Arctic researchers to study wind effects on marine life

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Scientists on board a federal research ship will depart for the Arctic Ocean this week to study how changing winds affect plant and animal species.

The Sikuliaq will depart Friday from Nome for the Beaufort Sea.

Chief scientist Carin Ashjian of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says researchers will study waters over the break between the continental shelf and the Arctic Ocean.

Climate warming has left the Arctic Ocean with far less sea ice. Researchers will study how strong winds push warm surface water north off the shelf to be replaced by deep, cold water rich with plankton.

Scientists theorize that the upwelling of plankton attracts fish such as Arctic cod, and that beluga whales and seabirds head to the shelf break to feed on cod.