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Bering Sea Project (BEST/BSIERP) Fieldwork Complete

The fourth and final field year of the Bering Sea Project (BEST/BSIERP) finished in early October when first the chartered fishing vessel Epic Explorer on 6 October and then the NOAA ship Miller Freeman on 7 October came into port. Scientists and crew aboard the Epic Explorer completed a surface trawl/acoustics survey. Scientists and crew aboard the Miller Freeman completed a moorings and hydrographic cruise. In 2010, cruises supporting the Bering Sea Project have been underway since February and have followed the same intensive schedule (February to October) since 2008 (the cruise schedule was less intense in 2007). Altogether, ships were at sea for about 420 days in 2010 in support of the Bering Sea Project.

The Bering Sea Project is a comprehensive $52 million investigation of the eastern Bering Sea supported by the North Pacific Research Board and the National Science Foundation with in-kind support from NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The program goal is to understand how climate change is affecting the Bering Sea ecosystem and the consequences of these changes on lower trophic levels for fish, seabirds, marine mammals, and ultimately people. Nearly a hundred principal scientists are linked through a vertically integrated process and modeling program.

The fieldwork will be followed by synthesis and reporting during 2011 and 2012.

By Mike Sigler

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