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Ecosystem Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (EcoFOCI)

Improving understanding of factors affecting the health and populations of ecologically and commercially important fish and other species, and how ecosystems respond to change.

The unparalleled warming, reduced ice spread, and early sea ice retreat occurring in the Arctic has enormous implications for surrounding ecosystems and Arctic biotic interactions. This project aims to improve understanding of factors affecting the health and populations of ecologically and commercially important fish and other species, and how ecosystems respond to change.

The Ecosystem Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (EcoFOCI) project collects time series data of temperature, salinity, chlorophyll fluorescence, oxygen, light and currents at nine mooring sites, along with hydrographic surveys and plankton sampling in the Chukchi Sea and the Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) Regions 1-5. This project involves Arctic cruise expeditions, which examine physical, chemical (nutrients and oxygen) and biological (chlorophyll, ichthyo-, and zooplankton, and benthic fish and invertebrates) distributions in the northern Bering Sea and the Chukchi Sea. In addition to providing annual time series of physical, chemical and biological variables, the mooring data collected provide estimates of transport of Pacific water and heat exiting the Chukchi shelf through Barrow Canyon.

Phyllis Stabeno

Principal Investigator

Project Institution: Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory 

Partnerships: AFSC, Marine Mammal Laboratory, ITAE, PMEL Genetics and Genomics Group, PMEL Nutrients Program, WHOI, DBO

Award Period: 01 October 2021 – 30 September 2022

Vessels Information: R/V Sikuliaq & USCGC Healy

Data Access

EcoFOCI Main Data Page

EcoFOCI data available through PMEL ERDDAP data server:

EcoFOCI Prawler data, 2016-2019 subset

EcoFOCI Bering Sea, 2010-2017

EcoFOCI Chukchi Sea profile data, 2010-2012

EcoFOCI Early Arctic Data, 1986-1991

EcoFOCI profile data from cruise DY1104

EcoFOCI profile data from cruise DY1408

EcoFOCI profile data from cruise DY1104

EcoFOCI profile data from cruise MF0904L2

EcoFOCI Shelikof Line 8 Data, 1981-open

Featured Publication

Climate-driven shifts in pelagic fish distributions in a rapidly changing Pacific Arctic

April 2023

Robert M. Levine, Alex De Robertis, Daniel Grünbaum, Sharon Wildes, Edward V. Farley, Phyllis J. Stabeno, Christopher D. Wilson

Baseline surveys of offshore pelagic fishes in the eastern Chukchi Sea in 2012 and 2013 found that age-0 Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) dominated the pelagic fish community in summer, with relatively few adults present in the region. Since this time, drastic changes in the ocean-atmosphere-ice feedback loop have led to continued warming, further reducing ice cover, and increased northward transport has led to an increase in Pacific-origin waters on the Chukchi shelf in summer. The substantial increase in abundance of age-0 pollock in recent years suggests that environmental conditions now allow this species to extend its northern range into the southern and central Chukchi Sea, at least on a seasonal basis. The changes in abundance and species composition of pelagic fishes in the 2012–2019 time series are tightly coupled to recent changes in sea ice, temperature, and the increasing transport of Bering Sea waters through Bering Strait into the Chukchi Sea.

Image credit: NOAA Office of Response & Restoration

Publications & References

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Crance, J. L., C. L. Berchok, B. M. Kimber, J. M. Harlacher, E. K. Braen, and M. C. Ferguson, 2022. Year-round distribution of bearded seals, Erignathus barbatus, throughout the Alaskan Chukchi and northern Bering Sea. Deep Sea Res. II: 206:105215.
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Danielson, S.L., J.M. Grebmeier, K. Iken, C. Berchok, L. Britt, K.H. Dunton, L. Eisner, E.V. Farley, A. Fujiwara, D.D.W. Hauser, M. Itoh, T. Kikuchi, S. Kotwicki, K.J. Kuletz, C.W. Mordy, S. Nishino, C. Peralta-Ferriz, R.S. Pickart, P.J. Stabeno, K.M. Stafford, A.V. Whiting, and R. Woodgate, 2022: Monitoring Alaskan Arctic shelf ecosystems through collaborative observation networks. Oceanography, 35(2), 52,
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Jorgensen, L. L., E. A. Logerwell, N. Strelkova, D. Zakharov, V. Roy, C. Nozeres, B. A. Bluhm, S. Hilma Ólagsdottir, J. M. Burgos, J. Sorensen, O. Zimina and K. Rand, 2022. International megabenthic long-term monitoring of a changing arctic ecosystem: Baseline results. Prog. Oceanog. 200:102712.
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Lefebvre, K.A., E. Fachon, E.K. Bowers, D.G. Kimmel, J.A. Snyder, R. Stimmelmayr, J.M. Grebmeier, S. Kibler, R. Hardison, D.M. Anderson, D. Kulis, J. Murphy, J.C. Gann, D. Cooper, L.B. Eisner, J.T. Duffy-Anderson, G. Sheffield, R.S. Pickart, A. Mounsey, M.L. Willis, P. Stabeno, and E. Siddon, 2022: Paralytic shellfish toxins in Alaskan Arctic food webs during the anomalously warm ocean conditions of 2019 and estimated toxin doses to Pacific walruses and bowhead whales. Harmful Algae, 114, 102205,
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Moore S.E., J.T. Clarke, S.R. Okkonen, J.M. Grebmeier, C.L. Berchok, and K.M. Stafford, 2022. Changes in gray whale phenology and distribution related to prey variability and ocean biophysics in the northern Bering and eastern Chukchi seas. PLoS ONE 17(4): e0265934.
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Muto, M. M., V. T. Helker, B. J. Delean, N. C. Young, J. C. Freed, R. P. Angliss, N. A. Friday, P. L. Boveng, J. M. Breiwick, B. M. Brost, M. F. Cameron, P. J. Clapham, J. L. Crance, S. P. Dahle, M. E. Dahlheim, B. S. Fadley, M. C. Ferguson, L. W. Fritz, K. T. Goetz, R. C. Hobbs,Y. V. Ivashchenko, A. S. Kennedy, J. M. London, S. A. Mizroch, R. R. Ream, E. L. Richmond, K. E. W. Shelden, K. L. Sweeney, R. G. Towell, P. R. Wade, J. M. Waite, and A. N. Zerbini, 2022. Alaska marine mammal stock assessments, 2021. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-441, 295 p.
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McCabe, R. M., P. J. Stabeno, et al. (in preparation) Estimates of heat transport through the Chukchi Sea to the Beaufort Sea from a decade of in situ observations. Part of the NPRB sponsored AIERP.

Mordy, C.W., P. Stabeno, H. Hristova (in preparation). Interannual variability of salts and nutrients at the Distributed Biological Observatory Site DBO 1. Part of the NPRB sponsored AIERP.

Stabeno, P. and R. McCabe (accepted). Flow patterns over the Chukchi continental shelf: 2010-2020: A decade of observations in the Chukchi Sea. Part of the NPRB sponsored AIERP.

Sullivan, M.E. and Stabeno, P.J. (revised, in review). A decade of measurements of ice draft in the Chukchi Sea. Part of the NPRB sponsored AIERP.

EcoFOCI Website
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EcoFOCI Cruise Catalog
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EcoFOCI Data Management Plan
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