Coastal change research/management projects and priority information needs in western Alaska

Research on coastal change in Western Alaska has increased rapidly in recent years, making it challenging to track existing projects, understand their cumulative insights, gauge remaining research gaps, and prioritize future research.

We identified existing coastal change research in Western Alaska and synthesized each project’s focus, approach, and findings. The resulting report documents the project landscape for communities facing change, decision-makers navigating change, researchers pursuing projects, as well as funding agencies trying to prioritize where to allocate resources.

The goal of this effort is to help the Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative (WALCC) meet its mission of coordinating, developing, and disseminating applied science to inform conservation in the context of climate change.

We created a website showing the distribution of projects across the Western Alaska landscape. We used online information, existing databases, and discussions with project PI’s to obtain the geographic location for each project including the latitude and longitude and the name of the geographic location (e.g. village name). If this information was unavailable, we tried to place projects in a general region (e.g. Bering Strait).

Spatial points represent the locations of coastal change projects. Unique color markers were used to identify topic areas (human systems, biological systems, landscape/geophysical systems, and oceanographic systems).Unique colors represent human (purple), biological (green), landscape-geographic (orange), and oceanographic (blue) system projects.

See also: A related project focusing on Cook Inlet and Southeast Alaska