues by supplying adaption tools, fact sheets, and videos. The project is supported by the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP).
At the 2012 Communicating Ocean Science Workshop, more than 100 scientists, graduate students, and outreach specialists learned how to communicate research by telling a compelling and informative story. Sponsors were the North Pacific Research Board, Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence Alaska, and Alaska Ocean Observing System.
Randy Olson, author of Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style, led a session on communicating through story. Some participants practiced presenting a short story of their work to the audience.
Darcy Dugan of AOOS demonstrated how to use a smartphone and iMovie to create a research story video and post it on the web, an exciting, affordable way to communicate research to large numbers of people.
Elizabeth Arnold (University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Public Radio Network) discussed working with radio reporters. She gave an example of two scientists working to get some parasites on the endangered species list. “By the time we were done listening to the sample radio piece, we were all far more curious about their research than we imagined,” said Robin Dublin, COSEE Alaska executive director.
Darin Trobaugh (Alaska SeaLife Center) introduced COSEE Alaska/Alaska SeaLife Center’s new educational tool, the virtual field trip, on walruses. Alaska VFT creators plan to develop several more field trips, to bring students into research labs and field settings on classroom, afterschool, and home computers. The virtual field trips are tested by Alaska teachers and students, use age-level-appropriate instruction, and address state education standards.
Feedback from the 2012 Communicating Ocean Science Workshop has been excellent. If you attended and have suggestions for improvement or if you have topic suggestions for 2013, contact COSEE Alaska executive director Robin Dublin, email@example.com.
In mid-December an “unusual” whale was photographed in Uganik Bay in northwestern Kodiak waters by resident and part-time University of Alaska Fairbanks field technician, Beth Pingree, and her family. When the information and photos were relayed to UAF’s Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, Kate Wynne, marine mammal specialist at the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, immediately recognized the animal as a North Pacific right whale, the most endangered whale species in the United States. With fewer than 50 individuals in the population, any sighting of a right whale is newsworthy and documented at the NMFS National Marine Mammal Lab in Seattle.
While a handful of right whale sightings on the east side of Kodiak in 2006 led to a designation there as right whale critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act, the December sighting was the first photo-documented right whale on the west (Shelikof Strait) side of Kodiak. The young whale was apparently passing through the area and has not been seen again.