Photo Credit: Morgen Young

Integrated Ecosystem Research Program

Background

NPRB developed the Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (IERP) to support innovative multi-disciplinary research to improve understanding of the complex mechanistic processes that influence the structure and function of marine ecosystems. IERP investigations include, for example, studies of the processes that affect productivity, organize biological communities, shape species interactions, and influence ecosystem services for communities and industry. IERP research is explicitly intended to identify and characterize important ecosystem attributes and processes to improve our ability to forecast and respond to environmental change.

The program promotes collaboration across disciplines (e.g., oceanography, fisheries, social science) and integration across ecosystem components (e.g., physics, chemistry, plankton, invertebrates, fishes, marine birds and mammals, humans). It also advances partnership and exchange among the wide range of entities and institutions responsible for implementing research and management in the North Pacific.

More information can be found in the 2018 NPRB Science Plan.

2018 Science Plan

Partnerships

NPRB is interested in conducting this research in cooperation with funding partners. Partnership provides NPRB the valuable insights and perspectives of other stakeholders (e.g., resource management agencies, industry, communities) and allows NPRB to effectively leverage resources to support innovative science.

Expressions of interest in partnership should be directed towards Danielle Dickson, Senior Program Manager/Chief Officer for Collaboration and Synthesis (Danielle.Dickson@nprb.org; +1-907-644-6716).

Sheet ice in the arctic at sunset

Three Phases of Integrated Ecosystem Research

Brendan Smith/NPRB

Assessment

During the assessment phase, existing knowledge is synthesized and research needs are identified.

Brendan Smith/NPRB

Research Implementation

During the research implementation phase, data are collected and integrated analyses are conducted. The research implementation phase is typically five years in duration and includes 2-3 years of field data collection.

Brendan Smith/NPRB

Synthesis

During the synthesis phase, data and ideas that resulted from the research implementation phase are further leveraged to provide an opportunity to address new research questions and conduct integrated analyses that will inform resource management.

Existing Integrated Ecosystem Research Programs

NPRB has funded three IERPs focused on the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Arctic and has committed to funding a fourth IERP that will be centered in, but not limited to, the Northern Bering Sea. The intent is to examine processes and dynamics in this region as influenced by adjacent systems. Past programs have been conducted in partnership with National Science Foundation, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, North Slope Borough/Shell Baseline Studies Program, and the Office of Naval Research Marine Mammals & Biology Program. Often, generous in-kind support represents a significant contribution to these programs (e.g., National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, University of Alaska Fairbanks, U.S. Geological Survey). NPRB also coordinates with other entities funding research in similar geographic areas and timeframes and cooperates with coordinating bodies at the national and international level (e.g., Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee, U.S. Arctic Research Commission, Pacific Arctic Group, North Pacific Marine Science Organization). NPRB is interested in exploring new partnerships in the framing, developing, and implementation of the new IERP.