Study Regions

The PICES Science Plan emphasizes that research activities are anticipated on two spatial scales:
  1. 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.

  2. 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.
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:

  1. 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 and slope.

  2. The Bering Sea includes all oceanic waters north of the Aleutian Islands but south of the Chukchi Sea.

  3. 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.
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.
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