Institute of Marine Science

IMS fields of research:

  • Physical, Chemical, Biological, Geological, and Fisheries Oceanography
  • Marine Biology fields of Marine Mammals, Invertebrates, Kelp Forest Ecology, and Seabirds


Major research areas:

  • ecosystem structure and dynamics
  • effects of climate change
  • oceanographic and ecosystem factors affecting Alaskan fisheries, the largest state fishery in the U.S., annually valued at over $5B and supporting over 78,000 Alaskan jobs
  • applied research problems facing the U.S. Arctic offshore oil and gas industry, and the state and federal regulators who oversee these activities


Geographic: IMS research programs are focused on the arctic and Pacific subarctic waters. IMS also conducts research in Antarctica, the Southern Ocean, Greenland, and elsewhere in more temperate regions.

Arctic and subarctic focus: IMS has the greatest combined expertise of any research group regarding knowledge of the regional oceanography of the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea. Over the past few decades IMS has maintained ongoing oceanographic field research activities in all four of the marginal seas surrounding Alaska. The Institute’s experience is unrivaled in successfully carrying out year-round oceanographic observation programs in the western Arctic, particularly on shallow seasonally ice-covered continental shelves.

Ocean observing, time series: IMS maintains unique long-term climate and ecosystem monitoring stations in the North Pacific and the western Arctic. These include an oceanographic time series since 1970 at hydrographic station GAK1 near Seward, which is the longest-running temperature-salinity-depth time series in the coastal Gulf of Alaska. The Seward Line is a long-term observation program operating since 1998, conducting transects from Resurrection Bay to the continental slope in the Gulf of Alaska. IMS also maintains the only long-term mooring in the Chukchi Sea for multi-disciplinary and multi-trophic level ecosystem monitoring. These datasets represent rich resources for students and researchers.


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