Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTER

member of the U.S. Long Term Ecological Research Network

lagoon photo
Coastal lagoons along the Eastern Beaufort Sea (courtesy of Susan Schonberg)

This project establishes a new Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program along the northern Alaskan Arctic coastline in the Beaufort Sea. Lagoon systems encompass more than 50% of the Beaufort Sea coast, providing food and habitat for large populations of migratory fish and waterfowl that are essential to the culture of Inupiat communities of northern Alaska. We believe that the differential availability of seasonally distinct resources is critical for maintaining the high productivity of these ecosystems.

Ph.D. Assistantship in Arctic Estuarine Ecology

A Ph.D. research assistantship is available (beginning summer 2019) in Ken Dunton’s lab at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute. This position is part of an interdisciplinary program funded by the National Science Foundation to study the benthic ecology of Beaufort Sea lagoons within a newly established LTER located on Alaska’s northern Arctic coast. The student’s research would focus on the resilience of Arctic estuarine benthic communities, with emphasis on how intertidal and subtidal communities respond to extremes in ice, salinity, and hypoxia. This includes studies that examine seasonal and spatial patterns in invertebrate population structure to address mechanisms of persistence, migration, recovery, and trophic linkages with key consumers. We seek applicants with a background in estuarine and/or marine science with a degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, or closely related fields. The student is expected to develop an integrative field and experimental project that incorporates fundamentally new and innovative approaches to questions of disturbance and resilience in benthic populations. Applicants should have a strong academic background, show evidence of independent work in the field and/or lab, and demonstrate a capacity to contribute to a collaborative research environment. For more information, please email a statement of interest/background and a copy of your CV to Ken Dunton ( Note that students are encouraged to submit their formal applications to the UT Graduate School no later than December 10, 2018.

See also:
Dunton Lab:
UTMSI graduate program:

2018 Summer Field Season

This summer marked our inaugural sampling season during which researchers and their students deployed to the three research nodes along the Beaufort Sea coast: Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Deadhorse, and Kaktovik. The summer culminated with the Kaktovik Oceanography Program held for a week in August with the village's young students. Project Investigators, Program Managers, and two teachers from Texas hosted the students and spent a week learning about their local marine environment.

As research progresses, we'll share key findings, datasets, and publications on this website.



investigators working on the project this summer


universities represented on the project


research nodes: Utqiagvik, Deadhorse, and Kaktovik


kilometers of coastline studied