Preliminary Proposal : Coastal Alaska- Coa Lter

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Preliminary Proposal: LTER: Coastal Alaska- CoA LTER

The CoA LTER aims to better understand how high-latitude marine ecosystems will be affected by future ocean change, particularly changes associated with glacial discharge and ocean acidification. Kachemak Bay, Alaska, is the ideal high-latitude model system to conduct this research because of its 1) wealth of existing data, 2) existing infrastructure (the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory), 3) high productivity and biological diversity, 4) susceptibility to climate change (in particular, glacial melt and increasing acidification), 5) link to the open ocean environment of the Gulf of Alaska, and 6) importance to fisheries and to subsistence communities. The existing environmental and
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Consequently, there is a great need for establishing a high-latitude coastal marine LTER in the US. The ongoing increase in atmospheric temperature is accelerating glacial melt run-off at high-latitudes, affecting natural environmental fluxes and potentially reducing ecosystem resilience. The CoA LTER will examine the influence of current and future natural and human-induced variability and change (e.g., warming of air temperature, and increased glacial melt run-off, and increases in CO2 concentration) on the marine chemical and physical environment (e.g., pH, carbonate saturation state, oxygen concentration, salinity, water temperature, sedimentation), and the responses by biological communities and processes. The long-term time-series data and the biological experimental results will be used to ground-truth both oceanographic/food web models and ecological niche models that aim to predict how organisms, communities, and ecosystems will fare under specific climate change scenarios, e.g., as laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Such models are essential to guide resource management and conservation decisions that will protectAlaska’s precious marine living resources. The research workflow we develop (observe, experiment, model) can be applied to other high-latitude coastal regions that anticipate an increase in freshwater discharge with the goal of characterizing the biological impacts of climate
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