Benthic lower trophic level food webs in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas

Project Description

Warming trends in the Arctic and increasing loss of sea ice and its associated primary production are thought to have profound effects on the energy flow on Arctic shelves. In this project we establish a baseline of the benthic lower trophic food web structure across the poorly investigated Beaufort Sea shelf, against which future changes in food web structure can be assessed. We also measure the contribution of sea ice algae to the diet of several benthic invertebrate feeding guilds using fatty-acid specific stable isotope analysis. These measurements will allow predictions about how energy flow through various benthic feeding types might be affected by future changes in sea ice conditions.

Project Funding

Amount: $169,000
Start Date: 2012-08-00
End Date: 2016-01-00



Divine, L.M., K. Iken, and B.A. Bluhm. (2015). "Regional benthic food web structure on the Alaska Beaufort Sea shelf". Marine Ecology Progress Series. 531:15–32. doi:


Project posters

2013 AMSS poster image

2015 AMSS poster image

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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Bodil Bluhm

Bodil Bluhm

Co-Principal Investigator

Affiliate Faculty


  • Benthic and sea ice community ecology and biodiversity
  • Trophic interactions and population dynamics of polar marine invertebrates
  • Arctic ecosystem synthesis
  • Arctic shelf and deep sea habitats

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Alexandra Oliveira

Alexandra Oliveira

Co-Principal Investigator

Affiliate Faculty


  • Utilization of seafood byproducts
  • Analytical methods in food chemistry
  • Nutritional value of seafood products
  • Seafood HACCP
  • Fish oils and marine lipids
  • Seafood procesing and preservation
  • Development of Novel Seafood Products

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Research Staff

Lauren Divine
PhD Marine Biology, UAF

Tanja Schollmeier
PhD Marine Biology, UAF