Glacier Bay was established as a National Monument in 1925, in part to protect its unique character and natural beauty, but also to create a natural laboratory to examine evolution of the glacial landscape. Today, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is still a place of profound natural beauty and dynamic landscapes. It also remains a focal point for scientific research and includes continuing observations begun decades ago of glacial processes and terrestrial ecosystems. In recent years, research has focused on glacial-marine interactions and ecosystem processes that occur below the surface of the bay. In October 2004, Glacier Bay National Park convened the fourth in a series of science symposiums to provide an opportunity for researchers, managers, interpreters, educators, students and the general public to share knowledge about Glacier Bay. The Fourth Glacier Bay Science Symposium was held in Juneau, Alaska, rather than at the Park, reflecting a desire to maximize attendance and communication among a growing and diverse number of stakeholders interested in science in the park.
More than 400 people attended the symposium. Participants provided 46 oral presentations and 41 posters covering a wide array of disciplines including geology, glaciology, oceanography, wildlife and fisheries biology, terrestrial and marine ecology, socio-cultural research and management issues. A panel discussion focused on the importance of connectivity in Glacier Bay research, and keynote speakers (Gary Davis and Terry Chapin) spoke of long-term monitoring and ecological processes. These proceedings include 56 papers from the symposium. A summary of the Glacier Bay Science Plan-itself a subject of a meeting during the symposium and the result of ongoing discussions between scientists and resource managers-also is provided.
We hope these proceedings illustrate the diversity of completed and ongoing scientific studies, conducted within the Park. To this end, we invited all presenters to submit brief technical summaries of their work, to capture the gist of their study and its main findings without an overload of details and methodology. We also asked authors to include a few words on the management implications of their work to help bridge the gap between scientists and managers in understanding how specific research questions may translate to management practice. Papers in this volume are laid out by subject matter, from terrestrial and freshwater subjects to glacial-marine geology, to the ecology of marine animals and ending with risk assessment, human impacts and science-management considerations. In summary, we hope the proceedings will serve as a useful reference to completed and ongoing studies in Glacier Bay National Park, and thereby provide park enthusiasts, scientists, and managers with a road map of scientific progress.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Proceedings of the Fourth Glacier Bay Science Symposium