University of Alaska Fairbanks

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.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Alaskans pretty well know at this point that king salmon are in trouble. Biologists been looking into why for about a decade now, without a single smoking gun. And that seems to the way it’s going to be—no single answer.

A group of researchers led through the University of Alaska published a study this week probing a little more into the freshwater part of the lives of king salmon, also known as chinook. They focused on fifteen streams in the Cook Inlet basin, from the Chulitna in the north to the Anchor River in the south, to find some answers about how what happens in the freshwater affects king salmon survival. And, like other studies have shown, it’s complicated.

Elizabeth Earl

Alaska’s summer is short, but one of the ways it softens the farewell each fall is through a parting gift of delicious berries. In the late summer and early fall, Kenai Peninsula residents regularly flock to the wild lands for salmonberries, cranberries, blueberries, and crowberries and more.

Like everything, berry plants are being affected by the changes in the environment as climate change increases the temperature, lengthens the summer and, in many cases, dries it out. But according to University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers, the effect isn’t exactly clear-cut, nor directly in line with what you’d expect.

Andy Seitz, University of Alaska Fairbanks

 

Researchers now have a better idea of what’s eating king salmon in the open ocean. A new study from the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Science found kings filling the bellies of salmon sharks, but that wasn’t the information they were after.