In September 2008, NPRB released a request for pre-proposals to begin the process of developing an integrated ecosystem research program focused on the Gulf of Alaska. Pre-proposals were requested to address the following:
How do environmental and anthropogenic processes, including climate change, affect various trophic levels and dynamical linkages among trophic levels, with particular emphasis on fish and fisheries, marine mammals and seabirds within the Gulf of Alaska?
At first, pre-proposals were sought that proposed to determine and quantify the processes driving upper trophic level populations and to better understand observed and potential future variability therein as they affect key management issues in the North Pacific. NPRB recognized that to do so comprehensively, monitoring, modeling, retrospective analysis and process studies would need to be integrated. NPRB suggested that a comparative study, designed to investigate demographic differences at a regional geographic scale, might best elucidate critical control mechanisms for population dynamics of upper trophic level species, and referred the scientific community to animplementation plan.
Photo Credit: Olav Ormseth
Once the pre-proposals were reviewed, requests for full proposals for the upper trophic level component were invited, and a request for proposals was released for the other components of the program: forage fish, oceanography and lower trophic levels, and ecosystem modeling components. Later, NPRB sought proposals on the role of iron in driving primary production in the Gulf of Alaska.
The Gulf of Alaska Project began with a pilot season in 2010 and is scheduled to run through January 2015. The publication of peer-reviewed literature resulting from this project will likely continue throughout 2015 and beyond.