• A Multiple Stable Isotope Study Of Steller Sea Lions And Bowhead Whales: Signals Of A Changing Northern Environment

      Dehart, Pieter Andrew Philip; Wooller, Matthew J. (2006)
      The North Pacific and Arctic marine realm is currently experiencing dramatic environmental changes as a result of global climate change. Stable isotope analysis of western arctic bowhead whales (WABW, Balaena mysticetus ) and Steller sea lions (SSL, Eumetopias jubatus) were conducted to examine the influence of these changes on life history characteristics (migration and foraging) of these marine mammals. WABW baleen plates were analyzed for their stable oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition (delta 18O and deltaD) and were compared to the delta18O and deltaD in water and zooplankton prey along their seasonal migratory route. The delta18O and deltaD varied along the baleen (8 to 18�; -180 to -80�, respectively) and corresponded to stable isotopic differences in zooplankton from the winter (Bering Sea) and summer (eastern Beaufort Sea) habitats of WABW. Baleen delta18O and deltaD confirmed the seasonal annual migration of WABW and were subsequently compared to historical sea ice concentrations (SIC). This illustrated that WABW migration patterns appeared to have altered concomitant with changes in SIC. Years with a higher SIC (colder climate regimes) correlated with the largest difference in deltaD between winter and summer in WABW baleen during the period from 1972 to 1988. For a similar time period (1955 to 2000), the feeding ecology of SSL was also examined by analyzing the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions (delta13C and delta 15N, respectively) of archived SSL bone and tooth collagen. Both delta 15N and delta13C varied greatly with location and sample year (14.6 to 20.5�; - 16.7 to -11.8�, respectively), with a significant change in delta13C observed around the 1976 regime shift. Bottom-up processes may have limited growth of SSL populations throughout this region over time, with animals focusing their foraging on offshore regions to mitigate this environmental change. Stable isotope analyses of historical samples of WABW (baleen) and SSL (bone and tooth collagen) both illustrated that recent environmental changes influenced the ecology (migration and feeding) of these marine mammals in the recent past.
    • Assessment of the benthic environment following offshore placer gold mining in Norton Sound, northeastern Bering Sea

      Jewett, Stephen Carl; Smith, Ronald L. (1997)
      The effects of placer gold mining on the benthic environment of Norton Sound in the northeastern Bering Sea were assessed. Research focused on red king crab Paralithodes camtschaticus, a species with commercial and subsistence importance in the Sound and seasonal occurrence in the mining area. The study addressed mining effects on: (1) benthic macroinvertebrates, many serving as food for this crab, (2) crab relative abundance, distribution, and food, and (3) heavy metal concentrations in crabs. Mining on variable substrates in $<$20 m water depths occurred between 1986-90 during ice-free months when crabs were further offshore. Sampling nearly a year subsequent to mining revealed moderate substrate alteration. Benthic community parameters and abundance of numerically predominant families (e.g., owenid, spionid, and capitellid polychaetes and echinarachniid sand dollars) were reduced in mined areas. Many reduced taxa are known crab prey. Although young individuals of opportunistic taxa predominated, taxa were generally smaller at mined areas. Multi-year surveys of a once-mined area showed continued smoothing of bottom relief. Ordination of taxon abundance from mined (1 yr after mining), recolonizing (2-7 yrs after mining), and unmined stations reflected decreasing station disturbance. At least four years were required for benthos to recover from mining. Mining had a negligible effect on crabs. Crab catches, size, sex, and most prey groups in stomachs were similar between mined and unmined areas. Concentrations of eight heavy metals in muscle and hepatopancreas tissues were generally not different in mined areas. Furthermore, these metals were not different in sediments upcurrent and downcurrent of mining. Concentrations of most metals in tissues showed no temporal trend. Elemental concentrations in muscle tissues were below or within the range of concentrations in red king crabs from other North Pacific locations. Most metals from Norton Sound crabs were well below federal guidance levels for human consumption. Effects from mining were apparent for benthic macrofauna with virtually no effects observed for king crabs. Absence of any demonstrable effects of mining on this crab is primarily a result of the high natural dynamics of the Sound and opportunistic feeding behavior and high mobility of the crab.
    • Carbon And Nitrogen Flows In Zero -Water Exchange Shrimp Culture: Inferences Using Stable Isotope Tracers

      Epp, Michelle A.; Schell, Donald M. (2002)
      Nutrient and energy flow in cultures of Pacific White Shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, were examined in zero-water exchange, 1200--1300 L mesocosms at the Oceanic Institute (OI), Waimanalo, Hawaii. A technique was developed for monitoring shrimp use of formulated feeds through the addition of stable isotopically labeled nutrients to the feed ingredients. Crystalline amino acid compounds were ineffective as labels due to their rapid dissolution in the tank water with feed pellet break-up. Labels which were 'packaged' as algal cells prior to addition to the feed pellets were more effectively incorporated into shrimp tissues than crystalline label (approximately 27% versus 8% for crystalline label). The 'packaged' label technique was also used to test soluble proteins from pollock processing wastes (stickwater) as a feeding stimulant for Litopenaeus vannamei. Indoor controlled condition experiments and outdoor experiments with natural pond biota compared stickwater amended feed to squid liver powder amended feed for growth and assimilation by the shrimp. Initial results indicated that pollock processing by-products might function as a feeding stimulant in shrimp aquaculture. The addition of 15N-ammonium to outdoor shrimp tanks showed that natural tank production contributed significantly to shrimp growth requirements providing between 17 and 77% of the growth nitrogen. When labeled ammonium was added to black covered tanks, shrimp had slower growth rates (0.5 g/wk as compared to 0.7 g/wk for uncovered ammonium addition tanks) but significant uptake of this label, with a tank biota contributing 23%. This finding supported a bacterial role in shrimp nutrition that will require further study. Isotopic analysis of individual amino acids in shrimp muscle from outdoor tanks with and without added 15N-ammonium further established the role of tank natural populations to shrimp nutrition. Rapid increases in delta 15N for threonine one day after label addition suggested an increased requirement for this essential amino acid. Further identification of the contribution of tank biota to shrimp amino acid profiles will require profiles of the delta 15N of specific amino acids for suspended particulate organic matter.
    • Carbon And Nitrogen Isotope Ratios In Bowhead Whales (Balaena Mysticetus) And Their Zooplankton Prey As Indicators Of Feeding Strategy And Environmental Change.

      Vinette, Kimberly Ann; Schell, Don (1993)
      This study details regional, seasonal and inter-annual differences in $\delta\sp{13}$C and $\delta\sp{15}$N of zooplankton in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. These isotopic variations were correlated with inter-annual and long-term variations in $\delta\sp{13}$C and $\delta\sp{15}$N of bowhead whale baleen.<p> Statistical analyses indicate significant $\sp{13}$C-enrichment in Bering/Chukchi seas zooplankton relative to Beaufort Sea zooplankton, supporting the observed trends of $\sp{13}$C-depletion at higher latitudes and enrichment at lower latitudes. Bering/Chukchi seas zooplankton show a weak trend in $\sp{13}$C-depletion between 1987-1990, possibly due to inter-annual environmental changes affecting phytoplankton $\delta\sp{13}$C. The $\delta\sp{13}$C of baleen produced in fall/winter months is inversely correlated to sea surface temperature trends in the Bering Sea. Long-term changes in baleen $\delta\sp{13}$C may be helpful in assessing past climatic change.<p> The observed $\delta\sp{15}$N oscillations in baleen may be due to changes in trophic level of prey between seasonal feeding grounds or from physiological cycles in the bowhead whale. <p>
    • Competition And Recruitment In Southeast Alaskan Subtidal Kelp Communities

      Okamoto, Daniel Kenji (2009)
      Shallow subtidal rocky reefs in the Northeast Pacific host frequent physical and biological disturbances as well as multiple competing algal species, including kelps and algal crusts. Kelps serve a critical role in local ecosystems by generating primary productivity and essential fish habitat. While kelp forests rank among the best understood ecosystems in the marine environment, protected and subarctic systems remain largely ignored. Because of the importance of kelp habitat in Southeast Alaska, and the susceptibility of kelps to both disturbance and competition, I estimated the variability in kelp community structure of subtidal, kelp dominated reefs in the Lynn Canal and quantified kelp recruitment in response to both competing algae and bare space which included clearings, artificial reefs, and settlement tiles installed at different periods. Surveyed communities varied most within rather than among reefs. Kelps exhibited strong, rapid, variable and apparent taxa specific colonization potential to clearings, artificial reefs and settlement tiles installed from summer to late fall. Algal crusts imposed a near 100% inhibition of kelp recruits in the field and lab; however the strong colonization potential of kelps facilitated recruitment in the face of strong inhibition by algal crusts.
    • Current Primary Production Rates Of The Western Arctic Ocean Estimated By Stable Carbon And Nitrogen Isotope Tracers

      Lee, Sang Heon; Whitledge, Terry E. (2005)
      Currently, the environments in the Arctic are rapidly changing. These changes of climate and ice conditions may alter the quantity, quality, and timing of production of ice algae and phytoplankton in the Arctic Ocean. The objectives in this study were to detect any change in the carbon production between current and previous studies and lay the groundwork for the future monitoring of ecosystem response to climate change in the different regions of the western Arctic Ocean. As an Arctic ocean mostly covered by multi or first-year ice, the deep Canada Basin had generally low photosynthetic rates and the maximum rates were found between 50 and 60 m in the basin. Based on the percentage of ice cover, the annual production ranged from 3 to 7.5 g C m-2 Z in the basin. Nutrients appear to be a main limiting factor at surface, whereas the phytoplankton activity might be limited by the low light in the Chl a-max layer. At the surface below the ice, photosynthetic activity might be controlled by both low light and nutrients. Studies of ice algae and phytoplankton at the first-year sea ice of Barrow in Alaska showed that bottom sea ice algae and phytoplankton are limited mainly by light. Therefore, the current downward trend of sea ice thickness and extent in Arctic Oceans might cause an increase in primary production or/and change in timing of the production. In addition, the composition in macromolecules of primary producers might be changed under the current ice conditions and thus nutritional status of higher trophic levels might be altered. As shallow shelf regions, Bering Strait/Chukchi Sea showed that the range of nitrate in the central Chukchi Sea was rather higher whereas the biomass of phytoplankton was lower in this study than in previous studies. Consistently, the mean carbon and nitrogen productivities from this study were almost half of values from previous studies. In conclusion, it appears that lower phytoplankton biomass in Bering Strait and the Chukchi Sea resulted in the lower carbon and nitrogen uptake rates and consequently more unused nitrate in the regions.
    • Decomposition and adsorption of peptides in Alaskan coastal marine sediments

      Luo, Honghong (1994)
      In organic-rich coastal sediments, hydrolyzable amino acids make up a substantial fraction of the sedimentary content of organic nitrogen. How this organic nitrogen resists decomposition and is preserved in sediments is poorly understood. In order to investigate the factors controlling mineralization and preservation of hydrolyzable amino acids, decomposition and adsorption of peptides were studied in suboxic and anoxic pore water and sediments from Resurrection Bay (RB) and Skan Bay (SB), Alaska. Five tritium-labeled peptides, basic di-lysine, acidic di-glutamic acid, and neutral di-alanine, tri-alanine and hexa-alanine, were used as tracers. In filtered pore water, the hydrolysis rates were usually low. The exception was that the initial enzymatic hydrolysis of di-alanine and di-glutamic acid was rapid in SB pore water. The hydrolysis rates of both peptides increased with concentration. In sediments, hydrolysis was found to be the rate-limiting step of peptide decomposition. Alanyl and glutamyl peptides were hydrolyzed faster than lysyl peptide, and the hydrolysis rates among alanyl peptides decreased with increasing molecular weight. Peptide hydrolysis was affected more by molecular structure than by oxic or anoxic conditions. Adsorption of lysyl peptide to sediments was greater than that of other peptides. Basicity enhanced peptide adsorption more than increased molecular weight. Sedimentary organic matter was mainly responsible for peptide adsorption. The different patterns of peptide adsorption in RB and SB sediments were related to the greater total organic carbon concentration in SB sediment. Some of the peptide adsorption was irreversible. Adsorbed peptides were more resistant to biological decomposition than dissolved peptides. Adsorption may be an important step in the process of peptide preservation in sediments, and thus the preservation of sediment organic matter during early diagenesis.
    • Distribution of large calanoid copepods in relation to physical oceanographic conditions and foraging auklets in the western Aleutian Islands

      Coyle, Kenneth Orval (1997)
      Acoustic measurements and net sampling were used to estimate zooplankton abundance and biomass relative to water mass types and flow fields in the western Aleutian Islands during June and July, 1992 and 1993. Observations are interpreted relative to the distribution and abundance of least auklets (Aethia pusilla), which forage on zooplankton. Highest zooplankton biomass (up to 7 g m$\sp{-3}$) occurred during June 1992, in the pycnocline separating the upper mixed layer from the cold intermediate layer north of a front separating Bering Sea and Alaska Stream water. The large calanoid Neocalanus flemingeri had highest abundance but the larger Neocalanus cristatus accounted for most of the biomass. N. cristatus and N. flemingeri were absent south of the Bering Sea front, where the community was dominated by Neocalanus plumchrus and Eucalanus bungii. Auklets were foraging almost exclusively north of the Bering Sea front. Neocalanus spp. abundance in the upper mixed layer was much lower in July 1993, than in June 1992. Neocalanus occurred primarily in scattered aggregates near the pycnocline over Bering Sea Intermediate water and at the surface in Pacific water. Auklets shifted their foraging activities to passes and shelf areas among the islands, where tidally generated divergences and convergences upwelled and concentrated prey into patches in the mixed layer. Elevated densities of Neocalanus were observed in convergence zones in Delarov Pass and over a ridge south of Kiska Island. Convergence zones were identified by intense sound scattering from entrained bubbles and by deceleration of the horizontal velocity components in acoustic doppler current data, a record of current speed and direction beneath the vessel. Densities of auklet prey in the study area during June were apparently influenced by the position of the front between Bering Sea and Pacific water masses. The position of the front was influenced by Alaska Stream flow anomalies lasting for several years. Prey densities on the shelves and in the passes during July were influenced by tidal currents at spatial scales of tens of meters to ten kilometers and lasting one tidal cycle.
    • Distribution, Growth And Egg Production Of Euphausiids In The Northern Gulf Of Alaska

      Pinchuk, Alexei I.; Hopcroft, Russell (2006)
      The euphausiids Thysanoessa inermis, Thysanoessa spinifera and Euphausia pacifica are key pelagic grazers and important prey for many vertebrates in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This thesis provides the first account of distribution, egg production, growth, development, and temporal variability in abundance of the euphausiids in relation to environmental variations in the northern GOA. T. inermis and T spinifera were abundant on the shelf within 120-130 km from the coast, while E. pacifica originated from offshore and was advected onto the shelf during summer. E. pacifica produced multiple broods with brood size strongly related to ambient chlorophyll a concentrations. In contrast, T. inermis released eggs once in the season and its brood size did not depend on chlorophyll content. Early development of these species showed a remarkably similar response to changes in temperature. The highest molting increments were observed during the spring phytoplankton bloom for T. inermis, and in summer for T. spinifera and E. pacifica, suggesting coupling with food availability. The molting rates were strongly influenced by temperature. Growth rates depended on euphausiid size, and were close to 0 in early spring, reaching maximum values in May (0.123 mm d-1 or 0.023 d -1 for T. inermis) and July (0.091 mm d-1 or 0.031 d-1 for T. spinifera). The growth rates for E. pacifica remained below 0.07 mm d -1 (0.016 d-1) throughout the season. The relationship between T. inermis weight specific growth rate (adjusted to 5�C) and ambient chlorophyll-a concentration fit a Michaelis-Menten curve (r2=0.48), but such relationships were not significant for T. spinifera or E. pacifica. Reproduction of T. inermis occurred during April in 1998 and 2003, and was extended through May in 1999-2002. The spawning of T. inermis and T. spinifera was related to the spring diatom bloom on the inner shelf, while the spawning of E. pacifica occurred later in season, when the water temperature increased. A strong increase in abundance of T. inermis, associated with the extended colder phase in the North Pacific, indicates that progressive cooling in 1999-2002 may have resulted in greater reproductive success of early spawning T. inermis on the inner shelf.
    • Dynamics of a migratory fish population with applications to the management of sablefish in the Northeast Pacific Ocean

      Heifetz, Jonathan; Quinn, Terrance J. II (1996)
      Quantitative models are developed to describe the dynamics of an age-structured migratory fish population subject to exploitation. Migration rates are quantified, alternative ways of apportioning harvest among areas are examined, and the dynamics of a migratory population is described within the general theoretical framework of a projection matrix model. Application of these modeling efforts is within the context of the sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) fishery in the North Pacific Ocean. A Markov model that includes natural and fishing mortality, tag reporting and shedding rates, and migration is used to quantify migration rates of tagged sablefish among fishery regulatory areas. Estimates of annual migration rates out of an area are in the range 19-69% for small (<57 cm fork length (FL)), 25-72% for medium (57-66 cm FL), and 27-71% for large (>66 cm FL) sablefish. The predominant direction of migration along the continental slope is eastward for large sablefish and westward for small sablefish. Most estimates of migration are precise, unconfounded, and robust to perturbations of input constants. An age-structured model that includes migration is constructed to examine harvest policies for sablefish. Areal estimates of yield-per-recruit depends on the geographic distribution of recruitment. In general, when evaluated under the current annual exploitation rate of 10%, apportioning harvest among areas based on areal estimates of biomass and apportionment based on the steady-state distribution of biomass give similar results. A policy of apportionment based on a weighted moving average of areal estimates of available biomass is preferred to others. This policy adapts to current information about geographic distribution of biomass, reduces the effects of measurement error, and does not require estimates of migration probabilities for implementation. The reproduction, mortality and migration of an age-structured fish population are incorporated into a projection matrix model. The model is parameterized to include areal specificity in the stock-recruitment relationship and events such as larval dispersion that is decoupled from local reproduction. For the sablefish fishery where direction of movement is age dependent, fishing at a common rate among areas may be detrimental to the population in a given area. Area-specific fishing strategies can be devised to meet management objectives such as maintenance of areal spawning potential.
    • Ecology Of Juvenile Pink Salmon In The North Gulf Of Alaska And Prince William Sound

      Boldt, Jennifer Lynn; Haldorson, Lewis J. (2001)
      Increased production of salmon in Alaska has been accompanied by a decrease in average body size and decreased wild stocks, indicating a possible density-dependent response to increases in salmon populations and hatchery releases. Pink salmon have a short two-year life cycle and most post-hatch mortality is thought to occur during their first months at sea; therefore, processes in the early marine residence period may determine abundance. Geographic and seasonal patterns in distribution, growth, and condition of juvenile pink salmon during their first months at sea were examined in Chapter 1. The migration of pink salmon from Prince William Sound (PWS) occurred over several months. Fish lengths, weights, and energy contents varied geographically and seasonally. Pink salmon energy content was highest on the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) shelf in July and August and lowest in PWS in July, indicating that growth conditions were better on the GOA shelf. Spatial and temporal variation in growth and condition is indicative of disparate feeding opportunities for juvenile pink salmon. An unusual aspect of this study was the concurrent collection of zooplankton and fish in PWS and on the GOA shelf. Geographic and seasonal changes in juvenile pink salmon diets were examined during their first six months at sea in Chapter 2. Pink salmon diets varied geographically and seasonally, and prey size increased as fish grew. A unique opportunity existed to compare the energy content of thermally marked hatchery pink salmon to their wild counterparts in PWS (Chapter 3). Fish condition varied geographically, however, there were no differences among hatchery groups and/or wild pink salmon at any one location. This indicates that fish were staying together as a group. In Chapter 4, pink salmon consumption was estimated to represent a small fraction of the production but potentially a large proportion of the available standing stock of zooplankton in PWS. Geographic variations in fish condition, diet, and zooplankton densities were observed in this study. This supports the hypothesis that local processes, including food depletion and/or zooplankton availability are important to juvenile pink salmon.
    • Growth Rates Of Calanoid Copepods In The Northern Gulf Of Alaska, And Their Relationships To Temperature, Chlorophyll And Body Size

      Liu, Hui; Hopcroft, Russell (2006)
      The juvenile growth rate and development time of the dominant calanoid copepods in the northern Gulf of Alaska were investigated. The utility of the artificial-cohort method was successfully validated as the most practical approach for estimating copepod growth rates in this ecosystem. The underlying functional responses of growth rates to temperature, food concentration, and body size were thoroughly explored for Neocalanus flemingeri/plumchrus, Metridia pacifica, Calanus marshallae, C. pacificus and Pseudocalanus spp. These results lay the foundation for the calculation of copepod secondary production and ongoing ecosystem modeling activities for the northern Gulf of Alaska, and will contribute to the refinement of global models of copepod growth rates. In general, the rates of copepod growth were negatively size-dependent. However, a positive relationship between growth rate and body size within each stage emerged in response to food climate. The effect of temperature on growth rates was prominent, but confounded with food conditions and body sizes, which also vary with temperature conditions. Copepod growth rates were significantly related to chlorophyll a, and were frequently food-limited, particularly for later developmental stages during the summer. Compared to other co-occurring calanoid copepods, egg-carrying species (i.e. Pseudocalanus) tend to grow slowly to meet their unique life history strategy. Statistically, more variability in temperature corrected growth rates can be explained by composite nonlinear models that incorporate development stage and body size into the traditional Michaelis-Menten relationship. The species-specific comparisons of the measured growth rates with those predicted by global models of copepod growth suggested more direct measurements of copepod growth rates in various ecosystems are required for fully appreciating the global patterns of copepod growth. Caution should be used in the widespread application of those models for estimating copepod secondary production, especially in polar and sub-polar waters.
    • Growth, Morphology And Energetics Of Bowhead Whales (Balaena Mysticetus)

      George, John Craighead (2009)
      This thesis describes investigations on bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) conducted over the past three decades, specifically on age, growth, morphology and energetics. The examined whales were harvested by Inupiat Eskimo whale hunters primarily in Barrow, Alaska. Bowheads are robust cetaceans reaching 19 m in length and inhabit the ice-covered waters of the circumpolar Arctic. They have the thickest blubber (? 35 cm) of any cetacean and the longest (>4 m) and most extensive baleen apparatus. Bowheads are ~4 m at birth and grow rapidly to ~8 m in their first year; they then experience a 2-3 year growth pause in both body length and mass. However the baleen continues to grow during this period. Sex differences are minimal but adult females tend to grow longer than males and males have larger pectoral limbs. Based on several lines of evidence, bowheads may routinely live to 150 years and thereby the longest-lived mammal. The recovery of 19 th century stone weapons from recently harvested whales confirms these age estimates. Age was estimated for 48 whales using the aspartic acid racemization technique, based on intrinsic changes of aspartic acid within the eye lens. The age at sexual maturity for bowheads occurs in the mid-20s. All harvested whales examined showed strong thermal gradients through their blubber (dermis and epidermis). A similar thermal gradient was evident through the muscle which is atypical of most terrestrial mammals. The deep body temperature averaged 33.8�C (SD=0.83, N = 28) which is lower than in other non-hibernating eutherian mammals. I did not see elevation of body temperatures in chased whales -- in fact these whales had slightly lower core temperatures. Resting metabolic rates for whales were estimated using a heat-loss technique. The thermal conductivity of the blubber for 5 whales averaged about 0.23 Wm-1K-1; similar to that of other whales and marine mammals. Heat flux rates varied highest to lowest as follows: palatal rete, flukes, tongue and lowest for the thorax and flippers. The resulting metabolic rates were much lower (~ 1/3) than predicted by the Kleiber regression. These investigations suggest that bowhead whales are unique among mammals in several respects such as: (a) following weaning they appear to lose weight over a period of 2-3 years and grow little in body length, (b) resting metabolic rates and body temperatures are lower than in other cetaceans. Their extensive blubber likely buffers bowheads against high variability in primary and secondary productivity in arctic seas.
    • Health Assessment In The Bowhead Whale

      Rosa, Cheryl; Blake, John E. (2006)
      Tissue samples and morphometric data were collected from 64 bowhead whales landed during the 1998-2002 subsistence hunts in Barrow and Kaktovik, Alaska. Our primary goal was to assess the health status of the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock of bowhead whales. Ages of whales were determined via aspartic acid racemization of the eye lens nucleus, baleen stable carbon isotope analysis and morphometric and histologic indices. We investigated the gross and microscopic anatomy of organs and blubber, thyroid hormone concentrations, serum haptoglobin, vitamin A and E concentrations in liver, blubber and serum and essential element concentrations in liver and kidney. Thyroid hormone and vitamin A were also evaluated as potential biomarkers of organochlorine (OC) concentrations in blubber, liver and serum. Neither of these substances was found to correlate with the relatively low OC concentrations found in these mysticetes. Histological changes of interest included renal interstitial fibrosis, hepatic periportal fibrosis/pigmentation/lipidosis, splenic extramedullary hematopoiesis and pulmonary fibromuscular hyperplasia. Changes in the kidney and lung were related to both age and renal and hepatic Cd concentrations. Most of the histological differences observed did not appear to adversely affect organ function or health of the individual. Thyroid hormone concentrations were stable over age/sex/seasonal groups, however, pregnant females had significantly lower total and free thyroxine than non-pregnant adult females and other age-sex classes. Serum haptoglobin was measured as an indirect determinant of acute inflammation, with three reactors found among 51 whales examined. Liver contained the highest mean concentrations of vitamins A and E (followed by epidermis, blubber, and serum and serum, epidermis, and blubber, in order). Finally, blubber percent collagen was measured at 30 locations on each whale and was found to be stable by site and most depths, with the most internal region of the reticular dermis being the only exception. Overall, the bowhead whales were healthy. However, climate change, offshore development and increases in arctic pollution emphasize the importance of baseline data collection. An ongoing surveillance effort is recommended to ensure that the species will be viable for generations to come and to assure subsistence users of the robust and healthy status of this stock of whales.
    • Heat And Freshwater Controlling Processes On The Northern Gulf Of Alaska Shelf

      Janout, Markus A.; Weingartner, Thomas; Coyle, Kenneth; Hedstroem, Ketherine; Johnson, Mark; Okkonen, Stephen (2009)
      We examined conditions and processes that control the distribution of heat and freshwater on the northern Gulf of Alaska (GOA) shelf. Cross-shelf heat gradients are weak throughout the year, while salinity gradients are substantial due to the impact of coastal freshwater runoff. Outer shelf water properties are influenced by large anticyclonic eddies, while the inner and middle shelves may be regulated by wind and freshwater runoff dynamics around the Alaska Coastal Current (ACC). On the outer shelf, anticyclonic eddies propagate from the eastern GOA southwestward along the continental slope, where they favor on-shelf (off-shelf) transport of saline and nutrient-rich (fresh and iron-rich) waters Certain along-shelf locations are identified where low-salinity coastal waters are found near the shelfbreak within reach of eddies and may be regions of enhanced cross-shelf freshwater transport. The eddies have lifetimes of ~5 years and increase in size and sea level anomaly west of the Seward Line, which implies more vigorous eddy cross-shelf exchange in the northwestern GOA. By comparison, on the inner shelf the heat and freshwater distribution is dominated by large coastal river runoff, which forces the ACC and controls the vertical distribution of temperatures through stratification. In May 2007, the coastal GOA revealed some of the lowest ocean temperatures since the early 1970s, initiated by strong atmospheric cooling and reduced coastal runoff in November 2006. Stepwise regression shows that 81% of the variability of deep temperatures is explained by salinity stratification and air-sea heat fluxes. Weak baroclinic flow in May 2007 likely aided the cooling through reduced along-shore heat transport. A more detailed examination of heat transport indicated that along-shore heat flux convergence in the ACC may re-supply 10-35% of the heat removed by air-sea fluxes throughout the coastal GOA cooling season, while the annual mean cross-shore heat flux convergence is insignificant. Spatial gradients show increasing heat fluxes from off- to on-shore and from east to west. The cross-shore gradients result from wind speed gradients due to ageostrophic near-shore wind jets near coastal mountains, while the along-shore gradients result from larger-scale pressure systems. While the ACC advects coastal freshwater around the GOA shelf its waters are subjected to disproportional heat loss west of the Seward Line.
    • Influences of abiotic factors on the return, ocean abundance, and maturity of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the northern North Pacific Ocean

      Yeh, Shinn-Pyng; Nishiyama, Tsuneo (1987)
      The fluctuations in return, ocean abundance, and maturity of sockeye salmon (O. nerka) were examined and related to wind stress curl, sea suface temperature (SST), sea level pressure, and cloudiness, in the area between 40$\sp\circ$N-60$\sp\circ$N and 160$\sp\circ$E-140$\sp\circ$W. Historical records, during two periods, 1971-76 and 1955-86, were the primary source of data. Spectral analysis of a 360-month period of mean wind stress curl during 1955-85 showed 3.1- and 5.3-year cycles. The 5.3-year cycle was correlated (r =.32 to.44, P $<$.10) with the return of Bristol Bay sockeye salmon mostly at 0- (the year of spawning migration) and 1-year lag (the first year of lake residence). The relative ocean abundance of sockeye salmon in the northwestern Northern Pacific during 1971-76 was lowest during the three periods: 1961-70, 1971-76, and 1977-85. Mature Kamchatka sockeye salmon were 24% more abundant than mature Bristol Bay sockeye salmon during 1971-76. A significant relationship was found between the May-June mean SST and abundance of sockeye salmon (r =.56 to.66, P $<$.01) during 1961-85. In the northern North Pacific, the SST was positively (r =.73 to.86, P $<$.001) related with the gonad weight of sockeye salmon. The results indicated a close relation between the return, ocean abundance, and maturity of sockeye salmon and most of the abiotic factors.
    • Interrelationships of Pacific herring, Clupea pallasi, populations and their relation to large-scale environmental and oceanographic variables

      Williams, Erik Hamilton; Quinn, T. II (1999)
      Recruitment estimates for Pacific herring, Clupea pallasi, populations in the Bering Sea and Northeast Pacific Ocean are highly variable, difficult to forecast, and crucial for determining optimum harvest levels. Age-structured population models for annual stock assessments of the sac-roe fisheries rely on fishery and survey age composition data tuned to an auxiliary survey of total biomass. In Chapter 1, the first age-structured model for Norton Sound herring was developed similarly to existing models. Estimates of variability from age-structured stock assessment models for Pacific herring are often not calculated. In Chapter 2, a parametric bootstrap procedure using a fit of the Dirichlet distribution to observed age composition data was developed as a quick and easy method for computing error estimates of model estimates. This bootstrap technique was able to capture variability beyond that of the multinomial distribution. This technique can provide estimates of variability for existing population models with age composition data requiring little change to the original model structure. Recruitment time series from Pacific herring stock assessment models for 14 populations in the Bering Sea and Northeast Pacific Ocean were analyzed for links to the environment. For some populations, recruitment series were extended backward in time using cohort analysis. In chapter 3, correlation and multivariate cluster analyses were applied to determine herring population associations. There appear to be four major herring groups: Bering Sea, outer Gulf of Alaska, coastal SE Alaska, and British Columbia. These associations were combined with an exploratory correlation analysis of environmental data in chapter 4. Appropriate time periods for environmental variables were determined for use in Ricker type environmentally dependent spawner-recruit forecasting models. Global and local scale environmental variables were examined in forecasting models, resulting in improvements in recruitment forecasts compared to models without environmental data. The exploratory correlation analysis and best fit models, determined by jackknife error prediction, indicated temperature data corresponding to the year of spawning resulted in the best forecasting models. The Norton Sound age-structured model, parametric bootstrap procedure, and recruitment forecasting models serve as enhancements to the decision process of managing Pacific herring fisheries.
    • Juvenile Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Ecology

      Farley, Edward V., Jr.; Adkison, Milo (2008)
      Predicting annual returns of Bristol Bay sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) has been difficult due to large, unexplained variations in return strength. Ocean conditions, particularly during the first few months after salmon leave freshwater, are believed to have a strong influence on their early marine growth and survival. Limited historical and present research suggests that sea temperature can affect juvenile Bristol Bay distribution. During years with cool spring sea temperatures, juvenile sockeye salmon are distributed nearshore along the Alaska Peninsula, whereas they are found further offshore during years with warm spring sea temperatures. Juvenile sockeye salmon are larger, in better condition, and have higher marine stage survival after the first year at sea when they are distributed further offshore than when they are distributed nearshore along the Alaska Peninsula. Juvenile sockeye salmon stomach contents also shift from primarily Pacific sand lance ( Ammodytes hexapterus) and euphausiids to age 0 walleye pollock ( Theragra chalcogramma) when their distribution changes from nearshore to further offshore. Annual averages of juvenile sockeye salmon growth rate potential (GRP) were generally lower among years and regions with cool spring sea temperatures. In addition, juvenile sockeye salmon GRP was generally higher in offshore regions than nearshore regions of the eastern Bering Sea shelf. A sensitivity analysis indicated that juvenile sockeye salmon GRP was more sensitive to changes in observed (August to September) sea surface temperatures during years when prey densities were lower. The results of the dissertation suggest that variability in early marine survival is primarily due to bottom-up control of the trophic structure of the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem.