Gulf of Alaska

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The tiny but mighty phytoplankton live at the base of the food chain in the Gulf of Alaska. They're a food source for small crustaceans, which in turn feed small fish, then bigger fish, then seabirds and marine mammals. 

Each spring and summer, a large concentration of phytoplankton blooms in the gulf. This year, researchers recorded the biggest bloom they’ve ever seen.

Rob Suryan

When a heat wave swept through the northeast Pacific ocean between 2014 and 2016, it changed the marine makeup of the Gulf of Alaska. The warm water decimated some commercial fish populations.

Some species bounced back right away. But a recent study from NOAA finds others are rebounding more slowly.

National Marine Fisheries Service / National Marine Fisheries Service

Temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska are on the upswing again, which could be bad news for fish and other marine animals.

Last summer saw scorching temperatures across Alaska, including breaking the 90-degree mark on the Fourth of July in Southcentral. The ocean hangs onto abnormal temperatures for some time, leading to sea surface temperature anomalies and can have negative impacts on fish populations.