The PICES Science Plan emphasizes that research activities are anticipated on two spatial scales:
U.S. GLOBEC-sponsored activities should occur in the coastal regions of the Gulf of Alaska, the
eastern Bering Sea and the open subarctic ocean. The geographic boundary between the coastal
regions of the Gulf of Alaska and the open subarctic has not been defined by PICES. The following
working definition is offered by U.S. GLOBEC:
- Basin-scale studies to determine how plankton productivity and the carrying capacity for
high-trophic level pelagic carnivores in the North Pacific change in response to climate variations.
- Regional-scale ecosystem studies to compare how variations in ocean climate affect species
dominance and fish populations at the coastal margins of the Pacific Rim.
Some species, such as Pacific salmon, undertake seasonal migrations that cross both the coastal Gulf
of Alaska and the open subarctic. It is recognized that processes in the subarctic gyre would be
extended where necessary to include all areas and species of the North Pacific and marginal seas which
currently are known to, or potentially could, significantly affect the physics, chemistry or biology of
the subarctic gyre.
- The open subarctic region will include Pacific Waters north of the position of the isohaline of
34.0 psu in the upper mixed layer with the exception of the coastal regions over the continental shelf
- The Bering Sea includes all oceanic waters north of the Aleutian Islands but south of the
- The coastal regions of the Subarctic Pacific will include all waters over the continental shelf
and slope. This coastal region will include areas south of the Aleutian Islands.