AOOS, in collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks' International Arctic Research Center (IARC), released a new outreach publication called “Bering Science Fall 2020 Bering region ocean update.” The team worked with agency and university scientists from across the region to compile information on recent research results and observations during this past summer in the Bering Sea.
This was a challenging year for conducting research in Alaska, with many surveys and projects delayed or cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic. However, the report highlights other ways agencies were able to gather information, such as the survey of walleye pollock conducted by Saildrones (pg. 3), and phytoplankton estimation from satellite images. The report also gives updates on other research that was conducted, including research on tracking lost crab pots, satellite tagging of crab and bottom trawl surveys for crab.
Some of the notable observations shared in this report include: air temperatures that were warmer than the long-term average (pg. 2); a rapid retreat of the sea ice in March (pg. 2); continued observations of die-offs of seabirds, ice seals and gray whales; Unprecedented levels of paralytic shellfish toxins in shellfish collected along the Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula (pg. 8), and a "marine debris event" in the Bering Strait (pg.8).
The mission of AOOS is to address regional and national needs for ocean information, gather specific data on key coastal and ocean variables, and ensure timely and sustained dissemination and availability of these data.