2003-2004 UAF Catalog

Research Institutes and Centers

Marine Science, Institute of

The Institute of Marine Science (IMS) 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. Since 1987 IMS has been part of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. IMS faculty conduct research and offer graduate education in the fields of biological, physical, chemical, geological and fisheries oceanography, marine biology, and limnology. Financial assistance for graduate students is provided through grants from agencies, foundations and industry. Teaching assistantships and research fellowships for graduate students, funded by the University of Alaska, are also available.

Research facilities include modern laboratories on the Fairbanks campus, a major coastal facility in 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. The Seward Marine 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 and the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas. The Alaska SeaLife Center, a private, state-of-the-art mammal and bird research and exhibition facility that lies adjacent to the Seward Marine Center, offers outstanding research facilities.

Current research projects include field and modeling studies of the Arctic Ocean and the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas. An interdisciplinary study in the northern Gulf of Alaska, conducted under the auspices of the U.S. GLOBEC program, seeks to understand the effect of climate variability on marine ecosystems and fishery productivity. Other specific areas of research emphasis include nutrient dynamics and primary productivity, plankton, the biochemistry and molecular biology of algae and bacteria, intertidal and subtidal communities, marine and freshwater ecology (often using stable isotopic techniques), marine mammals, coastal ocean observing systems, contaminants in the subarctic and Arctic, paleooceanography and paleolimnology, and arctic coastal sediment dynamics.