IAB Research Project Description

BSIERP Patch Dynamics Study UAF Seabirds

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Sasha Kitaysky/IAB assistant professor

Any and all uses of these images must include photographer credit.

Patches are formally defined as significant spatial variations in oceanic biomass, but are more broadly recognized to reflect significant spatial variation in any feature of prey that is important for exploitation of the resource by the predator. Prey patches may occur at scales of less than 1 m to several kilometers with persistence times of minutes to months. They are also known to vary in species composition, biomass, energy content of prey, and distribution (size of patch, density within a patch, density of patches, and distance from colony/rookery). However, it is not yet known how apex predators respond to variability in prey patches (patch dynamics) and the consequence it has on population dynamics of top-predators in the Bering Sea.

Such fundamental information is needed to predict how the Bering Sea ecosystem will respond to global warming. The goal of our study is to undertake a coordinated fine-scale study of birds and mammals, and their forage base to determine the consequences of spatial patterns (patches) on predator-prey dynamics. We will thereby establish mechanisms that control the abundance and distributions of top predators in the Bering Sea, and provide models with data to predict how and why these species respond to changes in the physical and biological environment.

Project Funding

North Pacific Research Board
$27,849.00
1 Oct 2009 – 30 Sep 2010
IAB Proposal #08-063
UAF Grant #G6113
IAB Project #123


North Pacific Research Board
$187,667.00
1 Oct 2007 – 30 Sep 2008
IAB Proposal #08-063
UAF Grant #G4732
IAB Project #123


North Pacific Research Board
$146,894.00
1 Oct 2008 – 30 Sep 2009
IAB Proposal #08-063
UAF Grant #G4732
IAB Project #123


Media Contact

Marie Thoms
Communications/Web Manager
Institute of Arctic Biology
302A Irving I
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
email: methoms@alaska.edu
phone: 907.474.7412
UAF-IAB-News-Info@alaska.edu