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General predictions of continued warming in this century have strong implications for marine species and our dependence on the Alaskan marine environment. Average Bering Sea surface air temperatures are predicted to increase approximately 1 to 1.5° C in the next 10 to 20 years and by 3 to 4° C by the end of the century.  This rapid rate of change has largely unknown, yet potentially severe impacts to resources and human communities of the region --including the loss of sea ice, increased storm activity, and profound shifts  in the species that make up its rich marine food webs.

With such uncertainty and so much at stake, substantial investment has been made toward understanding changes in the marine system of the region.  For instance, the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) entered into a historic partnership in 2007 to understand how climate change is impacting the Bering Sea ecosystem, ranging from plankton to fish, seabirds, marine mammals, and ultimately humans. The project integrates two research programs, the NSF’s Bering Ecosystem and the NPRB’s Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BEST-BSIERP) with substantial  in-kind contributions from the NOAA and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

We see that the ABSI LCC as additional capacity to build on the knowledge gained by these and other efforts in the region.  We aim to foster integrated science focused on the needs of land and resource managers in the region as they respond to climate change and other landscape-scale stressors.  

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