“Typically when a bird gets any ice on their body it’s game over.” But not for rock sandpipers overwintering on the mudflats of Cook Inlet, Alaska. Watch new videos about rock sandpipers on FrontierScientists.com featuring science about avian puffballs surviving and thriving despite enduring ice on feathers and feet. Rock sandpipers in Alaska In Cook […]
“We are just trying to get as much experience as we can with research, just delving into science.” Amanda Bonavia was a participant in the National Science Foundation’s program Research Experience for Undergraduates. She studied the boreal forest under the direction of Bjartmar Sveinbjornsson, professor of biological sciences and director of the Environment and Natural […]
On FrontierScientists.com, watch new videos featuring Boreal Forest Research in Alaska: ‘Why So Small?‘, ‘How Tree Needles Age‘, and ‘What Are Stomata?‘. “It isn’t just the climate impacting the vegetation but the vegetation impacting the climate,” Bjartmar Sveinbjornsson explained. “As the globe warms up are the forests going to spread and are they going to […]
“Do you want lots of kelp forests? Than you want sea otters in your system.” “A kelp forest is a forest; it’s like you’re flying through a redwood forest.” Brenda Konar, professor in marine biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, both dives and teaches divers to handle cold […]
Instead of falling to the dozer blade, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program has new life. In mid-August, U.S. Air Force General Tom Masiello shook hands with UAF’s Brian Rogers and Bob McCoy, transferring the powerful upper-atmosphere research facility from the military to the university. You may have heard of HAARP. Nick Begich wrote […]
June 10 2015, 9pm in Alaska, tune in to KAKM Science Wednesdays, Alaska Public Media, for Frontier Scientists’ ARCTIC GROUND SQUIRREL feature. Ground squirrels, described as cute furballs or the perfect yuppie pet, live unusual lives in the Arctic. They survive body temperatures below freezing and use a superpowered internalized clock to stay on schedule. […]
February 24 2015— Slow landslides in permafrost slide downhill on mountain slopes in the Brooks Range of Alaska. These massive frozen debris lobes are geohazards. They pose a potential threat to the Dalton Highway, Alaska’s lone road to the North Slope. There are 23 identified frozen debris lobes situated less than one mile uphill from […]
“Who’s eating our fish?!” Heidi Golden posed in her journalistic record of Arctic Research and Exploration studying Arctic grayling. “From the snow tracks we saw, it’s most likely a fox. Other predators in this area might include, birds, wolverine, ermine and wolves.” Golden is an aquatic ecologist and a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Connecticut, […]
“Something chewed on the casing,” Margaret Darrow explained. “Probably a bear.” Blue chips were scattered from the cracked ABS pipe. Inside the casings that protect the holes drilled in and around frozen debris lobe -A there’s non-toxic propylene glycol. Propylene glycol, this brand a clear greenish liquid, prevents freezing – helpful for scientific instruments – […]
“It’s a very dynamic slope,” Margaret Darrow said, standing in front of frozen debris lobe -A. FDL-A is a slow landslide; among the frozen debris lobes documented it’s the closest to the Dalton Highway and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Although the lobes likely began their life as debris left over when Pleistocene glaciers disappeared 10 to […]
When the machinery mounted to the man-height pole announced “RTK initialized,” the scientists gave a cheer. It was late afternoon and the morning’s downpour had finally cleared. They were gathered in a sunny spot discussing what was still on the agenda for the day when the rover – the pole and its paramount differential GPS […]
Arctic Ground Squirrel Videos The extraordinary life of the Arctic ground squirrel is described by dedicated scientists who study the handsome creatures. In videos:
Less than one mile upslope from Alaska’s Dalton Highway, there are 23 frozen debris lobes looming. Frozen debris lobes (FDLs) are something like a cross between a landslide and a glacier. They’re silty sand and gravel, stones, icy frozen soil as well as liquid water kept from freezing by the intense pressure of the slow-motion push downhill. […]
Whether a species thrives or flags can have resounding consequences. When we think of our changing world, we imagine an ecosystem occupied by organisms which are interlinked.
Arctic ground squirrels may seem like little more than a brief thrill for your dog on a hike up Flat Top, but scientists are convinced they’re worth a serious second look.
Biology major Brady Salli spends seven days a week in the vivarium making sure UAA’s arctic ground squirrels are fed, watered and, for those that are hibernating, tucked snugly into clean cotton batting. The kicker? He has to maintain a random schedule so the animals don’t “cheat” off of him. Professor Loren Buck, Department of […]
Jonathan Perez stands in a remote part of Alaska’s North Slope while White-Crowned Sparrows sing from surrounding shrubs and a Jaeger flies overhead, calling. Perez is listening to the bird calls, recording what species sound out and how many individuals are singing. Next to him, an automated device is attempting to do the same.
Geothermal energy isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when I hear of Nome, Alaska. I think of the event the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race commemorates: a 1925 relay of sled dog drivers and their teams who delivered diptheria serum to the stricken gold-rush town, braving blizzards. I think of the extremely […]
Even Wacky Weather doesn’t stop bird migration to Alaska. Scientists on the north side of the Brooks Range at Toolik Field Station find the birds which made it over the mountains have located their nests, indicating procreation has begun.
Vacuuming at home isn’t too edifying. How about vacuuming the Alaska tundra to snag a bag full of bugs? That’s an entirely different story. Ashley Asmus, graduate research assistant at the University of Texas at Arlington, is using a huge reverse leaf blower to collect the bugs she’ll study.
Googling HAARP used to be useless, which was astonishing for someone of my generation. Even now, most results outline the conspiracy theories behind the $300,000,0000 facility in rural Alaska. Occasionally my good friend and coworker, Dr. Chris Fallen, spoke about HAARP and his experiments there.
On the tundra a wire walk-in trap has been placed over seed scattered atop icy Alaskan ground. A Longspur alights nearby. It twists its head to eye the seed, hops inside then briefly flaps – unsettled by the trap door closing behind it. The Longspur settles and eyes the ground again, beginning to peck. PhD student Jesse Krause, a researcher […]
The Arctic is blanketed in snow for 9 to 10 months of the year. Then in May or June, with the Sun shining long overhead, snow melt comes sudden. Mathew Sturm, professor of Geophysics, University of Alaska, Geophysics Institute says the world of the Arctic can go from “White to dark in a space of […]
Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Jason Dobkowski stands on the shores of Wolverine Lake. His research site is located in the North Slope of Alaska, nestled near the remote foothills of the Brooks Range. “I’m here studying permafrost thaw slump which is depositing silt and material into the lake behind me. And that material, […]
Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Multiple instruments, configured along a tram-like platform, sense the tundra below and gather detailed data while traveling along a 50 meter transect. “We are gathering measurements that we don’t know exactly how they will be used,” said Steven Oberbauer, professor of biological sciences at Florida International University. The high […]
Azara Mohammadi for Frontier Scientists – In 1996, Dr. Kate Hedstrom travelled to Norway to “Sit on Paul Budgell’s steps,” as she says. She went there to get a piece of code recently improved by Paul Budgell. “He promised his model and I went to Norway to get it!” says Kate. Hedstrom is an Oceanographic […]
Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Polar waters are unpredictable. The Antarctic rescue operation currently underway illustrates that fact thoroughly; the United States Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star is en route to rescue the Russian research ship Akademik Shokalskiy and the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long which earlier came to the aid of the beleaguered Russian […]
On a cool spring morning in the mountains of southwest Washington, 12-year old Cathy Cahill helped her dad plant scientific instruments around the base of trembling Mount St. Helens. A few days later, the volcano blew
Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – There’s a new Titanic under construction: a grandiose ocean liner, maiden voyage set for 2016. The Australian billionaire undertaking the project intends Titanic II to be a near-perfect replica of the original RMS Titanic, the ill-fated steamship which sank in 1912 after striking an iceberg. The disaster claimed over 1,500 lives. […]
Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Kenji Yoshikawa will soon sleep on brilliant, blue-white landscape that has never felt the imprint of his boots. Beginning on spring equinox, the permafrost scientist and a partner will attempt to drive snowmachines from Prudhoe Bay to Canada’s Baffin Island. While traveling a distance equal to Seattle to Tokyo to […]
Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – James Cameron seamlessly merged the movie-making world with the science world in his talk at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) December annual conference in San Francisco. While movie goers suspend disbelief as they immerse themselves into this director’s blockbuster worlds in The Abyss, Alien, Avatar, and Titanic, skeptical scientists […]
Marie Thoms for UAF Cornerstone – Artists and scientists often share a common goal: making the invisible visible. Yet artistically talented students, especially girls, often shy away from scientific careers. A new four-year program led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks blends the art, biology and physics of color into a series of summer academies, […]
Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists The Bering Sea region hosts over 90% of seabirds breeding in the continental United States. Most of those birds are hardy migrators, breeding on Alaska’s coast in the warm season and then departing south, chased away by the cold weather. One group which remains is Guillemots, a type of seabird […]
Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Fairbanks, Alaska, November 6, 2012 – The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has a new CRAY Supercomputer Called FISH. As ARSC transitions from a centralized machine to a strategically upgradeable hybrid system, they advance scientific discovery. It is a large scale upgrade to benefit research. Scientists who use […]
Marie Thoms for UAF Cornerstone – University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists have identified what they think is the ancestral trait that allowed for the evolution of air breathing in vertebrates. They presented their research at the 42nd annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience Oct. 17 in New Orleans. “To breathe air with a lung, […]
Laura Nielsen for Frontier Scientists – Over eight thousand historical maps of Alaska are now available to the public through the United States Geological Survey’s Historical Topographic Map Collection. The collection includes maps of Alaska crafted as long ago as 1899, maps created to commemorate Alaska’s induction into statehood in January 1959, and more. Records of […]
Laura Nielsen for FrontierScientists We know that the Arctic holds unique climate conditions and a complex carbon balance. Tundra fires and thawing permafrost release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while unique ocean currents and cold waters prompt higher levels of ocean acidification. Methane emerges from sea and soil. The Arctic sea ice cover shrinks to increasingly startling extents. Plant life […]
Liz O’Connell for Frontier Scientists – Fairbanks, Alaska, October 2, 2012 – “As Alaska’s Research University UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks) must continue to provide the best tools, ARSC is one of the most important tools available,” said Brian Rogers, Chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. And the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center’s new tool […]
Laura Nielsen for FrontierScientists – This week is International Polar Week, September 16 – 22, 2012. The event coincides with the Fall Equinox, when 12 hours of daylight will light every location on the planet. Polar Week aims to involve the public with research going on in the Artic and Antarctic through educational activities and […]
August 14, 2012— Three videos detail the Unmanned Aircraft work from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). In March, Greg Walker, UAF’s Unmanned Aircraft Program Manager, led research in the Aleutians. Walker flies the UAVs in just about all conditions except freezing rain which would stick to delicate equipment. “We’ve regularly flown in showers, we’ve […]
Ned Rozell for UAFGI – Marc Mueller-Stoffels unscrews the top of a glass jar and invites a visitor to smell the powder inside. A sniff evokes the image of kayaking Prince William Sound or walking a beach in Southeast. “We call it ‘Instant Ocean,’” he says, returning the lid to the jar. Mueller-Stoffels, a doctoral […]
Marie Gilbert for UAF Cornerstone – As the Arctic warms, greenhouse gases will be released from thawing permafrost faster and at significantly higher levels than previous estimates, according to survey results from 41 international scientists published in the Nov. 30 issue of the journal Nature. Permafrost thaw will release approximately the same amount of carbon […]
July 10, 2012– “To this point no one has much of any terrestrial record anywhere in the Arctic older than 125,000 years ago” said Julie Brigham-Grette, University of Massachusetts Amherst as she describes findings from the Lake El’gygytgyn (or Lake E) project to Office of Polar Programs Board Meeting at the National Science Foundation. Brigham-Grette […]
Speeding over Arctic sea ice, small remote-controlled aircraft snag video footage and high-definition shots of endangered Steller Sea Lions in their natural habitat. Quiet and unobtrusive, the machines can serve as Special Op.s for researchers. Low-altitude remote sensing using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has vast potential… and we’re only beginning to explore it. Gregory Walker, […]
Liz O’Connell for FrontierScientists – Fairbanks, Alaska, June , 2012– “So our job is to get it out there, get exposure to the technology, get people to understand it’s benefits and its limitations. And see how it can solve their problems.” said Greg Walker, Unmanned Aircraft Program Manager at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Impressively […]
By Carin Ashjian for The Arctic Winter Cruise 2011 We docked at a little after 1400 yesterday. The end of a cruise is always sad but at the same time welcome. Cruises are exhausting, so much energy is expended taking advantage of every available opportunity and sample. Now we must re-enter the real world. There […]
By Carin Ashjian for The Arctic Winter Cruise 2011 I didn’t quite expect the Bering Sea to be quite this nasty in December. Bad yes, but perhaps a few hours to sneak in a few samples before roaring in again with another storm. No such luck, the storms are just rolling in like freight trains. […]
By Carin Ashjian for The Arctic Winter Cruise 2011 Another day, another storm. The Bering Sea is relentless! We managed to sneak in three stations yesterday afternoon and early this morning but then the weather deteriorated and our sampling operations were shut down again. This time we were out in the open, far from the […]
At current (Aug 01, 2011), the Alaska Volcano Observatory’s website status report has an advisory listed for Mount Cleveland: “A weak thermal anomaly was observed in satellite images of Cleveland over the past day… Short-lived explosions with ash clouds that could exceed 20,000 ft above sea level can occur without warning
With active volcanoes as close as 80 miles of Anchorage city limits, Alaskans are grateful for the professional volcano watchers who work in a nondescript building on the campus of Alaska Pacific University, topped with a massive array of tracking and communication instruments. “The August 18, 1992 Spurr eruption, sent an ash cloud here that […]
The scientists at the United States Geological Survey – Alaska Volcano Observatory (USGS-AVO) in Anchorage, Alaska don’t only have an impressive title – volcanologists – they also pursue an engaging, challenging career. Alaska contains over 130 volcanoes and volcanic fields.
Our plan: a two-day video shoot to Cape Alitak on Kodiak Island in May 2010 to document the petroglyphs under study by the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Preserve. We had the best possible guides–the head researcher studying the rock art, anthropologist Sven Haakanson and his museum crew–to help us complete the scripted story we wanted […]