Institute of Marine Science • (907) 474-6825
The Alaska Legislature established the Institute of Marine Science in 1960 as a center for research and graduate education in marine science and related fields. Since 1987 IMS has been part of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Faculty members conduct research and offer graduate education in biological, physical, chemical, geological and fisheries oceanography, marine biology and limnology. Graduate students receive financial assistance through grants from agencies, foundations, and industry. The university also funds teaching assistantships and research fellowships.
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. It is the home port of the R/V Alpha Helix, a 133-foot ice-strengthened research vessel operated by UAF 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 adjacent to the Seward Marine Center, offers outstanding research facilities.
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 effects of climate variability on marine ecosystems and fishery productivity. Other areas of research include nutrient dynamics and primary productivity, plankton, the biochemistry and molecular biology of algae and bacteria, intertidal and subtidal communities, marine and freshwater ecology, marine mammals, coastal ocean observing systems, contaminants in the subarctic and Arctic, paleooceanography and paleolimnology, and arctic coastal sediment dynamics.