New OA Tribal Research Working Group gets off the ground

Over the past few months, a Tribal working group has formed within the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network to coordinate ocean acidification research and monitoring activities, as well as local community outreach activities, between Tribal organizations across Alaska. So far discussions have been on creating consistency in data collection, and expanding data collection to sites in the Arctic that are not currently adequately sampled.  This effort is about expanding Tribal capacity for research and monitoring, and having Tribes take the lead in some areas in Alaska which are under sampled by university and agency researchers, as well as partnering with those researchers to build local capacity.

 

Members and monitoring efforts: 

Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery (APSH) in Seward – Alutiiq Pride has been monitoring incoming seawater since 2013 to establish a baseline dataset to assess trends in carbonate chemistry. In 2015 the program expanded in capacity in order to be able to analyze discreet seawater samples, and developed a citizen science program for village monitoring. Collaboration with the eight villages in the Chugach region has expanded to include other partners to collect samples contributing to the regional baseline assessment for southcentral Alaska.

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska – the Sitka Tribe continuously monitors the carbonate chemistry of Sitka Harbor and is beginning a discrete sample collection program modeled after the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery’s existing program. The Sitka Tribe coordinates discrete sample collection and analysis with the Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research partnership’s existing weekly phytoplankton and shellfish biotoxin monitoring programs, including with the Hoonah Indian Association and other Southeast Alaska Tribal partners.

Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak (STK) – SKT is interested in how ocean acidification may change access to and availability of subsistence and commercial fisheries resources for Tribal members. Currently, STK continuously monitors salinity and ocean temperatures at several sites off the Kodiak Airport/Buskin River estuary, and collects butter clams monthly to better understand shellfish toxin testing methods and sampling site PSP levels.

The Native Village of Kotzebue – members are interested in collecting baseline ocean acidification levels in Kotzebue Sound in order to understand better how the documented changes to the acidity of the Arctic Ocean and Chukchi Sea are impacting the waters of the Sound.

Yakutat Tlingit Tribe – this tribe has recently joined to learn how they can do more to monitor ocean acidification conditions in their area.

Additional Tribal partners are welcome. If you are interested in joining the working group or learning more, email Davin Holen, dlholen@alaska.edu.

 

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