The Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO)-Northern Chukchi Integrated Study (NCIS): Hydrography, Sediment, and Macrofaunal Population Dynamics

Jacqueline M. Grebmeier and Lee W. Cooper
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)


Understanding the impacts of reduced seasonal sea ice and a warming water column on benthic processes are essential to track and forecast ecosystem response in the Pacific Arctic region. Within the southern Chukchi Sea northward to the slope of the Chukchi Sea, we propose collections of several key water column parameters (stable isotopes of oxygen in water, phytoplankton species composition), sediment parameters (organic carbon and nitrogen content, grain size, stable isotope C and N content of organic matter, radioisotopes, and whole core metabolism measurements), and benthic macrofaunal composition and biomass. Overall goals are to determine hydrographic and sediment characteristics that influence macroinfaunal communities and ecosystem function. This sampling is planned for: (1) the time-series Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) transect lines from the northern Bering Sea to the northern Chukchi Sea and Barrow Canyon (DBO1-5), and (2) focused sediment process studies to track ecosystem response to sea ice retreat and seawater warming. The research is a continuation on ongoing time series efforts, to be undertaken in concert with other investigators, will evaluate key processes influencing the Pacific Arctic ecosystem. These interdisciplinary investigations will address variability and forcing functions in the diverse water masses and benthic habitat types that are now subject to significantly longer sea-ice free periods. In addition, PI Grebmeier will be supported to participate in the 2019 Arctic Science Summit week in Arkhangelsk, Russia in May 2019. This proposal also includes salary support to attend this international meeting and for her efforts on the Executive Committee of the international Pacific Arctic Group to facilitate scientific planning and field sampling efforts within the DBO network.