Chukchi & Arctic
Arctic research within EcoFOCI is conducted predominantly in the Chukchi Sea (the U.S. Arctic). We examine the entire Arctic Ocean largely through sea ice modelling and predictability studies. The Chukchi Sea is a broad, shallow arctic sea. Northward flow through Bering Strait carries important contributions of nutrients, heat, and biota, connecting the Bering Sea with the Chukchi Sea. These fluxes are critical to the functioning of the ecosystem. Northward currents continue across the Chukchi Sea to the deep Arctic basin.
During winter, the Chukchi Sea is ice covered. Ice retreat begins in spring and by September, the shelf is largely ice-free. The Chukchi Sea is undergoing dramatic sea ice reductions and temperature increases, but we currently have a poor understanding of the effects of these changes on the ecosystem of the region. We collect and analyze data on the physical environment (temperature, salinity, nutrients, sea ice extent and timing, currents, winds, etc.) and the ecosystem (phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, seabirds, marine mammals, etc.) in an effort to understand the influence of the changing environment.