The Institute of Marine Science was established in 1960 by an act of the Alaska State Legislature to conduct research and provide graduate education in marine science and all related fields. In addition to research and training in oceanography, there has been emphasis on marine biology, fishery oceanography and limnology. Financial assistance for graduate students is provided through grants from agencies, foundations and industry as well as from the state of Alaska through the University of Alaska appropriation. It is a unit of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.
Current research projects include an ecosystem study on Prince William Sound, field and modeling studies of the Arctic Ocean, Chukchi Sea; and Bering Sea, environmental studies at the Trans Alaska oil pipeline terminus at Valdez, and studies related to the effects of and recovery from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. A new comprehensive oceanographic project under the United States GLOBEC program has just started in the northern Gulf of Alaska. Other specific areas of emphasis are nutrient cycling in marine and freshwater environment, stable isotope studies in marine and freshwater systems, paleoceanographic studies and marine mammal studies.
Research facilities include modern advanced laboratories on the Fairbanks campus, a major coastal facility at Seward (the Seward Marine Center) and a marine biology field station on Kachemak Bay (the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory). The Seward Marine Center has a high-quality running seawater system and excellent biological and chemical laboratories. A fourplex building houses faculty and students. The center is the home port of the R/V Alpha Helix, a 133-foot ice-strengthened research vessel operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks for the National Science Foundation. The Alpha Helix routinely operates in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering and Chukchi seas, and in Aleutian waters.
The Alaska SeaLife Center, a new private state-of-the art mammal and bird research and exhibition facility, opened in 1998. This facility, which lies adjacent to the Seward Marine Center, offers outstanding research capability.
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Last modified March 22, 2001 by University Relations Web Developer.