Bering Ecosystem Study

What Are They Doing?

A diverse research team aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGS) Healy conducted sampling along a series of transects over the eastern Bering Sea. Research on the ship was multidisciplinary, as part of the Bering Ecosystem Study, with scientists using a variety of techniques to measure the productivity of the Bering Sea ecosystem. Research teams measured the temperature, salinity and nutrient content of the sea water, changes in sea ice cover, and the concentration of nutrients used and released by phytoplankton. They also conducted surveys of zooplankton, fish, seabirds, and marine mammals such as walruses and seals, to assess the health of these populations. These measurements helped give scientists an indication of the status of the Bering Sea ecosystem and any potential changes occurring in the marine environment that might change the continued use of its resources, and the economic, social and cultural sustainability of the people who depend on it. Click here to go to the Bering Sea Ice Expedition webpage.

Where Are They?

The team traveled on the USCGC Healy in the Bering Sea. The Bering Sea lies to the west of Alaska and to the east of Russia. The team departed from and returned to the port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, the most productive fishing port in the United States.

Expedition Map


Healy and Me
It's one small ocean out there. I am determined to keep on learning more and more about it. Exactly one week ago, I was on a one day mission on the Robert C. Seamans, a tall ship whose mission is to teach sailing and science. CMORE-Hawaii (The Center for Microbial Oceanography Research and Education) hosted a free sail for Grades 6-12 teachers on this wonderful ship on Saturday May 29. As I was sailing out of Honolulu harbor, what did I spy? From the Arctic to Hawaii it was so good to see her again! Here is the Healy and me in Honolulu Harbor on May 29.
Last night was the weekly Science Club meeting. I have a loyal group of about 10 students who are willing to give up sitting in front of a TV, or listening to their music player to spend two hours learning more about science. I don't think I'd want too many more, their questions are so numerous that I have a steady buzz in my ears when we are done. So it was time to get the learning adventure activity and displays planned and set. here it is two weeks into our second quarter of school, we need to get out to the elementary schools and TEACH! So I turned over what I had been working on over...
Being a subsistance people, the Inupiat rely on the animals from their environment for food. I don't want to mislead the general public to think that skin boats and ivory harpoons are used to hunt whales in the Arctic. Whaling and other subsistance hunting have incorporated modern technology. There are snowmobiles that drag the boats from village to the ocean, and those boats can be aluminum or skin.  The harpoons aimed at the whales contain explosive tips that cause great damage, death being the ultimate goal. Afterall, the Inupiat eat these animals. It is a source of food for them. However...
The experience of a lifetime is one of the first things I tell anyone about my adventure in the Arctic. My life has been changing for over a year. I moved from North Carolina and left the formal education classroom to pursue a career as an informal educator at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio. Still if that wasn’t enough, I also got engaged and was planning for a July wedding. So change is good and I have had non-stop change since I left the classroom. It was by coincidence that I even thought to go for the PolarTREC program and it was amazing to have the support of an...
I have been a teacher for a long time, long enough to know some teaching strategies that work. When you have to teach others about what you know, you truly learn. So my science club kids are learning all about the Bering Sea and the research done onboard the Healy during the Spring of 2007. They are learning through activities that I have created for younger students. My science club kids are my cognitive guinea pigs. We meet every Tuesday for two hours after school, crazy Mrs. Prevenas and her eclectic tribe of science quiznos. As we do the lessons, I ask them what they think about it. Are...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

7 April 2007 to 14 May 2007
Location: Bering Sea
Project Funded Title: BEST: Bering Ecosystem Study aboard the USCGC Healy in the Bering Sea

Meet the Team

Maggie Prevenas's picture
Kalama Intermediate School
Makawao, HI
United States

Maggie Prevenas teaches seventh grade science at Kalama Intermediate School on the island of Maui, Hawaii. She has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and has taught science and computer technology in Wisconsin, Oregon, and Hawaii. A recent National Board Certified teacher, Ms. Prevenas traveled to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2005 and continues to develop creative educational materials related to her experience. Ms. Prevenas was participating in the BEST cruise as a joint PolarTREC and NOAA Teacher at Sea teacher.

Emily Davenport's picture
Western Washington University

Emily Davenport, a first year graduate student in the Environmental Science Department at Western Washington University, also participated in the research cruise to conduct her thesis research on benthic communities, nutrient cycling, and climate change. At the time, she was a participant in a program funded by the National Science Foundation that places graduate students around the country in middle school science classrooms to improve science education. Ms. Davenport worked with sixth grade students at Nooksack Valley Middle School in Everson, WA and utilized the PolarTREC Virtual Base Camp to interact with students while on the cruise.

Robyn Sweet's picture
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
Dayton, OH
United States

Robyn Sweet is the Earth and Life Sciences Coordinator at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Marine Biology with a Chemistry minor. Ms. Staup taught high school science for seven years in Charlotte, North Carolina and coached teams for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competition before moving to Ohio. She has been a participant and leader in several science education activities and appreciated the opportunity to share her PolarTREC experience with others.

Ray Sambrotto's picture
Columbia University
Palisades, NY
United States

Raymond Sambrotto is the chief scientist on this Bering Sea Ecosystem Study cruise and studies marine plankton ecology and global nutrient cycles. Dr. Sambrotto has worked from small boats in the Caribbean to major oceanographic programs in the Arabian Sea. He has worked extensively at both poles using icebreakers and submarines to traverse these difficult environments. An important part of Dr. Sambrotto’s research is determining how marine populations will fare under changed climate conditions and how these changes will affect the larger global environment.