[MARMAM] New paper on the nutrient cycling roles of marine mammals and seabirds in Southeast Alaska

Heidi Pearson hcpearson at alaska.edu
Wed Dec 22 12:41:07 PST 2021

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of my co-authors, I'm pleased to share the following paper
recently published in Frontiers in Marine Science, "Examining the role of
marine mammals and seabirds in Southeast Alaska's marine ecosystem

Melissa Rhodes-Reese, David Clay, Curry Cunningham, Janet Moriles-Miller,
Cheryl Reese, Joe Roman, Joseph D. Warren and Heidi C. Pearson

Primary producers are the foundation of marine food webs and require
reliable nutrient sources to maintain their important role with ecosystems.
While marine mammals and seabirds can play critical roles in marine
nutrient cycling, their contributions are often overlooked. Southeast
Alaska’s marine environment supports abundant marine mammal and seabird
populations in addition to valuable fisheries. Nonetheless, there is still
relatively little known about nutrient sources and fluxes in this region
which is a critical component of fisheries management. The goal of our
study was to advance knowledge of the role of mammals and seabirds in
marine nutrient cycling and to understand how changing marine mammal and
seabird populations may alter ecosystem dynamics. We utilized qualitative
network models (QNMs) to examine how a simulated Southeast Alaska ecosystem
would respond to an increase in marine mammals, seabirds, and nutrients.
Researchers are increasingly utilizing QNMs as a first step in the
development of ecosystem-based fisheries management plans as their
adaptable nature is well suited to address rapidly changing climatic
conditions. Our results indicate that marine mammals and seabirds make
important contributions to marine nutrient concentrations in the region and
that these valuable ecosystem services should not be overlooked.

The paper is freely available here:

Thank you,

Heidi Pearson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Marine Biology

University of Alaska Southeast
11066 Auke Lake Way, AND 1
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: 907.796.6271
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