The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island’s (ACPSI) Bering Sea Research Center (BSRC) accelerates the advancement of place-based, community-driven research by bridging Indigenous and Western sciences for a regenerative future.
ACSPI’s Community Vision for Research is to be a world-class research center serving tribal-led research and monitoring activities and to build meaningful partnerships with external agencies and academic researchers. St. Paul has worked persistently to establish an island-based research center for over three decades. In the early 2000s, a research center investment was considered by both federal and local partners as part of a crab disaster relief program following the collapse of the snow (or opilio) crab stocks. From 2017-2022 the Tribal Government of St. Paul Island, with local partner Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association (CBSFA), completed major infrastructure projects necessary to support the Bering Sea research center on St. Paul. In total, and with some federal assistance, over $20M was invested into shoreside facilities, docks, vessels, housing, and STEM education.
The BSRC will help establish tribal-led and Indigenous-inclusive research and monitoring activities, further building capacity for entire organizations and regions to actively address data gaps and engage in landscape-level conservation and ecosystem management in the Bering Sea. The BSRC specializes in place-based science within the Arctic and Bering Sea, building a capacity in a vital developing and nationally important region.
By investing in place-based facilities to improve Arctic research, the project will connect researchers not only with the ecosystem they are studying, but also with the community members that have an immense wealth of knowledge rooted in lived experience. The BSRC will serve not only as a physical space for partners to come and study the ecosystems and climate, but it will serve as a knowledge exchange and learning hub, as our facilities are positioned in the center of the Bering Sea ecosystem and within the St. Paul Island community itself, and our infrastructure is positioned at the nexus of many coalescing disciplines. Investing in a place-based research will respond to a growing need to increase continuity, collaboration, and trust among researchers, local communities, and Indigenous knowledge holders.
The BSRC leverages the Indigenous Sentinels Network (ISN) by continuing to expand it’s various community-driven monitoring programs, such as the Skipper Science program, by developing projects that will feed into and advance St. Paul’s existing database and monitoring tools. ISN has decades of experience in supporting community-driven monitoring programs and organizing regular coordination meetings among various partners and entities. The BSRC will add further capacity and opportunities for data-driven innovation where fast-paced research-centered project activities can be easily incorporated and supported by new and existing ISN communities and technology.
Additionally, the BSRC will also strengthen and expand other ACSPI research and initiatives including: