Smithsonian partners with council to search for marine invasive species

Citizen scientists, the Prince William Sound College, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and the council partner for invasive species event in Prince William Sound Linda McCann Smithsonian Environmental Research Center A crew of marine biologists ventured to Prince William Sound this September for the third Smithsonian-led “bioblitz” in Alaska, this time in Valdez. During a bioblitz, volunteer citizen scientists team up with professional scientists to search for invasive marine invertebrates. This year, the Smithsonian partnered with the council and Prince William Sound College for a week of scientific sampling. Three months before the bioblitz, council staff placed “settlement plates,” sheets of sanded PVC that the invertebrates attach to over time. During the bioblitz, volunteers and staff collected the plates, towed plankton nets, set crab traps, and went scuba diving, to look for various nonnative species. The study helped establish critical baseline data for future research, invasive species management, and conservation initiatives. Fortunately, no new non-native species were found during the bioblitz or the scientific sampling. … Continue reading

Science Night 2016

The council held our annual Science Night on Thursday, December 8. Presentations by scientists conducting research into areas of council interest are highlighted. This post has been updated with links to presentations. See below. “Lingering Oil in Prince William Sound: What we know, past and present” Presenter: Mandy Lindeberg, NOAA Auke Bay Laboratories “Mom Knows Best: Family Specific Patterns Among Killer Whales in Prince William Sound” Presenter: Dan Olsen, North Gulf Oceanic Society “Regional Weather Forecast Modeling” Presenter: Peter Olsson, Alaska Experimental Forecast Facility “Are you a ShoreZone user? A brief introduction to the Alaska ShoreZone Program” Presenter: Mandy Lindeberg, Auke Bay Laboratories “Zooplankton: Big Talk about Tiny Critters” Presenter: Caitlin McKinstry, Prince William Sound Science Center … Continue reading

Marine Invasive Species Bioblitz in Valdez

The council is collaborating with the Prince William Sound College and the Smithsonian for a two-day Marine Invasive Species Bioblitz on September 9 and 10 in Valdez. Learn about invasive species that threaten Prince William Sound and look for them in Valdez Harbor. Your help with this bioblitz will help establish critical baseline data for future research, invasive species management, and conservation initiatives. Dates: Pre-training workshop on Friday, September 9. Expedition to look for invasive species in Valdez harbor. More details at the event website: Marine Invasive Species Bioblitz in Valdez … Continue reading

Report shows air pollutants in Prince William Sound reduced by hundreds of tons per year

By AUSTIN LOVE Council Project Manager A new council study found that the low-sulfur fuel used in oil tankers has resulted in far less air pollution from crude oil tankers than just a few years ago. The study, by Starcrest Consulting Group, evaluated the air pollution from tankers that traveled through Prince William Sound during 2014. The study looked at three air pollutants: nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and sulfur oxides. These pollutants are produced by internal combustion engines and released in a vessel’s exhaust. Each of the pollutants can have negative impacts on human health, contributing to heart and lung disease. Researchers calculated the amount of each of these pollutants that would have been released if the tankers had been using fuel with a sulfur content of 2.7, 1.0, or 0.1 percent. The results were then compared to determine the amount reduced. … Continue reading