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Alaska Ecosystems Program

Marine Science in Alaska Symposium

The Alaska Marine Science Symposium was held 21-24 January 2007 in Anchorage, Alaska. Vladimir Burkanov, Brian Fadely, Lowell Fritz, Tom Gelatt, Michelle Lander, Mary-Anne Lea, and Rolf Ream from the Alaska Ecosystems Program gave oral and poster presentations on the distribution, abundance, and foraging ecology of northern fur seals and Steller sea lions.

The symposium was sponsored by 21 different organizations, agencies, and universities including the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) and the North Pacific Research Board. The symposium focused on a variety of topics pertaining to the climate, oceanography, and animals of the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska.

At the symposium, Fadely convened a formal Steller sea lion research coordination meeting with all research permit holders to discuss the coordination, collaboration, and dissemination of information among Steller sea lion researchers. The meeting also included a briefing from NMFS officials regarding permit issues relative to the time line of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Steller sea lion and northern fur seal research. The Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) consists of a programmatic analysis of current and future research projects that are funded and permitted through the federal government, and it evaluates the potential impacts of research on both species. This DPEIS was available for public comment in the Federal Register from 16 February to 2 April 2007, and one of three public hearings was held at the AFSC on 15 March. Additional information regarding the process and the progress of the DPEIS is available on the web at

By Michelle Lander

  juvenile northern fur seal
Juvenile northern fur seal.
Photo by Tonya Zeppelin.

Northern Fur Seal Research Update

In the October-December 2006 issue of the AFSC Quarterly Report, we reported on the winter migration routes of young northern fur seals tagged with satellite transmitters. As of this writing, tags on 20 of the 30 juveniles and 27 of the 47 pups are still transmitting.

Similar to previous results, all of the juveniles (with the exception of one individual) are still south of the Aleutian Islands chain, and the pups remain dispersed throughout the North Pacific and Bering Sea.

By Michelle Lander



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