What others say: Sikuliaq finishes Arctic voyage

  • By Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Editorial
  • Monday, July 31, 2017 10:25am
  • Opinion

The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ state-of-the-art research vessel Sikuliaq is already proving its worth. The vessel recently completed a 20-day research excursion in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas gathering valuable information about marine life and changes in the Arctic. Aboard the vessel were a host of scientists and graduate students, with good representation from UAF’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

The Sikuliaq, completed in 2014, is just coming into its own as a full-fledged research vessel. Its name means “young sea ice” in Iñupiaq, and some of the research performed on the most recent tour of duty was on that very topic. Some of the researchers on board were investigating the effects of climate-based diminishment of sea ice cover. It’s a topic that has particular importance for some of Alaska’s most famous species of what scientists refer to as “charismatic megafauna,” such as walruses and polar bears. These animals ordinarily travel on sea ice; as less and less is available, they are forced on shore to places they don’t ordinarily spend as much of their time.

How these changes affect the big animals — as well as smaller plants and animals below them in the Arctic food chain — is rife with questions for which the scientists aboard Sikuliaq are trying to find answers. What they discover may help us figure out what, if anything, we need to do to ensure Alaska remains a place where Arctic species can thrive.

— Fairbanks Daily News-Miner,

July 24

More in Opinion

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower after he was found guilty of all counts in his criminal trial in New York on May 30.
Opinion: Trump’s new fixers

Fixers from Alaska and elsewhere step in after guilty verdict

Ballot booths are set up inside Kenai City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Perspective from an election worker

Here is what I know about our Kenai Peninsula Borough election system

Apayauq Reitan, the first transgender woman to participate in the Iditarod, tells the House Education Committee on March 30, 2023, why she opposes a bill restricting transgender rights. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The imaginary transgender sports crisis

House Bill 183 is a right-wing solution to a problem that doesn’t exist now and never will.

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Session ends with budget, dividend and bills passed

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

The Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Listen to PAs; support Senate Bill 115: Modernizing PA Practice in Alaska

Health care is rapidly evolving, demanding a more flexible and responsive system

Mount Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Opinion: Hilcorp Alaska: Powering Southcentral Alaska — past, present and future

Hilcorp Alaska has and will continue to fully develop our Cook Inlet basin leasehold

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024 (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Collegiality matters

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Juneau Empire file photo
Larry Persily.
Opinion: Alaska might as well embrace the past

The governor, legislators, municipal officials and business leaders are worried that the Railbelt will run short of natural gas before the end of the decade

The Alaska State Capitol on March 1. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Physicians oppose Alaska Senate Bill 115 — Independent Practice for PAs

Alaskans don’t want access to just any health care, they want access to high quality care

Norm McDonald is the deputy director of Fire Protection for the Alaska Division of Forestry & Fire Protection. (Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service)
The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information)
Opinion: This wildfire prevention month, reflect on ways to protect each other and our communities from wildfire

Alaskans saw what happened in Canada last year, and they know it can happen here too