This past fall, NOAA PMEL's Ecosystems and Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (EcoFOCI) program recovered a surface mooring “Peggy” at the biophysical mooring site 2 (M2) adding a prestigious marker to this time series by providing near-continuous, year-round measurements of the southeastern Bering Sea since 1995. Moorings, like M2, give researchers an expanded view of the remote corners of the world's oceans, in this case, measuring temperature, salinity, nitrate, chlorophyll, and currents in this highly productive area. Data used from M2 have been instrumental in studying the loss of sea ice in the Bering Sea, understanding the physics of the Cold Pool and developing the Oscillating Control Hypothesis.
The Bering Sea supports large marine mammal and bird populations and some of the most profitable and sustainable commercial fisheries in the United States. Continuous monitoring of oceanographic conditions from this region provides critical data to support sustainable management of these living marine resources in the Bering Sea.
On March 13, 1995, the M2 surface mooring, nicknamed ‘Peggy’, was deployed from the NOAA Ship Miller Freeman. The surface buoy pays homage to Peggy Dyson, who for 25 years, from her home in Kodiak, Alaska, reported the weather, family messages, and sometimes even paid bills for the mariners of the North Pacific Ocean. She began the radio calls on WBH-29 in 1974 for her husband, late commercial fishing pioneer Oscar Dyson (namesake of the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson), to give him weather reports. Peggy became the ‘voice of the north’ and even worked with the NOAA weather service to provide real-time ship-to-shore information to aid forecasters in refining their data, which she did until 1999.
This is a true testament to the regionally focused fisheries-oceanography research program, EcoFOCI, in forecasting the need for long-term monitoring of the Bering Sea as well as providing strong science, information fisheries recruitment and implications to regional fisheries management councils. With the enhancement of Arctic-driven technologies at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, it is now possible to enhance the M2 site while continuing to meet the goals and responsibility of NOAA and provide solid science for the management of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.
Visit the EcoFOCI website for more information about research done in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and Arctic waters.