This interdisciplinary graduate training program in Marine Ecosystem Sustainability in the Arctic and Subarctic (MESAS) prepares professionals to solve problems arising at the interface between dynamic environmental and social systems. These graduates will be well-prepared to contribute to both the understanding and management of marine ecosystems to ensure ecosystem-based strategies for the sustainable use of living marine resources in the context of competing local, national, and international interests. Across the nation, and particularly in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems, these competing interests demand complex solutions; requiring knowledge not provided in traditional graduate programs. Alaska is an ideal location to realize this new vision for an ecosystem-based approach to the sustainable use of living marine resources. Here, as elsewhere in the circumpolar north, anthropogenic and naturally-forced changes in climate, oceanography, marine biological communities and ecosystems, fisheries and maritime human communities are already dramatic and will have broad consequences. For instance, Arctic air temperatures have increased at nearly twice the global average rate in the past 100 years. While these changes are particularly pronounced in the Arctic and Subarctic, similar forces are changing marine ecosystems throughout the world. Professional scientists educated in Alaska will have excellent preparation for a career in marine ecosystems anywhere in the world.
Our marine sustainability IGERT will:
- Stimulate new approaches and solutions to marine resource issues that simultaneously impact local/subsistence needs as well as large commercial interests.
- Prepare graduate students to lead future management of marine ecosystems by guiding them through policy formulation and implementation early in their academic careers.
- Foster collaborative research and training across natural and social science disciplines, thereby broadening perspectives of University of Alaska faculty and their professional colleagues.
- Foster interaction between MESAS marine scientists and terrestrial scientists working on similar issues in the Resilience and Adaptation IGERT at UAF.
Students of the program can pursue graduate degrees in Anthropology, Fisheries, Marine Biology, Natural Resources and Sustainability, Oceanography or Interdisciplinary Studies. Links to the department web sites and course requirements are found here.
Inter-IGERT Collaborative Workshop, March 22-24, 2011
MESAS, in conjunction with 3 other IGERTs that address similar high-latitude environmental issues, held a workshop in Juneau entitled "Understanding Rapid Environmental and Social Change in the Arctic: Bridging Traditional Knowledge and Interdisciplinary Science across IGERTs". The workshop brought together a group of 80 Native and non-Native scientists and graduate students from four universities: University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University (Climate Change, Humans, and Nature in the Global Environment IGERT), Dartmouth College (Polar Environmental Change IGERT), and University of Alaska Fairbanks (Resilience and Adaptation IGERT and MESAS IGERT). The workshop focus was traditional knowledge and scientific research on environmental change in Alaska and the Arctic. You can learn more about the workshop and workshop outcomes at: https://sites.google.com/a/alaska.edu/4_igert_workshop/home