Assessing 100 Years of Change in Canopy Kelp Ecosystems

The complex and extensive coastline of Southeast and Southcentral Alaska have precluded regular surveys of canopy kelp extent that would allow for the detection of long-term changes, presenting a significant knowledge gap on the long-term resistance of Alaska kelp species to changing environmental conditions. To begin to fill this gap, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center researchers analyzed historical and modern surveys to understand the change in spatial coverage and species composition of canopy kelp between two time points captured in surveys conducted in 1913 (Cameron 1915) and from 2004 to 2010 (Shorezone Alaska). This project is the first time that the Alaska Cameron expedition maps have been digitized, which will allow for further analyses of temporal trends in this widespread and important habitat.

Principal Investigator / Project Partners:

  • Jordan Hollarsmith, NOAA AFSC
  • Julianna Cornett, NOAA AFSC
  • Emily Evenson, Washington State University
  • Alex Tugaw, University of Alaska Southeast

Project Term: 2021 – 2023

Funding: Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean & Ecosystem Studies undergraduate internship program