Oceans and seas

Chukchi Sea

May 14, 2013, 1:35 pm
Content Cover Image

Scientists walk on Arctic sea ice near melt ponds in the Chukchi Sea. Source: NASA

The Chukchi Sea is a saline marine water body bounded on the west by Russia and on the east by the USA state of Alaska.

This marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean connects to the Bering Sea in the northern Pacific Ocean via the Bering Strait. The the east is the Beaufort Sea.

As with other parts of the Arctic, the Chukchi basin is overlain by pack ice most of the year, making it an ideal marine foraging and hunting ground for the Polar bear.

caption Source: Wikimedia Commons

Marine ecology

See: Chukchi Sea large marine ecosystem

Primary biological productivity is greatest in the southern extremities at the entrance to the Bering Strait; moreover, it is also high along the Alaskan coastal zone and the Russian Chukotka coastline, particularly near Point Hope and Cape Lisburne. Elevated benthic biomass is found in the northeastern and south-central Chukchi Basin.

In addition to the Polar bear, there are a number of other marine mammals that frequent the Chukchi Sea basin. Walruses, for example, appear in large numbers in the Chukchi Sea in the summer, having migrated through the Bering Strait. Ribbon seals appear in considerable numbers in the coastal zone of the Chukchi Sea in the warmer months, congregating along lagoons and estuaries of the sea margin. Beluga, Bowhead whales,Gray whales,Fin whales, Harbour porpoises, and Spotted seals are other marine mammals found in the the Chkchi Sea.

See: Management and conservation of marine mammals and seabirds in the Arctic

Energy resources

The Chukchi Basin contains an estimated thirty billion barrels of oil and natural gas at subsea locations. See: Offshore drilling in the Arctic: background and issues for the future consideration of oil and gas activities


  • C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Polar Bear: Ursus maritimus, Globaltwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg
  • Leonid Polyak, Dennis A Darby, Jens F Bischof, and Martin Jakobsson. 2007. Stratigraphic Constraints on Late Pleistocene Glacial Erosion and Deglaciation of the Chukchi Margin, Arctic Ocean. Quaternary Research. 67, no. 2: 234.
  • V.A.Vinogradov, E.A.Gusev and B.G.Lopatin. Structure of the Russian Eastern Arctic Shelf. All Russia Geological Institute for Geology and Mineral Resources of World Ocean. St. Petersburg, Russia


Hogan, C. (2013). Chukchi Sea. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/151115


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