Over the past 2-3 years, the PacMARS and SOAR programs have focused the efforts of a suite of researchers, Arctic residents and resource managers on providing a synthesis of existing information regarding the state of the Pacific Arctic marine ecosystem. While the two programs have similar goals, the approach taken by each can be likened to the ‘tortoise/SOAR and hare/PacMARS’ story.
The Synthesis of Arctic Research (SOAR/5 year program), supported by the BOEM, Alaska Region, was initiated in 2011 with the overarching goal to increase scientific understanding of the relationships among oceanographic conditions, benthic organisms, lower trophic prey species (forage fish and zooplankton), seabirds, and marine mammal distribution and behavior in the Pacific Arctic – with results of this effort the publication of peer-reviewed papers as a ‘special issue’ of a science journal coupled to outreach communications to local residents, resource managers and the public (http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/soar/).
The Pacific Marine Arctic Synthesis (PacMARS/2 year program), supported by the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB), was initiated in 2012, with the overall goal to provide guidance for scientific research needs in the region, as well as to serve stakeholder needs for understanding this important ecosystem and its vulnerabilities – with results of this effort the publication of a final report listing all relevant data sources and the establishment of a data portal to provide efficient access to these data for scientists, resource managers and the public (http://pacmars.cbl.umces.edu/).
Jackie Grebmeier (UMCES) and Sue Moore (NOAA/Fisheries) will provide a joint presentation on the PacMARS and SOAR programs, including the intent from the outset that the two synthesis efforts be complimentary.