Finding a salmon’s origins

The original story can be found in UAF 100 Big Ideas.

Photo by Sean Brennan

Chinook salmon grow to adults in the ocean, but return to spawn in the streams where they hatched. But in 2014, University of Alaska Fairbanks doctoral student Sean Brennan helped develop a way to match individual salmon to their home streams long before they returned.

Brennan analyzed markers that were created in salmon bones by the chemistry of the waters in which the fish hatch and grow. He looked at the ratio of two isotopes of strontium, a natural chemical element in the Earth. Differences in rocks create variations in the strontium isotopes picked up by water that flows across the rocks. The unique strontium ratio of a stream is captured in the auditory structures, called otoliths, of young salmon.

Otoliths grow in rings, similar to trees where the center rings represent the fish’s younger life. By matching the isotope ratios in the inner rings with ratios in rivers and streams, Brennan was able to pinpoint the region and sometimes the tributary where each salmon was born.

Photo by Sean Brennan

His research at UAF’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences provided an important tool that could eventually be used to find all salmon hatching and rearing locations.

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Long-term site status will boost Gulf of Alaska studies

by Lauren Frisch, 907-474-5350

Graduate students prepare to deploy the water bottle

Photo by Sarah Thornton Graduate students prepare to deploy the water bottle and sensor package to record conductivity, temperature and depth at a point on the Seward Line as part of the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics program.

A 20-year effort by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers to monitor the northern Gulf of Alaska’s animals and environmental markers will soon expand.

The National Science Foundation has designated the northern gulf as a Long-Term Ecological Research site and will provide grant money for future science in the area. It is one of two new LTER sites. Each will receive $5.6 million in funding over five years.

Since 1997, UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences researchers have striven to understand the processes that support the region’s thriving fish, crab, seabird and marine mammal populations. Every May and September, the researchers travel by boat along the Seward Line, a route from Resurrection Bay’s mouth across the continental shelf to a point 170 miles offshore. They map the species encountered and measure ocean nutrients, temperature and salinity.

“We have monitored the shelf and Prince William Sound long enough to know where the interesting features are,” said Russ Hopcroft, a CFOS professor and the principal investigator for the new LTER project. “But, until now, we haven’t had the funds to actually dig deeper and learn more about some of the processes and mechanisms behind what we have been observing.”

The funding provided by the new LTER grant will allow the researchers to continue to monitor core ocean parameters across a greater geographic region, add new measurement types and include an additional expedition each July. This will help the researchers better understand what regulates this highly productive ecosystem that supports part of the nation’s largest fishery.

Hopcroft will work with CFOS professors Seth Danielson, Ana Aguilar-Islas and Andrew McDonnell, in collaboration with other scientists at UAF, Western Washington University, Oregon State University and the University of California Santa Cruz.

LTER sites are intended to be funded over the long term. The program is designed so researchers can study and compare distinct ecosystems in order to generate and test fundamental ecological theories. New sites are chosen in ecosystems that are not yet represented in the program and usually tend to be established in places where researchers have a proven track record of collecting meaningful data.

“We feel very lucky to have this opportunity,” Hopcroft said. “It’s a great culmination of our efforts to keep the Seward Line observation program going and demonstrate its importance.”

There are 25 previously established LTER sites, including two in Alaska at Bonanza Creek and Toolik Lake.

The Seward Line program began as part of the U.S. Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics program, jointly funded by the NSF and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Over the past two decades, it has received additional support from the North Pacific Research Board, the Alaska Ocean Observing System and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Russell Hopcroft, rrhopcroft@alaska.edu, 907-474-7842

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Lifelong fascination with nature drew Rivera to Alaska

by Lauren Frisch, 907-474-5350

Pat Rivera

Jennifer Questel photo Pat Rivera, pictured standing at the bow of the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown during an ocean acidification project in summer 2015, is the facilities coordinator for the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

One of Patricia Rivera’s most vivid childhood memories is from a family trip to a beautiful white sand beach in Panama, near their home at Fort Gulick Army base. Rivera, who was about four years old at the time, remembers playing in the clear, bright ocean water that was no more than knee deep. Behind her, a long line of young stingrays sunbathed, offset in what seemed to be a purposeful pattern.

Growing up in Panama, at the bottom tip of Central America, Rivera was regularly exposed to nature and different environments.

“Even when I was this young, I remember saying to some adult that when I grow up I want to protect the animals,” Rivera said. “That must have come from the great exposure I had to a large variety of animals that were part of everyday life in Panama.”

Rivera, who has worked on and off at the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences since the late 1980s in various research and technical roles, attributes much of her adventurous and animal-loving personality to the positive experiences she had in her outdoorsy, close-knit community as a kid.

She said living on an army base as a child made her feel as though the world was small. Her multicultural community was filled with all sorts of interesting people from different parts of the world. Everyone and everything felt accessible to her, and she appreciated learning from people with different stories and burdens.

“Growing up like this, nobody was surprising to me,” Rivera said.

In addition, Rivera explained, Panama is filled with animals that can seriously hurt you if you aren’t careful.  “We grew up with this very real awareness and respect for our surroundings, which helped foster my desire to protect them.”

Rivera moved from Panama after the first grade, but she maintained her interest in learning about animals, protecting the environment and surrounding herself with complex people.

Rivera’s adventurous nature has led her to a variety of jobs all over the United States. During her time as an undergraduate at the Agnes Scott College she worked as a blackjack dealer. While finishing up her bachelor’s degree at the Florida Institute of Technology, she surveyed loggerhead sea turtles. During graduate school at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Rivera helped pay her tuition by catering. After graduate school, she worked for Fairbanks Animal Control.

Since moving to Fairbanks in 1988, Rivera has worked in various research positions with CFOS, preparing and analyzing soil, water and species samples. Her favorite position with CFOS was as a lab manager for a group that studied the health of Steller sea lions in Alaska from 2004-2010.

Rivera is currently the facilities coordinator for CFOS, where she manages maintenance logistics, tracks equipment and maintains safety standards for the college. This includes coordinating use of freezers and storage to serving on safety-related committees. One committee is a campus-wide group that helps UAF workers dealing with Title IX issues while conducting field work.

UAF’s Pat Rivera, with Nick Delich from the NOAA

Photo by Jennifer Questel UAF’s Pat Rivera, with Nick Delich from the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, samples from an oceanography instrument during a 2014 cruise in the Gulf of Alaska.

When she first moved to Fairbanks, Rivera was quickly drawn to the ambitious lifestyle, as well as the willingness to help others in need.

In many ways, the connection Rivera feels to the people and culture in Fairbanks resembles the connection she had felt to Panama when she was younger. Here she knows friends from all over the world, who came to Fairbanks with different unusual experiences, many whom are excited and inspired by the natural world.

“I was immediately comfortable in Fairbanks,” she said. “People here feel like they can do anything. And whenever I have car trouble, or need help fixing something, there is no shortage of friendly neighbors who are willing to provide assistance. I’ve become very spoiled by the high quality people I have met here.”

ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Pat Rivera, pat@alaska.edu, 907-474-6312

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Professor receives award to study global oceans

by Lauren Frisch, 907-474-5350

A University of Alaska Fairbanks assistant professor will study tiny animals and particles across the world’s oceans after receiving an award from the National Science Foundation.

Andrew McDonnell, with the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, received a five-year, $750,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. The NSF program is designed to support teacher-scholars who effectively integrate research and education. McDonnell’s project will also aim to educate Alaskans about ocean sciences and what it means to be an oceanographer.

McDonnell will use underwater cameras to measure the sizes, concentrations and types of particles and zooplankton in ocean water. This research has implications for how carbon is transported to and stored in different parts of the ocean.

Andrew McDonnell

Andrew McDonnell poses by the UAF sign at the Seward Marine Center. Photo by Claudine Hauri.

McDonnell has used underwater cameras since graduate school but has focused on particular regions. This project will allow him to apply what he has learned to oceans around the world and compare different regions.

“Looking at what is happening from a global perspective will help us better investigate the role of these particles and plankton in the global carbon cycle,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell will create a museum exhibit for the Alaska Sea Life Center focused on the important microscopic world of particles and plankton that are not always seen by aquaria curators and visitors alike. The exhibit will also include information about what ocean scientists do and how they collect samples and data at sea. It will display different sampling technology, as well as videos and photos that illustrate how oceanographers work, especially in the oceans around Alaska.

“The exhibit will be a great opportunity to showcase the research project, but also teach Alaskans what it means to be an oceanographer. We are hoping to inspire those who otherwise may not have access to this sort of information,” he said.

McDonnell’s project also seeks to bring the knowledge displayed in this exhibit to Alaska Native communities with the hope that he can inspire children growing up on Alaska’s coastline to consider oceanography as a career choice.

“A lot of communities around the state are highly dependent on our oceans, but not many oceanographers come from those communities,” he said. “We are going to work towards building up a workforce of Alaska Native scientists capable of studying parts of the natural marine environment that really matter to their communities, economies and cultures.”

The prestigious NSF CAREER award honors junior faculty members who have excelled in both research and education in their fields. McDonnell’s project is scheduled to start in July, 2017.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Andrew McDonnell, amcdonnell@alaska.edu, 907-474-7529.

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Apply now to be an Alaska Salmon Fellow

Salmon is a defining factor in the culture of Alaska; it’s something we all have in common. But salmon, Alaska’s third largest industry, is also frequently a flash point of conflict over difficult issues such as racial justice, the urban-rural divide, and balancing sustainability against the needs of resource development. Alaska Humanities Forum, along with partner organizations, has designed the Alaska Salmon Fellows program to facilitate demanding conversations about salmon issues among leaders in salmon policy, management, industry, activism, research, and indigenous sectors.  It serves as a:

  • Pathway for new and stronger connections across the diverse sectors that have a key stake in the future of Alaska’s salmon.
  • Network to share lessons and deepen understanding of differing perspectives among the Fellows, and through them, other stakeholders.
  • System of Influence, sparking new relationships and advancing tangible opportunities to inspire action on key issues and challenges.

Get more information, nominate a fellow, or apply online by Feb. 28 at akhf.org/alaska-salmon-fellows.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Courtney Carothers, clcarothers@alaska.edu, 907-375-1412; Peter Westley, pwestley@alaska.edu, 907-474-5254.


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Faculty Focus: Amanda Kelley

by Barb Hameister

Amanda Kelley Diving

Ready for a research dive in Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, Washington

Amanda Kelley may not have followed a traditional path on her way to becoming a scientist—among other things, she toured the world as a guitar tech with the rock band Everclear—but she says the additional life experience is a real benefit in her job as an assistant professor with the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

Amanda moved to Alaska in May 2016 from California, where she had been a postdoc at the University of California Santa Barbara. Living in southern California for three years might not seem like the best way to prepare for life in Alaska, but thanks to the many trips she made to Antarctica for her postdoctoral research, it turns out that Amanda is no stranger to extreme cold.

While growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Amanda loved taking summer trips with her family around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. She was especially drawn to the beaches and tide pools, and was fascinated by all the wonderful critters she found there. That sense of curiosity and wonder, along with her lifelong love of the ocean, were a big part of why she ultimately chose marine science as a career.

Amanda enrolled at Oregon State University straight out of high school, and was most of the way through a forestry degree program when she decided to leave college to play in several rock bands. After a few years this evolved into a gig as a guitar technician, and she toured around the world with a number of different bands, keeping their instruments in good order.

For a while Amanda made her living as a carpenter. She spent a decade learning the trade of finish carpentry, and specialized in the renovation of Victorian and Arts and Crafts era homes.

Then, in 2006, in her mid-30s and with a renewed focus and determination (and a realization that she couldn’t live the rock and roll carpentry life forever), Amanda enrolled at Portland State University and completed a bachelor’s degree in organismal biology and a doctoral degree in ecological physiology.

She says the problem-solving skills she picked up in the intervening years, not to mention a lot of experience working with many different kinds of people in different situations, have served her well in the world of science and academia.

As an ecological physiologist, Amanda has a particular interest in coastal marine species. Her research primarily focuses on the changes in pH, temperature and salinity that are occurring the world’s oceans, especially around the polar regions, and how coastal marine species and ecosystems may respond to those changes.

She was drawn to the study of physiology by a fascination with the way organisms are able to adapt to environmental changes in both the short- and long term. Having previously worked with a variety of organisms including crabs, snails and sea urchins, now that she’s a faculty member and working with new collaborators, Amanda is excited to be learning about a range of other species such as deepwater corals and pink salmon.

Another major interest is ocean acidification, which refers to the shift in pH of the world’s oceans as they absorb excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Currently Amanda is working with the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward to determine the potential vulnerability of multiple native Alaska clam species to ocean acidification. She is also investigating how marine invertebrates in Antarctica will respond to ocean change.

Amanda was hired by CFOS as a co-director of the Ocean Acidification Research Center (OARC) at UAF. OARC is known world-wide as a research center that has done foundational work identifying ocean acidification hot spots in Alaskan waters. In addition to monitoring areas for the threat of ocean acidification, the center is expanding its efforts to determine the potential vulnerability of marine species to ocean acidification, and Amanda’s expertise will help guide that work.

Along with her own research and her duties at OARC, Amanda is developing a new course called “Human Impacts on the Marine Biosphere” which will explore how species in the ocean are responding to a range of human-caused environmental change.

As a person who is proud of her Native American ancestry (Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone), Amanda also has a keen desire to work with underrepresented people in higher education, and especially with individuals whose communities are impacted by climate change. “I want to share information that will help communities understand and cope with the changes they are experiencing,” she says.

Amanda Kelly Carpentry

Fashioning an architectural knee brace for an Arts and Crafts home restoration project

A big fan of the Alaskan do-it-yourself spirit, Amanda has already put her planning and carpentry skills to good use at her home in the hills outside of town. “I knew I could survive a Fairbanks winter if I had a wood stove and hot tub,” Amanda says. So she got busy and built them just in time for her first winter.

With that can-do attitude, her seemingly endless curiosity about the natural world, and a keen sense of adventure, Amanda seems well suited for life in Interior Alaska. She loves being active outdoors and exploring, but also really appreciates the quiet moments to be found while bird-watching, or simply walking her dogs at the end of a long workday.

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College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences students win awards at science symposium

Sarah Traiger (left), Paula Cullenberg (center), and Janell Larson. Photo by Brendan Smith/North Pacific Research Board.

Sarah Traiger (left), Paula Cullenberg (center), and Janell Larson. Photo by Brendan Smith/North Pacific Research Board.

Original story can be found on Alaska Sea Grant News Website

Alaska Sea Grant director Paula Cullenberg presented two graduate students with awards at the 2017 Alaska Marine Science Symposium (AMSS) in Anchorage.

Sarah Traiger, a doctoral student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, received the Best Student Oral Presentation Award at the PhD Level. Along with a certificate, Traiger received a $250 cash award.

Traiger’s presentation was “Supply and survival: kelp microscopic life stage challenges across a glacial gradient.” Her research is funded by Alaska Sea Grant.

Jenell Larsen, a master’s student also at the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, won the Best Student Oral Presentation Award at the Master’s Level. She will receive a $250 cash award along with her certificate.

The title of Larsen’s presentation was “Old ovaries, new tricks: what walrus ovaries can tell us about population fluctuations.”

A total of sixteen graduate students gave oral presentations—ten at the PhD level and six at the master’s level. The oral presentations were judged by scientists attending the symposium.

The oral award competition was sponsored by Alaska Sea Grant. Seven awards also were presented for student posters, in a competition sponsored by the North Pacific Research Board.

 

Editor’s note:

A number of CFOS students won awards for poster presentations as well.

At the doctoral level, Taylor White at the University of California Santa Cruz received first place for her poster. White is working on a project that received partial funding from Alaska Sea Grant.

Additionally, Leah Sloan received second place for a doctoral level poster.

At the master’s level, Teresa Minicucci received first place for her poster. Kelly Walker received second place for her master’s level poster.

Finally, Michelle Dela Rosa received the high school level poster award. Dela Rosa was part of the UAF Rural Honors Institute.

Congratulations to all of the award recipients.

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Meet the Sikuliaq Crew: Mark Teckenbrock

By Lauren Frisch

Mark Teckenbrock

Photo of Mark Teckenbrock on the deck of the R/V Sikuliaq. Photo courtesy of Mark Teckenbrock

Mark Teckenbrock thrives in the flexibility of the R/V Sikuliaq’s work environment.

As the ship’s cook, Teckenbrock can be responsible for feeding anywhere between 20 and 50 people, depending on the science mission. Sikuliaq research cruises can be up to a month long, meaning Teckenbrock and his team are often responsible for planning and executing a month’s worth of meals with one shipment of food.

Teckenbrock has been a cook since 1992, although this is his first cooking position on a ship. He previously worked as a deckhand for the summer, but all of his other jobs have been land-based.

Teckenbrock and the rest of the mess team have a system for ordering and planning meals that enhances their ability to be flexible, and work with the available resources. In order to get food onboard, Teckenbrock explains, the crew typically does a multi-day inventory of what is remaining at the end of a science mission.

Pad thaiTeckenbrock.

Pad thai is a crowd favorite for lunch on the R/V Sikuliaq. Photo by Mark Teckenbrock.

“We start our inventory maybe 10 days before a cruise is over, because it takes a few days to complete and we need to place orders a week in advance. But even as we start to input this inventory, we are still going through more and more of our resources. So you start inputting numbers based on what you think you’re going to go through by the end of the cruise, and what you think you’re going to want and need based on who will be onboard next.”

He says it helps that the Sikuliaq doesn’t have a set meal schedule. This allows the cooks to be flexible, and use food as needed, rather than committing to a specific schedule.

“If we head down to the refrigerator and realize the asparagus is starting to look a bit gnarly, we tackle it right away,” Teckenbrock said. “The flexibility to cook things as needed helps us use our food efficiently, and reduce product waste.”

Heirloom tomato and Alaska mountain goat lasagna

The cooks onboard strive to come up with hearty and creative dishes. This photo features an heirloom tomato and Alaska mountain goat lasagna. Photo by Mark Teckenbrock

To Teckenbrock, working on a ship that is always moving, with a crew that is constantly rotating, adds another source of variety that keeps him motivated and excited about what he is doing.

“One day you may be assisting a science mission in the ice up in the Arctic Ocean, and then the next day you might begin a transit down to San Diego,” Teckenbrock said. “There is lots of potential for adventure and sightseeing.”

Always on the lookout for new recipe ideas, Teckenbrock finds that traveling to new places and experiencing different cultures inspires new combinations. He especially likes the opportunity to work off the coast of California, where the nearby communities have a diverse culture and year-round farmer’s markets.

Teckenbrock says part of the reason working on a ship like the Sikuliaq is so rewarding is because he is part of a supportive, hard-working team. “I am thankful that we have a really good team onboard,” he said. “We have good chemistry in the kitchen, and on the ship overall. Being away from family can be a bit of a hardship, but it makes it easier to have a strong community onboard.”

Crispy crab cakes

Crispy crab cakes are ready to be snatched up. Photo by Mark Teckenbrock.

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Meet the Sikuliaq Crew: Arthur Levine

By Lauren Frisch

Arthur Levine works on the sea ice with the R/V Sikuliaq in the background. Photo by Kevin Reinhardt

Arthur Levine, an able-bodied seaman on the R/V Sikuliaq, has discovered he loves working in the arctic.

Levine grew up surrounded by naval officers and other boat-oriented professionals. “Hearing their stories, and then sailing during high school got me wanting to work out on a ship as well,” he said. Levine decided to attend the Massachusetts Maritime Academy where he focused on marine transportation and earned a third mate’s license.

Levine started working on the Sikuliaq in March 2016. As an able-bodied seaman, he helps out with anything and everything involving the ship’s deck. This includes running cranks, helping to deploy scientific instruments, keeping the ship clean and maintained, and working on the bridge as a lookout.

Levine likes the variability of his tasks, and the ability to gain experience in all different kinds of work. “One of the things I really enjoy about working on the Sikuliaq is that it’s different every day. I could be doing routine maintenance one day, helping deploy scientific equipment another, and visiting a village the next. That mixes it up a bit, and keeps the work exciting and rewarding.”

One of his favorite parts about working on the Sikuliaq is learning to travel safely and operate machinery in and near sea ice. This involves determining if ice is safe for both travel and scientific experiments, and learning to navigate through icy waters.

“Working on the ice is completely different that anything I’ve done on a ship before. I am learning how to detect different kinds of ice, thinking about what types of ice to avoid, and considering how to go through it most effectively and safely.”

Levine explains that working around the ice was totally new to him when he started his job on the Sikuliaq, but it is becoming one of his favorite aspects of his job, and something he hopes to continue to pursue as his career unfolds.

Levine also gets to travel out onto the ice with science parties. “When we’re working in the ice, I’m trained to actually go out on the ice and walk around with the scientists, making sure the ice is safe. That’s really fun.”

Arthur Levine travels on the R/V Sikuliaq small boat, called Biscuits and Wavy, to a research site. Photo by Kim Kenny

In his current role on the ship, Levine is also able to leave the ship every once in awhile to visit communities near where the ship is working. In fall 2016, Levine participated in two community trips to Point Hope and Golovin, where he learned about local perspectives on regional change, and got to talk with local residents about what it’s like to live and work on a research vessel.

“A lot of times I’m still trying to understand details in the science that our researchers are doing onboard,” Levine said.  “But looking at the big picture, it’s about much more than the details. It is great to work with researchers who are documenting the wide variety of changes that our oceans are experiencing.”

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Meet the Sikuliaq Crew: Tristan Conrad

By Lauren Frisch

Tristan Conrad stands by a large cable drum used by the winches that deploy off the ship’s deck. The winch helps scientists lower instruments into the water to collect samples and measurements. Photo by Lauren Frisch.

Tristan Conrad enjoys using his troubleshooting skills to help keep the R/V Sikuliaq in great condition.

Conrad is an oiler, which is a general maintenance position in the engineering group. He always begins his shift with a round of checks. Starting in the Bridge at the top of the ship and working his way down to the machinery spaces at the very bottom, Conrad checks for the three Fs: fire, flooding, or anything funny looking.

“I may notice a leak, or that the main hot water is low, or that it smells like exhaust somewhere,” Conrad said. “This can help dictate what I do during the course of my shift.”

Conrad and the other engineers rely on the system checks to keep track of what is going on onboard, and must be trained to quickly think on their feet in order to stay ahead of problems. Each day brings a different set of challenges and tasks. Some days he focuses on burning garbage or cleaning the engine room. On others, he may be checking or resetting valves, or conducting maintenance on various pieces of equipment in the engine room.

Conrad likes working on a ship that has smart technology to rapidly alert the engineers to any problems that may be forming onboard.

“We have a huge support system for the ship machinery,” Conrad said. “The computer might say hey, this needs an oil change or hey, you need to grease this,” Conrad said. “With this information, we try to knock those issues out right away.”

Tristan Conrad checks the engine's display that shows information including engine speed, fuel pressure and oil temperatures. Photo by Lauren Frisch.

Conrad’s cousin started working as a deckhand while Conrad was still in high school, which first sparked his interests in working on a ship himself.

“Working on a ship really appealed to me, because I knew I would be able to problem-solve quickly in an environment that was constantly changing, and have the stability of knowing that I could move up the ranks as I continued to get more experience and take more training courses,” Conrad said. “The process is straightforward and the work is exciting.”

Conrad went to a 9-month training program at the Seattle Maritime Academy, which gives students the qualifications necessary to begin working on a research vessel like the Sikuliaq, as well as tug boats and oil tankers. Conrad participated in the program to earn his qualified member of the engine department rating, or QMED, which is required to work as an oiler. He took specialized classes on diesel engines, refrigeration, electricity, ship propulsion, and hydraulics, as well as more general classes on seamanship, survival craft, leadership and management, and steam systems.

Following completion of the program, Conrad worked as an oiler on a commercial fishing ship for a year, and then as an assistant engineer for a few months.

He enjoys the work and atmosphere on the Sikuliaq, but especially appreciates working on a ship with a ballasting system that contributes to a steady ride.

“I didn’t know prior to starting at the Seattle Maritime academy that I got sea sick. That was an interesting discovery. Fortunately, the Sikuliaq rides so steady that I have yet to have issues onboard, which hasn’t been the case with other vessels,” Conrad said.

This photo shows a close-up of chilled water piping that runs throughout the engine room. A water tight door in the background can close manually or remotely from a damage control station in case of flooding. Photo by Lauren Frisch.

 

 

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