Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER - United States of America
Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER
United States of America
The BLE LTER program (https://ble.lternet.edu/) focuses on productivity, trophic relationships, and biogeochemical cycling in the network of lagoons that span Alaska’s northernmost coastline. BLE is examining factors that affect the stability and resilience of microbial and metazoan food webs, including drivers and forms of primary production, in these highly dynamic ecosystems.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
BLE is studying the role of Arctic lagoons as biogeochemical reactors and sources of greenhouse gases near the land-sea interface. Lagoons along Alaska’s Beaufort Sea coast support large populations of migratory waterfowl, fish, and marine mammals that are essential to the culture of the Iñupiat communities in the region. BLE is studying how temporal variations in terrestrial inputs and ocean exchange over seasonal, inter-annual, and inter-decadal periods affect the lagoon ecosystems that support these key species. While extreme seasonal variations in environmental conditions are the norm for Arctic lagoons, warming-induced changes may challenge the resiliency of biotic communities that currently thrive within the lagoons.
Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER was first awarded a LTER grant in 2017. The first field season was in 2018. PIs Ken Dunton, James McClelland, and other project investigators have done research in the Arctic for many years.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information