Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ecology of Forage Fish in the Arctic Nearshore (EFFAN)

On our way to one of our Chukchi sites we came upon this complete Grey Whale skeleton. Here you see Sam standing next to it for size reference.

 We learned another valuable lesson this summer... a species of amphipod we catch seems to LOVE eating saffron cod. We had them in the same container for 5 minutes and they had eaten most of the cod. We had to do a second seine haul to get new samples... we now keep them separated!

While we were seining some passing children became interested and offered to help. Here you see them picking fish out of the net with us.

Here they are proudly displaying their catch of samples!

 Ice is pretty... enough said.

The USV Nanuq doing bathymetry surveys in the Lagoon after a strong current through the Eluitkak Pass pushed a lot of sea ice into it. Perhaps this will motivate us to finally put in a obstacle avoidance system on the boat!

A panorama of our Elson Plover Point site with the beach seine gear setup on the right, the USV nanuq control center on the left, and the USV Nanuq cruising in the middle.

I never thought I would get to be so close to a polar bear... unfortunately this one was dead and washed onto the beach and discover by a local native Alaskan. We offered him a helping hand to uncover it so he could harvest some crafting materials.

Here it is uncovered, just a little girl, maybe a year old. It had puncture wounds on its head that make it look like it got into a fight with another bear.

Here you can see that the lower jaw was split in half during the supposed fight. It was probably a much larger bear, this one stood no chance!

We are starting a new NSB ARF tradition. This bear is ARFIE the Bear, the NSB ARFs mascot. He is a Pizzly (Polar Bear/Grizzly hybrid). The idea is to have all the researchers that visit the ARF take him into the field to take pictures doing work with them, and post the picture on the ARFIE Wall. We'll see if it catches on!

Today we had a tinsy SNAFU. While preparing to move a ADCP mooring offshore we turned our back on our zodiac for just a moment. When we turned around again it had drifted off of the beach and caught the wind, taking off like a balloon. It drifted almost 8 miles before we caught up to it with another boat! These things happen to the best of us... we lost a day of sampling but we will catch up!

Stay tuned for another update in about a week!


  1. Ahh, you guys have the best field work ever. I'm so jealous.