Beaufort Sea, Blog, Boulder Patch, Field Season, Methods, North Slope, Prudhoe Bay, Science

Welcome to field season 2016!

location
Another year, another trip to the Arctic! Our first stop is the Boulder Patch (map above, more info here). Over the past 12 months, sensors in the Boulder Patch kelp bed have been collecting data on temperature, salinity, currents, and underwater light. As you may expect, those conditions change dramatically over the course of the year in the Arctic.
Light sensor (light bulb and big cylinder) and temperature/salinity sensor (small cylinder) in the Boulder Patch
Light sensor (‘light bulb’ and big cylinder) and temperature/salinity sensor (small cylinder) in the Boulder Patch
We are excited to see what the data show us about conditions this year, especially with the new extremes that were reached in 2016. Things are changing quickly up here and our research will tell us What environmental changes are happening and How and Why these changes may affect the ecosystem (both the kelp bed community itself and the food web it supports). We have a new lab member, Arley Muth, who will be looking at pH in the Boulder Patch to see how ocean acidification may affect this system. She and I will also be examining how the presence and abundance of algae and animals across the Boulder Patch may be affected by gradients in environmental variables (decreasing salinity as you get closer to the Saganavirktok River, for example). As always, we have a lot to do in the next three weeks, including retrieving our sensors from last year, deploying new sensors (aka marine scientists’ toys*), and collecting some cobbles to look at fine-scale biodiversity.

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Science will be scienced! Shenanigans will be had! Stay tuned 🙂
**very, very expensive toys
P.S. I was able to fit all of our 30 containers of science gear into the back of one truck. I consider this one of my greatest achievements.
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