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The SALMON Project...
is addressing needs within Alaska involving marine ecosystems, physical environments, and varied human components. It has three components corresponding to the three missions of the University of Alaska: service, research, and education.

 

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Service to the State of Alaska and the Coastal Public
The SALMON Project is implementing observations and models to make real-time forecasts and nowcasts of marine circulation and weather in the Northern Gulf of Alaska (including Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet). This will greatly improve the safety of marine and aviation operations, improve the effectiveness of search and rescue missions and hazardous spill response (e.g., oil-spills), and insure the safety of habitants of coastal Alaska from natural hazardous such as tsunamis.

In a December 2000 workshop, fishermen, shipping (including oil) companies, large and small tour boat operators, recreational boaters, the Coast Guard, and marine and atmospheric scientists discussed the need and possibility of forecasting weather and marine circulation in Prince William Sound and adjacent waters. Marine and aviation safety and the ability to predict transport in the case of hazardous material spills were the top priorities in developing such a capability. As the University of Alaska already has considerable expertise in atmospheric and marine sciences - modeling and observing capabilities - UA has taken a leading role in developing this system. Such regional operational centers are also being developed in other coastal communities in the lower 48.

Research for Understanding Changes in Exploitable Living Resources
Many Alaskans depend on natural living resources for their livelihood and subsistence. However, we have seen great variability in these resources due to harvesting pressure, toxic waste spills, and natural variability. The SALMON Project is assessing the role of the variability in climatic forcing on the marine and near shore ecosystems (see our Mesoscale study in the GLOBEC Region of the Gulf of Alaska). This initiative would provide an important service to the state and nation, but the potential to model the marine circulation and atmospheric conditions in the marine environment and to implement an observing network would provide unprecedented research opportunities for studying and predicting the variability of the terrestrial and marine ecosystems. By cooperating with user groups and other national and state programs (NSF/GLOBEC, National Ocean Partnership Program, NASA , EVOS/GEM, NPRB) we can make significant progress in understanding the causes and consequences of variability in fisheries, marine bird and mammal populations, and forest productivity.

Education and Outreach in Oceanography
The basic scientific disciplines in oceanography (physical, biological, chemical, and geologic/geophysical) have generally not been promoted in schools or the to the general public to the extent that marine biology and marine fisheries have been. The SALMON Project has developed curricula and programs for K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and continuing science education in coastal and interior communities with special emphasis on Native Alaskans. These curricula bring the real-time atmospheric and marine observiations into classroom environments and at venues like the University of Alaska Museum and the Alaska SeaLife Center.



The University of Alaska Fairbanks

School of Fisheries and
Ocean Sciences
245 O'Neill Buildling
Fairbanks, AK
99775-7220