Science & Environment

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

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After weeks at sea, Dario Schwörer and his family were grateful to have landed in Unalaska again. “We were so happy when we saw the Aleutians coming out of the fog,” he said. Dario sails with his wife, Sabine, their five children, ranging in age from 11 years to seven months, and two volunteers.

Riccardo Rossi via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1960s, king salmon were abundant in Alaska, and it stayed that way through the 90s. After the new millennium, though, Chinook numbers fell — and they've remained low since.

"People have scratched their heads and said, 'Where are all the kings? What happened to all the kings?'" said Andy Seitz, an associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. 

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries


Every summer, biologists visit Alaska to count Steller sea lions. The western stock of the population has been in decline for nearly 40 years — hitting a low in 2002. The count helps determine whether sea lions stay on the endangered species list, which puts costly restrictions on the commercial fishing fleet. Even after decades of research, the reason for the decline is still a mystery.

Laura Kraegel

A recreational vessel ran aground Wednesday night in Captains Bay, according to Ben Wagner with the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Unit in Dutch Harbor.

Wagner said the owner was moving the boat to a new location when the tide went out and the vessel ran aground on rocks near the shoreline. No one was injured, but responders did notice a slight oil sheen in the water near the boat.

Pavlof Is Active Again

Jul 1, 2016

Alaska’s most active volcano is at it again. Friday morning, scientists observed a steam plume at Pavlof volcano and increased seismic activity. And they’ve raised the volcano alert level from “normal” to “advisory”.