The Arctic polar regions have been home to humans for thousands of years. While much has changed since first contact between Inuit and Europeans more than one thousand years ago, many culturally and linguistically distinct peoples remain nutritionally, culturally and economically reliant on the available traditional marine based food resources. As scientific interest in the Arctic has increased so has the potential for conflicts between research and subsistence users, typically in biologically significant areas. Coastal Alaskans in western and northern Alaska are adapting to shifting industrial and environmental regimes. Whether you realize it or not, a visiting researcher faces an unusually high level of interest and scrutiny by local residents for two reasons:. Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic.
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The Yupik whale hunters from Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island off western Alaska want to know when they will see bowhead whales again. They listened patiently to eight hours of discussions among scientists recently at a workshop in Nome, Alaska, about how the rapid loss of sea ice is changing everything that lives in the ocean, from plankton to whales — just as they wait patiently for the whales to return to their island. The peninsula is the closest point of the North American mainland to Russia. Months of darkness and daylight alternate there.
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After enduring several days of weather delays, a slimmed-down convoy of aviators and travel pioneers intent on strengthening Alaska-Russia ties completed a planned trip across the Bering Strait early this month. It was a smaller group than the six planes and 11 people originally planned , and it was, by air-travel standards, just a short hop, only miles. Still, the journey carried a lot of significance. The specific purpose of the trip was to keep the Nome-to-Provideniya route status active. The route has official designation from the Federal Aviation Administration and from Russian officials, but its use has dwindled, said Tandy Wallack, owner of a tour company and one of the organizers of the trip.
The latest reports of dead seabirds in the Bering Strait region came from Nome, within the last couple weeks. Robb Kaler with the U. But alas, the reports and observations are increasingly pointing to a seabird die-off in the Bering Strait region. According to Kaler, the majority of the roughly 50 deceased birds reported last month were either murres or horned puffins. Lawrence Island.