About the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Brief Description of the Unit
The Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is part of a nation-wide
cooperative program, initiated in 1935, to promote research and graduate
student training in the ecology and management of fish, wildlife and
their habitats. The Alaska Unit, formed in 1991 by a merger of the Alaska
Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit (est. 1950) and Alaska Cooperative
Fishery Research Unit (est. 1978), exists by cooperative agreement among
the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Alaska Department of Fish and
Game (ADFG), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the University
of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI).
Located on the UAF campus and administered through the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology,
the Alaska Unit is staffed by USGS-salaried scientists who hold regular faculty appointments and
UAF-salaried personnel who provide administrative support. The WMI serves as a liaison among Unit
cooperators nation-wide and as an independent voice for the Units on Capitol Hill. Research funds
are provided annually by the ADFG, and through grants and contracts obtained by Unit scientists and
cooperating faculty. Agencies of the U.S. Departments of Interior and Defense are primary sources of
federal research funds for the Alaska Unit.
At present, the Alaska Unit sponsors 44 projects and 30 graduate students in research topically
ranging from productivity of fish and wildlife populations to effects of contaminants on coastal
ecosystems, and geographically from southeast Alaska rain forests to the tundra of southwest Alaska
and the North Slope. A Unit Coordinating Committee, composed of ADFG, UAF, USFWS, USGS, and WMI
representatives, oversees the mission and program of the Unit.
Statement of Direction
The research program of the Unit will be aimed at understanding the
ecology of Alaska's fish and wildlife; evaluating impacts of land
use and development on these resources; and relating effects of social
and economic needs to production and harvest of natural populations.
In addition to the expected Unit functions of graduate student training/
instruction and technical assistance, research efforts will be directed
at problems of productivity, socioeconomic impacts, and perturbation
on fish and wildlife populations, their habitats and ecosystems. Fisheries
research will emphasize water quality, habitat characteristics, and
life history requirements of arctic and subarctic fish populations.
Wildlife research will focus on evaluation of habitat quality and ecology
of northern birds and mammals. Unit research will also be directed
at integrated studies of fish and wildlife at the ecosystem