What is BioMap Alaska?

BioMap Alaska is a citizen science observation and information management tool. BioMap Alaska engages residents of coastal communities to voluntarily report observations and local knowledge of marine life. This project is intended to improve and expand upon science based monitoring activities, and to further cooperation and collaboration among local people, researchers, and resource managers. We provide a field guide of “species of interest” on which we are seeking information and web-based data logging so that that observers can enter their observations and view these on an online map. Anyone who is interested can view the BioMap data.

Why do we need BioMap Alaska?

There are ongoing and significant ocean environment and ecosystem changes in northern waters. Species are expanding historic ranges with warming seas. Species are moving in response to sea ice loss. Increasing maritime commerce creates the potential for transporting and releasing non-indigenous species to new environments, species that may be harmful to the local environment or community economies. To learn more about these changes, BioMap Alaska is asking you, Alaskan residents and stakeholders of our marine resources, to share your knowledge about where you live and what you are seeing. Alaska coastal residents have environmental and ecological knowledge that is vital to understanding what is happening in our waters. As local residents, you are constant observers of these land and sea environments and you experience their changes directly. You are able to observe the seasons, the weather, and animal migrations over years and generations. Through BioMap Alaska, citizens, scientists, and resource managers can work together to collect and use information that is relevant to your lives along these coasts, to identify problems stemming from environmental change and to explore solutions to those problems. BioMap Alaska also encourages everyone who is interested to use the BioMap Alaska database information and mapping tools.