IAB Research Project Description

Wading Shorebird Habitats in the Eastern Beaufort Sea: Food Resources and Sediment Characteristics of Deltaic Mudflats

Red-throated loon. Tim Bowman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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

This study will survey the microbial, microalgal meiofaunal* and macrofaunal assemblages of tidal deltas in regards to their respective sediment chemical characteristics at three estuarine river deltas in the eastern Beaufort Sea.

A greater understanding of benthic community structure and function is needed to better understand the importance of these systems as food resources for wading shorebirds on delta mudflats along the Beaufort coast. Information on the biological community will be surveyed along with a suite of environmental variables, with specific attention to the physical and chemical nature of the sediments.

Information obtained from this multidisciplinary research project will contribute to the development of mitigation measures and strategies to reduce potential impacts from post-lease exploration and development.

*Meiofauna are invertebrates that live on the bottom of a body of water (i.e., benthic) that can fit a mesh size of 1 millimeters and be retained on a mesh size of 42 micrometers and live in both marine and fresh water environments.

Project Funding

U.S. Dept. of the Interior
11 Jul 2011 – 31 Dec 2015
IAB Proposal #IAB 2011-095
UAF Grant #G7318
IAB Project #221

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