Alaska Science Center
Nearshore Marine Ecosystem Research Program
Nearshore ecosystems include many resources that are of high ecological, recreational, subsistence, and economic value. They also are subject to influences from a wide variety of natural and human-caused perturbations, which can originate in terrestrial or oceanic environments. Our research is designed to evaluate sources of variation in the nearshore and how they influence resources of high conservation interest. Our studies address community members at every trophic level, ranging from intertidal macroalgae and kelps to benthic invertebrates to top-level predators such as sea otters, black oystercatchers, and sea ducks. Key issues addressed by our program includes ecosystem recovery from the Exxon Valdez oil spill; in particular, studies of sea otters and harlequin ducks have provided unprecedented insights into the processes and timelines of recovery of vulnerable species. We also have a long history, and ongoing efforts, evaluating population dynamics of sea otters and their effects on other components of nearshore ecosystems. Recovery of otters following near extirpation during the fur trade has allowed consideration of the top-down effects of otter predation, as well as factors that limit sea otter populations. We also study sea ducks, a group of waterfowl of high conservation concern, evaluating factors on marine habitats that influence their distribution, abundance, and demography. A large component of our program is participation in Gulf Watch Alaska, which is designed to monitor marine ecosystem structure and function in the northern Gulf of Alaska. The geographic scope of our work includes a huge swath of subarctic coastline, spanning from the Aleutian Islands through Southeast Alaska, with collaborations along the entire Pacific coast of North America.
Our most recent publications include:
Bodkin, J. L., H. A. Coletti, B. E. Ballachey, D. H. Monson, D. Esler, and T. A. Dean. 2017. Variation in abundance of Pacific Blue Mussel (Mytilus trossulus) in the Northern Gulf of Alaska, 2006–2015. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography In Press. doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2017.04.008 [Details] [Full Publication].
Esler, D., B. E. Ballachey, C. Matkin, D. Cushing, R. Kaler, J. L. Bodkin, D. H. Monson, G. G. Esslinger, and K. A. Kloecker. 2017. Timelines and mechanisms of wildlife population recovery following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography In Press. doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2017.04.007 [Details] [Full Publication]
Bowen, L., A. K. Miles, B. E. Ballachey, S. Waters, and J. L. Bodkin. 2016. Gene transcript profiling in sea otters post-Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: A tool for marine ecosystem health assessment. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 4(2):no. 39. doi:10.3390/jmse4020039 [Details] [Full Publication] <
Coletti, H. A., J. L. Bodkin, D. H. Monson, B. E. Ballachey, and T. A. Dean. 2016. Detecting and inferring cause of change in an Alaska nearshore marine ecosystem. Ecosphere 7(10):e01489. doi:10.1002/ecs2.1489 [Details] [Full Publication]
Esler, D., B. E. Ballachey, L. Bowen, A. K. Miles, R. D. Dickson, and J. D. Henderson. 2016. Cessation of oil exposure in harlequin ducks after the Exxon Valdez oil spill: Cytochrome P4501A biomarker evidence. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 36(5):1294-1300. doi:10.1002/etc.3659 [Details] [Full Publication]
Konar, B., K. Iken, H. A. Coletti, D. H. Monson, and B. P. Weitzman. 2016. Influence of static habitat attributes on local and regional rocky intertidal community structure. Estuaries and Coasts. doi:10.1007/s12237-016-0114-0 [Details] [Full Publication]
von Biela, V. R., C. E. Zimmerman, G. H. Kruse, F. J. Mueter, B. A. Black, D. C. Douglas, and J. L. Bodkin. 2016. Influence of basin- and local-scale environmental conditions on nearshore production in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 8:502-521. doi:10.1080/19425120.2016.1194919 [Details] [Full Publication]
von Biela, V. R., S. D. Newsome, J. L. Bodkin, G. H. Kruse, and C. E. Zimmerman. 2016. Widespread kelp-derived carbon in pelagic and benthic nearshore fishes suggested by stable isotope analysis. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 181:364-374. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2016.08.039 [Details] [Full Publication]