NOAA chief science advisor to address AMSS

Second day of symposium focuses on the Gulf of Alaska

Keynote presenters for the 2020 Alaska Marine Science Symposium, set for Jan. 27-31 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, will include Francisco Werner, a top scientist with NOAA Fisheries, and Maija Katak Lukin, superintendent of Western Arctic Parklands.

The annual event features presentations related to the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and the Arctic, on topics ranging from ocean physics, fisheries, invertebrates, seabirds and marine mammals to local traditional knowledge.

Werner has served since June 2017 as director of scientific programs and chief science advisor for NOAA Fisheries. In that capacity, he leads the federal agency’s efforts in support of sustainable fisheries and ecosystems, plus efforts to end overfishing, rebuild fish populations, protect critically endangered species and preserve vital marine habitat.

Prior to joining NOAA Fisheries, Werner was the director of the Institute of Marine and Coastal Studies at Rutgers University. His research has focused on development and implementation of numerical models of ocean circulation and ocean forecasting systems. Werner has also published numerous reports on marine ecosystems and commercially important species in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Lukin, who is Inupiaq, is a former tribal environmental manager for Maniilaq Association and a former mayor of Kotzebue. As the park superintendent she presides over 9.2 million acres of federal lands in Northwest Alaska, including Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Kobuk Valley National Park and Noatak National Preserve. Her responsibilities include protecting the natural and cultural resources within the parks, building community relationships, subsistence management and preparing for change as the Arctic climate warms.

She resides in Kotzebue with her husband and four children.


Gulf of Alaska issues will be the focus on Jan. 28, the second day of the symposium.

Presenters will include NOAA Fisheries biologist Steven Barbeaux, who will discuss a disaster in the making: heatwaves and Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska, and University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor Emeritus Gordon Kruse, on developing a NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program for coastal communities in the Gulf of Alaska.

A complete list of presenters at the conference is online at – keynote. Poster sessions for the symposium will be held Jan. 27-28 at the Egan Center, just a few blocks from Hotel Captain Cook in downtown Anchorage.

The North Pacific Research Board, based in Anchorage, is a sponsor and one of the leading organizers of the symposium. Supporting organizations include the Alaska Ocean Observing System, also with offices in Anchorage.

In the interests of conservation, a great deal of symposium information is now posted online, from biographies of keynote speakers to workshop details and more.

Those interested in attending should register online at