Science & Environment

Science and environmental reporting on news and community topics. Science coverage is occasionally provided by community members.

(Christian Sardet/CNRS/Tara Expeditions)


After combing through data from the Aleutian Islands, a scientist has discovered an unexpected relationship between plankton and pink salmon. Although plankton might seem like an ecological afterthought, biological oceanographer Sonia Batten disagrees. She calls them the most important organisms in the ocean.

“They’re the basis of every marine food chain pretty much,” said Batten. “They support directly, or indirectly, the resources that we value.”


Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Unalaskans are worried about the sockeye salmon run at Front Beach — thanks to a growing number of nets and seemingly fewer fish.

That's why the Unalaska/Dutch Harbor Fish and Game Advisory Committee has proposed a new regulation aimed at conserving reds.

"Our motion is to submit an agenda change request to limit the number of sockeye taken from Front Beach with subsistence gear to no more than 10 per permit holder," said Secretary Jennifer Shockley at Tuesday's committee meeting.

Using Seismic Waves to Map Okmok Volcano

Aug 17, 2016
Alaska Volcano Observatory, USGS/Wikimedia Commons

In the rich volcanic landscape of the Aleutian Islands, Okmok volcano on Umnak Island has drawn special attention this summer. Matt Haney, a research geophysicist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, is part of a team trying to create an image of the inside of Okmok. The process is like a geological CAT scan, mapping the earth rather than the body.

Last summer, the team set out an array of seismometers – sensors that pick up the same seismic waves that characterize earthquakes – on and around the volcano.

Aleutian Life Forum

Dozens of scientists are descending on Unalaska this week for the Aleutian Life Forum.

Starting Tuesday, the five-day conference will bring together researchers and community leaders as they promote conservation and coastal resilience across the Aleutian Islands in the face of a changing climate.

At a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Shirley Marquardt encouraged community members to sit it on some of the many public lectures and workshops. 

Office of Subsistence Management

For the first time ever, Unalaska is hosting the group that guides federal subsistence rules in Southwest Alaska. 

Since it formed in the 1990s, the Kodiak/Aleutians Subsistence Regional Advisory Council has met mostly in Kodiak and Cold Bay.

But next week, the Council will gather at the Grand Aleutian Hotel for a two-day discussion of hunting and fishing issues around the region.