January 20, 2017

Arctic Issues, Climate Change, and Old Bones to Headline 2017 Alaska Marine Science Symposium

Download the press release here.

Media Advisory: January 20, 2017

Follow the symposium on Twitter @AKMarineScience using #AMSS2017.

Anchorage, Alaska—With an impressive list of keynote speakers and plenary session presenters, this year’s Alaska Marine Science Symposium (AMSS) returns to the Hotel Captain Cook from January 23 to 27, 2017—better than ever. AMSS, Alaska’s premier marine research conference, has been bringing together scientists, educators, resource managers, students, and interested public for over twenty years to discuss the latest marine research being conducted in Alaskan waters. The conference begins Monday with a Communicating Ocean Sciences Workshop, followed by five keynote sessions that include U.S. Arctic Research Commissioner, Honorable Fran Ulmer, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History’s Nicholas Pyenson, University of Washington’s Dr. Nicholas Bond, among others. Monday’s workshop and keynote presentations are free and open to the public.

Every January hundreds of people look forward to this signature event for the Alaska marine science community, which extends far beyond the state,” says Betsy Baker, Executive Director of the North Pacific Research Board, an event co-sponsor. “Established scientists, new researchers, and young students have the chance to share their work and form new collaborations with each other, local communities, managers, industry, and the broader public. This year again, speakers and poster sessions will present cutting-edge science to inform everyone who is interested in achieving better understanding and management of North Pacific marine ecosystems.

Each day of the conference highlights important Alaskan marine ecosystems: Gulf of Alaska (Tuesday), Bering Sea & Aleutian Islands (Wednesday), and the Arctic (Thursday). Research topics discussed range from ocean physics, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, to local traditional knowledge—all featured in over 70 scientific talks and 220 poster presentations.

Full details of the conference, including agenda, are available at Unless otherwise noted, all presentations will take place in the Discovery Ballroom of the Hotel Captain Cook. Registration is required; participants wishing to attend the plenary sessions from Tuesday – Thursday, a nominal registration fee is required. For media, volunteers, educators, and others, the fee is waived. Contact Brendan Smith for details.

Keynotes and Events:

Dr. Takashi Kikuchi: Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyChanges of Oceanographic Conditions in the Pacific Sector of the Arctic Ocean and the Impact to Marine Ecosystems 
Takashi Kikuchi is the Deputy Director of JAMSTEC’s Institute of Arctic Climate and Environment Research and Team Leader of its Arctic Ocean Climate System Research. He has participated as a researcher or lead scientist on research cruises to the Arctic for nearly 20 years. He is currently the chair of the Pacific Arctic Group, and has been an Executive Committee member of the International Arctic Buoy Program since 2008, as well as an International Science Steering Group Member for the Arctic- Subarctic Ocean Flux Program since 2010. Monday, 1:30pm – 2:15pm.

Hon. Fran Ulmer: Chair, U.S. Arctic Research CommissionResearch Plans for the Arctic: the US Arctic Research Commission’s Goals and Objectives Report 2017-2018 and the Integrated Arctic Research Policy Committee’s 5-year Research Plan
Fran Ulmer is chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, where she has served since being appointed by President Obama in March 2011. In June 2010, President Obama appointed her to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. From 2007 to 2011, Ulmer was chancellor of Alaska's largest public university, the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). Before that, she was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at UAA. Ulmer is a member of the Global Board of the Nature Conservancy and on the Board of the National Parks Conservation Association. Ulmer served as an elected official for 18 years as the mayor of Juneau, a state representative, and as Lieutenant Governor of Alaska.
She will share the podium with two Arctic Youth Ambassadors, Macy Kenworthy and Cade Terada, who will share their experiences with the program over the past year and their thoughts about the future of Alaska’s Arctic.  
Monday, 2:15pm – 3:00pm.

Dr. Nicholas Pyenson: Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural HistoryTracing the Evolution and Extinction of High Latitude Marine Megafauna
Nicholas Pyenson is the curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C. A National Geographic Explorer, he has done scientific fieldwork on every continent, and led over a dozen scientific expeditions during the last decade, with a strong focus on paleontological exploration, anatomical discovery, international mentorship, and 3D digitization for museum collections. Along with his scientific collaborators, he has named over a half-dozen new species of fossil whales, discovered the richest fossil whale graveyard on the planet, and described an entirely new sensory organ in living whales. Monday, 3:30pm – 4:15pm.

Dr. Nicholas Bond: Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean of the University of WashingtonThe Recent Marine Heat Wave in Alaska: A Dress Rehearsal for Climate Change? Changing the Way We Think About Water
Nick Bond is a principal research scientist with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean of the University of Washington and is affiliated with NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. He is the State Climatologist for Washington. His research covers a broad range of topics with a focus on the weather and climate of the Pacific Northwest and the linkages between the climate and marine ecosystems of Alaska. Monday 3:45pm – 4:30pm.

AMSS is coordinated by an organizing committee comprising representatives from many of the sponsoring organizations. Sponsors of the 2017 symposium include: Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Ocean Observing System, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, Alaska Sea Grant, Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands LLC, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Coastal Marine Institute, Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council, International Pacific Halibut Commission, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Alaska Regional Collaboration Team, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Alaska Fisheries Science Center, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, North Pacific Research Board, Oil Spill Recovery Institute, Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center, Prince William Sound Science Center, United States Arctic Research Commission, United States Geological Survey – Alaska Region, United States Geological Survey – Alaska Science Center, University of Washington – School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, and University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.