Physical Impacts on late Season Productivity in Changing Arctic
Fieldwork / Study
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The Arctic region is experiencing environmental changes that have important implications for the local Arctic ecosystem and the communities that depend on it for their subsistence. For example, a longer season of reduced ice cover suggests the possibility of more marine plant growth. Yet, the rate at which plants grow may be limited by the exhaustion of available nutrients during the longer growing season. Understanding is limited by an incomplete knowledge of how physical processes help replenish nutrients in the euphotic zone late in the season. Important processes span a range of scales, from small scale turbulent mixing to regional scale wind-driven upwelling. This project will pair novel physical and biological measurements to understand the biological response to changes in the physics. The work takes advantage of a scheduled cruise to reduce costs. The project will contribute to STEM workforce enhancement by supporting the development of an early career scientist. Public outreach will be accomplished through a science communication fellowship at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. During a cruise to the Chukchi Sea in late summer, instruments to measure fine-scale shear, velocity, and turbulence will be integrated onto a towed vehicle capable of high-resolution sampling over broad areas. The towed vehicle, which is funded through an existing project, allows for continuous in-situ water sampling throughout the water column and is equipped with a suite of comprehensive biological sensors and standard physical sensors. These additions will yield a unique set of simultaneous, comprehensive high-resolution physical and biological observations. The collective analysis of these observations will provide critical insight into biophysical interactions in the changing Arctic.