The Gulf Watch Alaska (GWA) program has wrapped up a robust summer sampling season from Middleton Island, Prince William Sound, Kenai Fjords, Kachemak Bay, and the Katmai coast–with some of our efforts continuing into fall and winter. In early October we held our annual Principal Investigators meeting in Homer, Alaska, with approximately 40 attendendees. This meeting provides important facetime between investigators for discussions on their recent findings and setting goals for the next year. Yes, it was a highly productive gathering of science nerds.
A topic that dominated investigator discussions at the annual meeting was the Pacific marine heatwave (The Blob) which began in 2014, persisted through 2016, had a temporary hiatus in 2017, and returned in late 2018 through 2019. The graph below is from a recent article by NOAA Fisheries on the status of the marine heatwave. This marine heat wave is the theme for the GWA FY2020 science synthesis report to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (EVOSTC).
A brief summary of our program’s activities and accomplishments is available in this latest issue.