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Fieldwork Resources

Are you going to sea for the NGA program, or maybe you would just like to know what it’s all about?

You know what they say, safety first! A good place to begin is by reviewing our Field Safety Plan.

We conduct two or three research cruises each year, all departing from and returning to the Seward Marine Center in Seward, Alaska. We sample annually in spring and fall, but our summer cruises only occur in odd numbered years. 

Seward, Alaska, with Seward Marine Center and R/V Sikuliaq in foreground – Photo by Britton Anderson
Seward Marine Center Warehouse – Photo by Alice Bailey

Multiple research vessels are used for sampling. Typically, the spring and summer cruises utilize the R/V Sikuliaq, while the fall cruise is aboard the R/V Tiglax.

R/V Sikuliaq
R/V Sikuliaq
R/V Tiglax
R/V Tiglax

What should I expect on a research cruise? What is life like on the ship?

Work is happening on the ship 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is a day and night shift of rotating scientists and ship crew.

Meals are provided. You will share a room and bathroom, and laundry is available as needed.

Here’s a packing list to get you started, and a video by NGA Physical Oceanography Graduate Student Isaac Reister for more info…

Additional information specific to R/V Sikuliaq can be found by taking a glimpse into the science staterooms, reviewing the Life Aboard page, and perusing the UNOLS safety manual. Additional R/V Tiglax information can be found by taking a virtual tour of the ship.

In the NGA LTER program, we believe strongly in a respectful workplace and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

All participants are expected to follow our code of conduct, show civility, and to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Where are we going?

The map below shows the Northern Gulf of Alaska with sampling stations shown as black and white dots. The overall approach of the cruise is to occupy the Seward, Kodiak, and Middleton Island transects across the shelf and a string of stations within western Prince William Sound. If weather allows, we stop to take samples at every point on the map during the cruise.

Not all stations are sampled the same. During each morning we will typically occupy a selected “intensive” station (white dots) that involves a greater number and range of samples than the other stations occupied that day. Between stations we collect underway measurements, as well as seabird and marine mammal observations.

The GAK1 station is our longest time series. It has been sampled for over 50 years!