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

Kirk Beckendorf, ARMADA Master Teacher
Donna Ashley, ARMADA Mentee

Print Resources
  • Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. 2004. Impacts of a Warming Arctic. Cambridge Univ. Press. 144 pages
    This fairly large technical book summarizes data from various research projects. These discuss implications for the arctic under possible scenarios of climate change.
  • Brewster K and Brower H. 2004. The Whales, They Give Themselves: Conversations With Harry Brower, Sr . University of Alaska and Fairbanks Press. 232 pages
    This "popular press" book is based on a series of interviews with Harry Bower. Mr. Bower was born and raised in Barrow. The book gives a local's view of life in Barrow.
  • Moore S.E and Laidre K.L. 2006 Trends in Sea Ice Cover Within Habitats Used by Bowhead Whales in the Western Arctic. Ecological Applications, 16(3): 932-944
    This technical paper uses historical data to review changes in the amount of sea ice during different seasons in the ocean regions which are frequented by bowhead whales.
  • Wohlforth C. 2005. The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change. North Point Press. 333 pages
    This "popular press" book gives an excellent overview of climate change research in the Arctic. Because Barrow is the center of much of that research the focus is very much about Barrow. A large part of the book follows some of villages whaling crews.
Web Resources
  • Carin Ashjian's Homepage, WHOI- Biology Dept.
    Carin was the PI of the Barrow field team and my chief contact person for my field research experience. She is a zooplankton specialist.
  • Barrow Arctic Science Consortium (BASC)
    The large portion of arctic research is center at Barrow, due to research facilities established by the U.S. Navy in the early 1900's. BASC is now the focus and organizing point of much of that research.
  • Barrow Ice Observatory. Geophysical Institute- University of Alaska- Fairbanks- Floating Ice Group
    A large amount of research is occurring about sea ice. This website gives much information and links to some of those programs including some research happening by public schools. Also at the site there is a view of the sea ice on the shores of Barrow via a live webcam and radar.
  • Bowhead Whales- Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
    This national park service website provides a basic overview of bowhead whale biology. The bowhead whales winter in the Bering Sea near the location of this National Preserve.
  • Inuit Bowhead Whale Hunt
    This website provides outsiders with photographs of the processing of a whale following a successful fall hunt. It provides the viewer with how much hunting is a community event and how modern and traditional methods mesh. It also makes it obvious the immense size of these animals.
  • Madin K. What Brings the Food that Brings the Whales? WHOI Oceanus§ionid=1000
    This website article gives readers a broad overview of the bowhead whale's food web and general ecology.
  • A Native Whalers View, Alaska OCS Region, Mineral Management Service
    This article provides a local's view of the life of whaling as seen through the Eskimo's view point, and as practiced as a traditional but modern hunt.
  • Petit C.W. 2004. Arctic thaw: Climate change is playing havoc with rare species and a proud way of life. US News and World Report
    This "popular press" news article provides an overview of some affects and predicted affects of a changing climate for entire arctic ecosystems and for individual arctic species. It also addresses the affects these changes will/ may have on the native peoples of the arctic.
  • Satellite Tracking of Western Arctic Bowhead Whales. Alaska Department of Fish and Game- Division of Wildlife Conservation
    In the past year two whales were tagged near Barrow, one in the spring and one in the fall or 2006. This website provides a map showing the migration of the two whales through the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as read by satellite.
  • Sherr Lab- Microbial Oceanography, College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University
    This is the home website of Ev and Barry Sherr. This couple from Oregon State University, are the microbial ecologist who were part of the field team in Barrow. They study the microbial organisms which are the basis of the marine food web.
  • Study of the Northern Alaskan Coastal System
    This website is the home site of the research study in which I participated. Bowhead whale ecology is only one portion of the study. This website has links to the remainder of the study.
Audio/Visual Resources
  • Alaska Native Education Program. Naninaaq Film Productions. North Slope Borough School District. History of the Inupiat 1961: The Duck-In
    This locally produced video shows a conflict between government and the native peoples of Barrow. Laws were passed establishing a hunting season which made it impossible for Arctic residents to hunt ducks (because the season was only open when ducks were not present in Barrow). Basically the entire town turned themselves in to be arrested, with their dead ducks. This video is a clear example of conflicts which can arise between two cultures.
  • Canadian Geographic Video. 2001. Immortals of the Arctic
    An excellent video, in the style of National Geographic. The video centers around Craig George, a 30 year resident and field biologist of Barrow. Craig is one of the researchers who I worked with during my research experience. The video gives an excellent view of bowhead whales, both visually as well as biologically.