Alaska Science Center
ABOUT THE ALASKA
Weekly Highlights for 6-14-2012
I. Departmental/Bureau News
A. Upcoming Events
No Upcoming Events highlights for this week
New Publication on Effects of Sea Ice on Common Eiders in Alaska
USGS Alaska Science Center scientists Margaret Petersen, David Douglas, and Sarah McCloskey, along with Heather Wilson (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), are authors of a recently published article in The Auk regarding Common Eiders that breed in western and northern Alaska. These eider populations make short distance migrations to coastal wintering areas within the Bering Sea and this paper examines the effects of sea ice coverage across years on the winter distribution and movements of common eiders. Previously, Alaska Science Center scientists have found that annual population estimates of spectacled eiders on the breeding grounds can be negatively impacted by extended periods of dense sea-ice concentration and weather during the previous winter. However, little is known about impacts of changing ice conditions to winter habitats of common eiders. The authors of the current paper found that adult female common eiders in the Cape Espenberg breeding population use all four ice-free wintering areas in the northern Bering Sea. However, common eiders nesting along the Beaufort Sea coast—a genetically distinct population—winter almost exclusively in only two of these areas. Thus, it is likely that a catastrophic event in one of these areas could have a greater impact to the Beaufort Sea breeding population.
Contact: Margaret Petersen Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7180
II. Press Inquiries/Media
On June 13, USGS Alaska Science Center scientist Brenda Ballachey answered questions on the Bill Good Show (CKNW radio talk show in Vancouver), as part of a discussion on a recent pipeline oil spill in Alberta, Canada. Ballachey, who has worked on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill studies of for the past 20 years, answered questions about the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the BC coast. For more information about ongoing research visit http://alaska.usgs.gov/science/biology/nearshore_marine/evos.php.
USGS FaceBook Page: USGS Alaska Science Center wildlife biologist Gretchen Roffler is a co-author of the new USGS Fact Sheet 2012-3060 entitled "Climatic Changes and Effect on Wild Sheep Habitat" that discusses how U.S. Geological Survey scientists have been studying selected areas in Alaska to understand the effects of climatic changes on Dall sheep habitat. For more information visit the USGS FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/USGeologicalSurvey