Minutes of the November 19, 2007 Meeting
Smoky Mountain AMS Chapter

Everyone first met at Calhouns on the River near the UT campus for dinner. Afterwards, the meeting commenced on the UT Ag campus where Dr. Jacqueline M. Grebmeier (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee at Knoxville) spoke about "The Bering Strait Region: A Cross Roads for Science, Society and Arctic Environmental Change". The following was a synopsis of her talk:

"The Bering Strait region is located between the United States and Russia and it is currently experiencing the greatest seasonal sea ice retreat in the Arctic. Significant increase in heat and freshwater transport into the Arctic is occurring, and both are intimately tied to Arctic and global climate. The marine ecosystem is highly productive due to the nutrient rich Pacific water inflow that supports rich biological communities that are the base of a food web that also supports local indigenous traditional hunting. Studies indicate that this ecosystem is undergoing reorganization from a benthic- to pelagic-dominated system, with potential system wide impacts in this shallow Arctic region. Environmental change in this region may also set the stage for enhanced economic activities, such as shipping, oil and gas extraction, and a northward movement of one of the world's most important fishing grounds now centered in the southeast Bering Sea. As such, the Bering Strait region within the Pacific Arctic sector is a cross roads for environmental change and potentially competing national and international interests, requiring proactive evaluation and a cooperative decision process for all stakeholders."

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