National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2008

The Pribilof Islands: Temperature, salinity and nitrate during summer 2004

Sullivan, M.E., N.B. Kachel, C.W. Mordy, and P.J. Stabeno

Deep-Sea Res. II, 55(16–17), 1729–1737, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2008.03.004 (2008)

The Pribilofs, comprised of St. Paul and St. George Islands and two smaller islands, are a highly productive area on the western edge of the eastern Bering Sea shelf. Proximity to both the slope and more shallow shelf waters, and the confluence of multiple physical domains differentiates conditions in this region from those in other areas on this shelf. This is a unique domain in the Bering Sea that we refer to as the “Pribilof domain”. Hydrographic and biological data were collected during a 2004 summer research cruise in this region. The study undertook testing the hypothesis that on-shelf intrusion of slope waters supplies nutrients to this multi-domain area, thereby seasonally influencing new primary production and consequently the entire marine ecosystem. The Pribilof domain is characterized by enhanced mixing, particularly the area between St. Paul and St. George Islands; organized anti-cyclonic flow around St. Paul Island, around St. George Island, and around the island group; strong tidal currents; and is a location where nutrient-rich water from the bottom layer of the middle shelf and deeper water from the slope are vertically mixed to sustain production throughout the summer.

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