LEO Network

  • The Role of Seafloor Water Temperatures on the Distribution of Fishes and Invertebrates in the Eastern Bering Sea (Lyle Britt)

Dear LEO Network Members and Participants,

We invite you to join us for the next Alaska LEO Network webinar TODAY Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 from 2:00-3:30pm. LEO webinars provide an exciting learning experience and connects local observers and organizations from across Alaska to discuss current and emerging environmental changes. 


1:45pm - Conference Line Opens

2:00pm - Welcome, Agenda Review

2:10pm - LEO Observation Review

2:30pm - Presentation             

The Role of Seafloor Water Temperatures on the Distribution of Fishes and Invertebrates in the Eastern Bering Sea.

Lyle Britt, Research Fishery Biologist with NOAA Fisheries-Alaska Fisheries Science

Description: The Bering Sea is a highly productive marine ecosystem that supports some of the largest and most diverse commercial and subsistence harvests of fish, invertebrates, and marine mammals in the world. This is, in part, because the Bering Sea is highly productive as the transition zone between the temperate waters of the North Pacific Ocean and the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea. This makes the Bering Sea an important area for monitoring long-term climate trends and their influences on oceanographic and biological processes throughout the region. Since 1982, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center of the NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service has conducted annual ecosystem surveys of the southeastern Bering Sea (defined as south of St. Matthew Island to the Alaska Peninsula and east into Bristol Bay) using a scientific bottom trawl. The survey tracks changes in the abundance and distribution of fishes and invertebrates associated with the seafloor in addition to collecting oceanographic observations, such as water temperature. In 2010 and 2017, survey sampling was extended north to include the Northern Bering Sea region (north of St. Matthew Island to the Bering Strait and east into Norton Sound) to aid in monitoring ecosystem-wide changes associated with the loss of sea-ice due to climate change. Additionally, a “rapid response” survey was also conducted in the Northern Bering Sea region due to changes in water temperature and fish distribution observed during survey operations in the southeastern Bering Sea in 2018.

This presentation will highlight recent changes observed in seafloor bottom temperatures, particularly an oceanographic feature in the southeastern Bering Sea called the “Cold Pool” and the associated changes in the distribution of Arctic and Sub-Arctic fishes and invertebrates. The Cold Pool is an area where the water temperature near the seafloor is < 2 ⁰C and extends down the middle portion of the Bering Sea shelf. The extent from one year to the next is relative to the overall ice-coverage in the Bering Sea during the previous winter. As will be evident from the data presented, the cold pool is an important factor shaping fish distributions throughout the Bering Sea since the Cold Pool serves as a barrier sub-Arctic fishes (e.g. walleye pollock, Pacific Cod, etc.) do not want to cross and as a refuge for Arctic species (e.g. Arctic cod, snow crab, etc.).

To access webinar and/or call-in

  • The webinar room will open at 1:45 on October 30th, 2018. Click "Join Webinar" at the top of this message to enter the webinar room
  • Participant Call-in Line: 1-800-832-0736
  • Access Code: *6298822#
  • Participant Self Mute/Un-Mute Code: *#

*All LEO webinars are recorded and archived on the LEO Website

Thank you LEO Network members, and Lyle Britt, for joining us in the October webinar.


The LEO Team at ANTHC

Photo Credit: Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard