Hanna Shoal Ecosystem Study


The northern Chukchi Shelf receives extraordinarily large inputs of organic matter advected from the highly productive shelf regions of the North Pacific and from in situ sources of primary production, including epontic ice algae, sediment microalgae and phytoplankton. These contributions of highly labile organic carbon, together with potential benthic sources of regenerated inorganic nitrogen, probably contribute to the enormous secondary production of this region. In particular, the relatively shallow depths (40-55 m) and appreciable bottom flow facilitate high standing stocks of biota, particularly in the benthos. These “hotspots” have been noted in the vicinity of Hanna Shoal, particularly along its southeastern and eastern margins.

The Hanna Shoal Ecosystem Study, an extension of the COMIDA CAB program, is a multi-disciplinary investigation funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to examine the biological, chemical and physical properties that define this ecosystem. The project spans 2011-2015, with field seasons in 2012-2013.

Read more in this project in the May 2015 issue of ECO Magazine.


The study extends the monitoring initiated under the COMIDA CAB program, in which over 70 stations were occupied in the northern Chukchi Sea with a focus on trophic structure, sediments, inventories of anthropogenic chemicals (trace metals and organics), and inventories of benthic and epibenthic fauna. The Hanna Shoal study adds (1) a pelagic component to address standing stocks of phytoplankton and zooplankton and (2) a physical oceanographic study that addresses water mass movements through direct measurement of circulation, density fields, ice conditions and modeling.


Roughly 30 stations were occupied in the region for two consecutive summer field seasons (2012 and 2013), including 7-9 stations along the Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) line. Once data have been collected, analyzed, and quality controlled, maps and other data products will be made publicly available on this website and submitted to the NODC for permanent archiving and access.

Get the latest results on the Data page.



  • Dr. Heather Crowley
    Contracting Office Representative
    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • Dr. Carin Ashjian
    Senior Scientist
    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Dr. Robert Campbell
    Associate Marine Research Scientist
    University of Rhode Island
  • Dr. Lee Cooper
    Research Professor
    University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
  • Dr. Jacqueline Grebmeier
    Research Professor
    University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
  • Dr. Rodger Harvey
    Professor and Chair of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
    Old Dominion University
  • Dr. Ken Dunton -- Chief Scientist
    Professor and Senior Research Scientist
    The University of Texas Marine Science Institute
  • Dr. Brenda Konar
    The University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
  • Dr. David Maidment
    Professor of Civil Engineering
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. John Trefry
    Florida Institute of Technology, Division of Marine and Environmental Systems
  • Dr. Thomas Weingartner
    University of Alaska
  • Dr. Afonso Souza
    Post-Doctoral Fellow
    The University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Contributing Specialists

  • Philip Alatalo
    Research Associate
    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Nora Foster
    Emeritus Marine Invertebrate Curator
    The University of Alaska Museum of the North
  • Cecilia Gelfman
    Marine Research Specialist
    University of Rhode Island
  • Susan Schonberg
    Research Associate
    The University of Texas Marine Science Institute