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Alaskan Coastal System - Environmental Variability, Bowhead Whale Distributions and Iñupiat Subsistence Whaling

Jeff Manker, ARMADA Master Teacher

Print Resources
  • Boeri, David. 1983. People of the Ice Whale: Eskimos, white men and the whale. New York, NY: Dutton. 285 p.
    Boeri is a journalist who is given the opportunity to witness a Bowhead whale hunt in Alaska soon after a moratorium is placed on native hunting. He goes with the expectation of seeing a respectful, skillful hunt that fully utilizes every part of the precious whale and instead sees a botched hunt and a sloppy and careless butchery job in the Saint Lawrence Islands. He moves on to Barrow and becomes part of a crew where he sees a different story and learns why there is such a big difference between the two communities. He ends up with a respectful portrait of a people struggling with tradition and modernity.
  • Wohlforth, Charles P. 2004. The Whale and the Supercomputer: on the Northern front of climate change. New York: North Point Press. 322p.
    Wohlforth travels to Alaska to investigate the state of climate change science. Along the way he links up with various studies and scientists looking at the problem through different lenses. He pays particular attention to the contrast between scientific studies and the native Inupiat observations which use different methods but reach similar conclusions.
  • Brower, Charles D. 1942. Fifty Years Below Zero: a lifetime of adventure in the far north. New York: Dodd, Mead. 310 p.
    He came to be known as the "King of the Arctic" after his fifty years residence in Point Barrow, Alaska. Brower arrived in the far north in 1883 at the age of 19 on a whaling boat and never left. He became a community leader and advocate for the Inupiat people to the outside world. This book details Brower's life amidst the Inupiat people and the changes that occur during the first half century of the 1900's in Point Barrow and the Arctic.
  • Glick, Daniel. 2005. Degrees of Change, Nature Conservancy Magazine Vol.55 No. 3. Arlington, VA. Pages 40 - 50.
    This article documents the changes to traditional Inupiat culture imposed by climate change. Part of the article predicts the speed and severity of future change.
  • Watson, Robert T., Albritton, Daniel L., et al. Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report. Summary for Lawmakers. An Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2001.
    This report summarizes the scientific evidence for a human influence in climate change and provides lawmakers a reliable source on which to draw confidence in making policy decisions.
Web Resources
  • Bowhead Whales. National Marine Mammal Laboratory.
    A gateway site for basic information. This site provides links to more in-depth information and additional sources on historic and current status, taxonomy and natural history.
  • SNACS: Study of the Northern Alaskan Coastal System. Arctic Research Consortium and the National Science Foundation.
    This site gathers together the different projects working on the changes occurring along the northern coast of Alaska. Projects look at Bowhead Whales, Carbon Interconnections, Organic Carbon and Eroding Coastlines, Halomethane Gas Excahange, Synthesis and Scaling and Deposition and fate of Mercury.
  • Western Arctic Shelf Basin Interactions. Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation
    This site brings together the research and findings of the Shelf Basin Interactions project. The fundamental goal of the Shelf-Basin Interactions (SBI) program is to understand the physical and biogeochemical processes that link the arctic shelves, slopes, and deep basins within the context of global change. These processes strongly influence the biology, chemistry, and physics of the Arctic Ocean and its associated ecosystems. The Arctic marine system is linked to the global ocean and atmosphere by both physical and biogeochemical mechanisms. Understanding of these processes is essential for predicting, anticipating and ameliorating the impacts of climate change.
  • Carin Ashjian. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    This site details the work Carin Ashjian a research scientist at WHOI who has been the Principal Investigator on several Arctic expeditions to find the links between biological activity (especially plankton) and climate change.
  • Center for Integrated Marine Technologies: Wind to Whales Program. University of California, Santa Cruz
    This site details how technology has been brought to bear to better understand the upwelling in Monterey Bay and its effects plankton feeding whales and other top predators.
  • Croll-Tershy Lab. University of California, Santa Cruz
    This site describes the methodology and motivation for the Wind to Whales program in Monterey Bay.
  • From Wind to Whales: Trophic Links in a Coastal Upwelling System. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
    This abstract describes how the study looks at the combination of bathymetric features, weather patterns, currents and primary production work in concert to produce beneficial feeding areas for large plankton-feeding whales.
  • Inupiat Heritage Center National Affiliated Area. National Park Foundation
    This site describes the cultural exhibits in the Heritage center in Barrow, Alaska.
  • Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling. International Whaling Commission.
    This site offers background information on aboriginal subsistence whaling, catches since 1985 and catch limits. Links lead you to many related subjects and agencies.