Bering Sea Predators

What Are They Doing?

The research team studied the impacts of predators on the main benthic prey species in the Northern Bering Sea. Main predators of benthic organisms include spectacled eiders, groundfish, snow crabs, sea stars, and gastropods. As ice cover declines and groundwater temperatures increase in the Bering Sea, the ranges of mobile benthic predators such as crabs and groundfish may increase and thus affect food availability for other predators such as the spectacled eider. The team used trawls, corers and nets to extract sediment and water samples from the sea floor in order to inventory the benthic population and document any changes occurring within the marine food web.

Where Are They?

The team traveled on the USCGC Healy in the Bering Sea, which lies to the west of Alaska and the east of Russia. The Healy sampled the biologically diverse waters between St. Lawrence Island and St. Matthew Island with a secondary study area located between St. Lawrence Island and Little Diomede Island in the Bering Strait.

Expedition Map


Wow! What a week! I'm here at the Westmark Hotel, in Fairbanks, Alaska are in the middle of our 2010 Orientation and ShareFair.  It's been very exciting to meet all the new teachers and see how they are adjusting to the fact that they will soon be heading out to the Polar Regions.  It's been a very exciting year for us as we received 4 years of funding from the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs to continue PolarTREC for another 4 years!  We look forward to continuing offering research experiences for teachers with polar researchers both in the Arctic and...
Most people’s vision of "scientists” is men in white lab coats. On the Healy, the only people wearing white coats are the "seal team”—a group of four men and one woman from the National Marine Mammals Laboratory, based in Seattle, Washington. They are a very fun group to be around but then again, I’m biased as one of my first "off-ramps” in life was working with Pacific Walrus. So, anyone that works with Pinnipeds (seals and walrus) must be fun. We had a special treat yesterday and got to watch the seal team spring into action and head out to sea to catch seals. Here are the members of the...
Science aboard the Healy is not just random. With Chief Scientist, Jackie Grebmeier, the research plan takes shape and becomes a coordinated effort so that everyone aboard the ship can conduct his or her research. A well-planned effort is needed since the ship is expensive to operate (I heard about $40/minute…yes, a minute!) Chief Scientist, Jackie Grebmeier For this particular cruise, most of the research projects are conducted at stations – or specific pre-determined points in the Bering Sea. The ship has a chart of all the stations (over 100) and they work their way from one station...
Sometime late Friday afternoon, a man in an orange suit just "suddenly” appeared at the Gambell lodge.  Vince, the helicopter manager for the Healy, was there to pick several of us from Gambell and whisk us away to the Healy – someplace offshore about 50 miles south of the community.  I was going with three other people: Kathy Turco (Alaska’s Spirit Speaks: Sound & Science), Art Howard (a videographer with Polar-Palooza), and Bobby Ungwiluk (a senior at John Apangalook School).  We went with Vince to the airport and waited for our ride.  The helicopter had already made one flight from...
Whenever I travel, I like to learn as much as I can about a place before I go. This is so I don’t spend so much time trying to learn the basics and can really learn more about the "place”.  Consequently, our bookshelf at home is filled with various guide books, reference books, and maps about places that I have traveled to and/or places that I dream about going too J  When I learned that I was going to return to Gambell, I dug out my old map of St. Lawrence Island and did a Google search on the community.  All this was an effort to re-acquaint myself with Gambell.  As we were flying in from...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

24 May 2007 to 30 May 2007
Location: Bering Sea
Project Funded Title: Climate-Driven Change in Impacts of Benthic Predators in the Northern Bering Sea

Meet the Team

Janet Warburton's picture
Fairbanks, AK
United States

Janet Warburton is a Project Manager for the PolarTREC program at the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS). Ms. Warburton has managed the education programs at ARCUS since 2000 and in that time has helped send dozens of teachers on research expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Ms. Warburton has lived and worked across the state of Alaska and now lives outside of Fairbanks with her young family and a menagerie of animals. Any spare time she has is devoted to sleeping, playing with her children, or playing in the great outdoors.

Jacqueline Grebmeier's picture
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences
Solomons, MD
United States

Jacqueline Grebmeier is currently a research professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (Chesapeake Biological Laboratory). Over the last 25 years, her arctic field research program has focused on such topics as understanding biological productivity in arctic waters and sediments, and documenting longer-term trends in ecosystem health of arctic continental shelves, including studying the importance of bottom dwelling organisms to higher levels of the arctic food web, such as walrus, gray whale, and diving sea ducks. Dr. Grebmeier has served on numerous advisory committees and research boards, and has coordinated and participated in numerous international research projects. Dr. Grebmeier has been involved with numerous teacher experience and education programs in the Arctic, including hosting TREC teachers in 2004, 2006 and PolarTREC in 2007.