Scientific objectives

Study of sedimentary records from the Bering Sea will provide an understanding of

  1. The evolution of Pliocene–Pleistocene surface water conditions, paleoproductivity, and sea ice coverage, including millennial- to Milankovitch-scale oscillations;
  2. The history of past production of Pacific intermediate and/or deep water masses within the marginal sea and its link to surface water processes;
  3. Interactions between marginal sea conditions and continental climate.;
  4. Linkages between processes in the marginal sea (e.g., variations in deep water formation or water mass exchange through gateways) and changes in the pelagic Pacific; and
  5. Possible effects of the history of ocean/climate of the Bering Strait Gateway region on the North Pacific and global conditions.

These scientific objectives will focus on both long-term ocean and climate trends and the evolution of higher frequency glacial–interglacial to millennial-scale oscillations through the Pliocene–Pleistocene.

Expedition 323 will also target the scientific objectives of IODP Ancillary Program Letter #739, "Microbial respiration, biomass, and community composition in subseafloor sediment of the very high-productivity Bering Sea." APL #739 aims at constraining global models of organic-fueled subseafloor respiration, subseafloor biomass, and the impact of subseafloor microbes on global biogeochemical fluxes in an extremely high productivity region. APL #739 is available in the "Precruise Information" section at