Arctic Kelp Beds in the Beaufort Sea: Detection of Long-Term Change (BOEM)

Project Description

This project evaluates and monitors the benthic diversity associated with several boulder fields in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. Most of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea bottom is soft substrate and can, at least in the highly dynamic nearshore environments, harbor very low benthic diversity of macroorganisms. In isolated places, boulders and rocks deposited in areas protected by barrier islands build the habitat for a highly diverse community of kelps, other algae, sponges, hyrdoids, soft corals, seastars, and fishes, etc. Increased human influences from oil and gas exploration and extraction, and a continuous change in climatic forcing and the associated possibility of species range extensions and local extinctions raise the concern for these sensitive nearshore regions and require continued monitoring efforts. This project is part of the BOEM-funded project "ANIMIDA III: Boulder Patch and other Kelp Communities in the Development Area", with the University of Texas (Dr. Ken Dunton) being the lead institution.

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Project Funding

Amount: $53,000
Start Date: 2012-06-00 End Date: 2017-05-00

Research Team

Katrin Iken

Katrin Iken

Principal Investigator



  • Trophic interactions and food web analysis
  • Benthic diversity and communities
  • Stable isotope analysis
  • Phycology and invertebrate ecology
  • Shallow water ecology and deep-sea biology
  • Polar marine biology

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Brenda Konar

Co-Principal Investigator

Associate Dean of Research and Administration
Director of Institute of Marine Science
Director of Coastal Marine Institute


  • phycology
  • research scuba diving
  • biodiversity
  • monitoring programs
  • nearshore ecology
  • ecosystem change
  • benthic ecology
  • kelp forest ecology

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