Regional Study Areas
The sampling stations for the Gulf of Alaska Project are illustrated on the series of maps below. The project will make regional comparisons between the central and eastern Gulf of Alaska. In the central Gulf of Alaska, the continental shelf is broad, with high demersal fish biomass but low species diversity. In the eastern Gulf of Alaska, the continental shelf is narrow and biomass is lower, but species diversity is higher.
The legend in the maps below identifies the type of sample collected at each station. Each of the field sampling components of the project are abbreviated according to the tropic level they address. Trophic levels refer generally to levels in the food chain. The lower trophic level (LTL) refers to the organisms at the base of the food chain (e.g., plankton, fish eggs, larval fish) and this level is addressed by the component of the project called "Controlling Mechanisms for Nutrients, Plankton and Larval Fishes". This aspect of the project is also collecting physical and chemical oceanography data. The middle trophic level (MTL) refers to the organisms that feed on LTL organisms but that are themselves prey for larger marine predators. The "Understanding the Structure of Forage Fish Communities" component of the project is addressing the middle trophic level. The upper trophic level (UTL) refers to the organisms at the top of the food chain, such as large fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. The "Surviving the Gauntlet" component of the project is addressing the upper trophic level. The IERP common stations (blue dots) represent sites where fish (UTL) and oceanography (LTL) samples are collected.