UA Research Across Alaska

This page showcases UA research projects in the Arctic, Interior, Southcentral, Southeast and Southwest Alaska.

Southwest
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Jobs, Tourism  

In 2013, the average age of Alaska fishery permit holders was 49.7 years, up ten years since 1980. As many Alaska fishery permit holders approach retirement age, next generation fishing will greatly impact coastal communities. UA is approaching the problem of the “graying of the fleet,” and developing alternatives to address this growing problem.

Southeast
Focus Area(s): Lands and Waterways, Quality of Life, Resource Development  

We are informing forest managers and mill operators on the extent of the decline of this commercially and culturally valuable species. This includes future risk assessment, regeneration potential, and opportunities for salvage logging.

Arctic
Focus Area(s): Health and Safety, Jobs, Quality of Life  

Getting fiber optic cable onshore in Arctic Alaska requires detailed understanding of the ways sea ice can damage cables in areas of shallow water. Working with industry lead Quintillion Networks, researchers at UAA and UAF have helped evaluate threats from sea ice and identify the safest routes to bring fast access to Arctic Alaska. 

Arctic, Interior, Southcentral, Southeast, Southwest
Focus Area(s): Jobs, Lands and Waterways, Resource Development  

Our researchers at UAF are developing and supporting the Advanced Laboratory and Field Arrays for Marine Energy project to address critical needs for lowering the cost of river and ocean energy converters, and to advance hydrokinetic energy’s role in global renewable energy.

Southeast
Focus Area(s): Jobs, Quality of Life  

UA partners with NOAA’s Alaska Sea Grant, the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and the Central Council Tlingit Haida Indian Association to support ongoing adaptation approaches, including the Southeast Alaska Climate Adaptation Planning Summit in September 2016 (Ketchikan). Tribes have learned from each other about overcoming barriers to adaptation, impacts on subsistence and cultural resources, identifying climate adaptation strategies and drafting work plans for short-term adaptations.

Arctic
Focus Area(s): Health and Safety, Quality of Life  

UA is providing ethnographic pictures of the ways in which Alaska Native communities respond to rapid environmental and socio-economic change, while holding on to core values in the face of uncertainty.

Southcentral
Focus Area(s): Health and Safety, Resource Development, Roads, Bridges and the Built Environment  

UA is providing definitive earthquake information to the public, emergency managers, scientists and engineers. This information is derived from a network of seismic monitoring stations that we operate across the state. Based on a mandate from the Alaska Legislature and the many stakeholders we support with data, products and outreach, UAF’s Alaska Earthquake Center ensures safe and economically sound construction, maintenance and long-term operation of Alaska infrastructure; on-site monitoring for major facilities (pipelines, mines, and military installations); and tsunami mapping, thus enabling evacuation planning in nearly every major Alaska coastal community.

Arctic
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Lands and Waterways, Quality of Life  

Human access routes to coastal Arctic subsistence resources are changing and disappearing as temperatures warm. Our Fisheries Center is studying subsistence users’ access to marine resources in the coastal Western Arctic National Parklands. The work helps the Parks Service in managing subsistence use during times of rapid change.

Southcentral
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Tourism  

Southeast Alaska has some of the world’s highest rates of glacial volume loss. 

This collaboration between UA and the US Geological Survey has improved our understanding of the roles glaciers play in Gulf of Alaska coastal systems, and their impacts on the tourism and salmon fishery industries — each of which provide $1 billion in annual economic activity to Alaska.

Southeast
Focus Area(s): Lands and Waterways, Roads, Bridges and the Built Environment  

UA researchers closely monitor the region’s Suicide Basin and Mendenhall River, which have experienced dramatic outburst floods (or jökulhlaups) from the Mendenhall Glacier, affecting valley populations and infrastructure in Juneau. These monitoring efforts provide essential information to communities and partner agencies, and aid prediction, mitigation and preparation efforts.

Southcentral
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Jobs  

Based on analysis by oceanographers, fisheries biologists and modelers, a multi-year study of young groundfishes (walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, sablefish, and arrowtooth flounder) is now helping enhance Gulf fisheries stock assessments by including broader and more complex ecosystem information.

Southwest
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Lands and Waterways  

UA is developing and deploying new tools for monitoring coastal marine ecosystems to ensure that healthy resources remain widely available to Alaskans.

Southwest
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Health and Safety, Quality of Life  

In partnership with the Nome Eskimo Community, UAF researchers are working with the Native Villages of Solomon and Council and the King Island Native Community to identify and discuss recent changes in conditions and ways to adapt, develop detailed plans and share information with other rural Alaska and Native communities.

Interior, Southwest
Focus Area(s): Health and Safety, Lands and Waterways, Resource Development  

For the first time, UA is testing and providing specific and short-term forecast products for fire managers in Alaska. Methods used in the western US to evaluate lightning ignition risk are now being tested in Alaska. These products are essential to Alaska fire manager decisions regarding how and where to allocate resources, saving money and keeping Alaskans safe.

Southcentral
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Jobs, Tourism  

Pacific halibut supports valuable commercial, sport and subsistence fisheries throughout the Gulf of Alaska. Declining halibut stocks over the past 20 years has led to increased restrictions for commercial and sport fisheries. Are halibut competing for shared resources with a burgeoning population of arrowtooth flounder? UAF is examining resource partitioning between arrowtooth flounder and Pacific halibut to better understand their potential competition for shared prey, including walleye pollock.

Southwest
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Lands and Waterways  

UA scientists are examining how important fisheries resources respond to changes in ocean chemistry such as ocean acidification. Given the importance of these resources to local and statewide economies, such knowledge of risks from both socioeconomic and biochemical perspectives is essential.

Arctic
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Lands and Waterways  

UA scientists are examining how important fisheries resources respond to changes in ocean chemistry, including ocean acidification. Given the importance of these resources to local and statewide economies, such knowledge of risks from both socioeconomic and biochemical perspectives is essential.

Interior
Focus Area(s): Health and Safety, Lands and Waterways, Quality of Life, Roads, Bridges and the Built Environment  

Based in the thorough, investigative work of one of our own PhD students, UA is studying how to improve preparedness and response to annual springtime flooding in Alaska and other high-latitude regions. We are developing effective and easily adaptable flood risk mitigation and disaster response and recovery strategies, for use in rural Alaska communities and elsewhere.

Southwest
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Jobs  

UA researchers are using genetic markers to better identify types of western Alaska chum salmon (Norton Sound, Lower Yukon, Kuskokwim, Bristol Bay) and studying competition between these fish and stocks native to Russia and Japan. UAF research helps determine risks by linking exposure to natural hazards and the vulnerability of communities. 

Southeast
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Quality of Life  

Local and traditional knowledge is being combined with scientific data to provide information for managing Alaska’s nearshore fisheries. Through interviews with resource users, UA is documenting knowledge from fishers in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska to assess long-term trends in abundance and body size for groundfish, salmon and crab species.

Southeast
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Tourism  

Nearshore ecosystems are often overlooked in acidification studies, even though these habitats are crucial in planning for mariculture operation, fisheries monitoring, harmful algal blooms and paralytic shellfish poisoning. In this most extensive ferry-based ocean chemistry monitoring project in North America, UA is providing unparalleled, broad, and long-term coverage of nearshore marine habitats from Bellingham, WA to Skagway, AK.

Arctic
Focus Area(s): Lands and Waterways, Resource Development, Tourism  

UA is partnering with shipping companies to better understand strong wind events and develop forecast tools for industry. Marine transporters in Alaska and the North Pacific need tailored information about sailing conditions. UAF’s new products enable quicker “go/no-go” decisions, as well as monthly to seasonal outlooks for scheduling and routing.

Southwest
Focus Area(s): Lands and Waterways, Resource Development, Tourism  

UA is partnering with shipping companies to better understand strong wind events and develop forecast tools for industry. Marine transporters in Alaska and the North Pacific need tailored information about sailing conditions. UAF’s new products enable quicker “go/no-go” decisions, as well as monthly to seasonal outlooks for scheduling and routing.

Arctic
Focus Area(s): Lands and Waterways, Quality of Life, Resource Development  

Our university helps put in place and support many different partnerships to guide research and share research findings. Here, UAF helped support and evaluate a research partnership between North Slope communities and industry. This collaboration helped bring together North Slope experts and scientists to provide information in support of responsible oil and gas development in the Arctic.

Interior, Southcentral
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Health and Safety, Roads, Bridges and the Built Environment  

UA is developing a statistical understanding of how storms and other extreme events (wildfire, coastal erosion, flooding) are projected to change for Alaska in our current century. This is enabling us to better understand the connections between exposure to natural hazards and human vulnerability.

Southeast
Focus Area(s): Food Security, Jobs  

Recreational fishing contributes approximately $1.4 billion per year to coastal communities in Alaska. UA is studying patterns of responses to regulatory, environmental, and socioeconomic changes in Alaska halibut and salmon fisheries over the last three decades. This will help managers and stakeholders to better understand how future changes will affect the welfare of fishing communities in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska.

Interior, Southeast
Focus Area(s): Health and Safety, Resource Development  

UA promotes safe and effective mine rescue operations by developing unmanned ground vehicles and aircraft systems for mine rescue operations and safety training to improve Alaska’s underground mining operations.

Focus Area(s): Health and Safety, Jobs, Resource Development  

UA researchers are working with the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association to help the 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska prepare for and respond to changing conditions through adaptation and outreach. We are using research to identify tribal climate science needs, support adaptation planning and link tribal needs. 

Arctic, Interior
Focus Area(s): Quality of Life, Resource Development, Roads, Bridges and the Built Environment  

Faced with energy costs four to 10 times the national average, rural Alaska community power grids are the focus of UAF work to develop kinetic energy storage systems. With high power density and a practically unlimited life cycle, these systems allow grids to meet demand with an ultimate reduction in diesel fuel consumption.

Southcentral
Focus Area(s): Health and Safety, Tourism  

The Alaska Volcano Observatory at UAF analyzes satellite data twice daily for thermal anomalies and ash plumes for about 80 volcanoes in the North Pacific. Thermal anomalies at volcanic vents have been detected up to several weeks before large eruptions. Volcanic ash in the atmosphere is a serious hazard to jet aircraft; working with the National Weather Service to predict where winds will carry the ash, UA assists the Federal Aviation Administration in warning pilots of potential risks.

Arctic, Interior, Southcentral, Southeast, Southwest
Focus Area(s): Jobs, Quality of Life, Resource Development  

UA is forecasting and assessing the nature and scope of climate change impacts on the Alaska economy into the next 30–50 years. We’re tackling these tough questions: What is known and unknown about the economic effects of Alaska’s changing climate? What additional research, data collection and information gathering are necessary to fill these information gaps?

Southeast
Focus Area(s): Lands and Waterways, Roads, Bridges and the Built Environment  

After the fatal 2015 Sitka landslide, researchers have been assessing risk from landslides that arise from changing Pacific storm patterns. As with wildfire, landslides represent a widespread disturbance pattern that’s experiencing shifts due to climate. UA is examining how these large-scale changes can affect capacities for ecosystem and community resilience.