Latest Research News and Events

November 20, 2017

Gaps in Arctic temperature data caused a misperception that global warming slowed from 1998 to 2012, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change. A University of Alaska Fairbanks professor and his colleagues in China built the first data set of surface temperatures from across the world that significantly improves representation of the Arctic during the “global warming hiatus.” Xiangdong Zhang, an atmospheric scientist with UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, said he collaborated with colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Chinese agencies studying Arctic warming to analyze temperature data collected from buoys drifting in the Arctic Ocean. “We recalculated the average global temperatures from 1998-2012... read more
November 13, 2017

<i>Photo by Josh Hartman</i><br>Eric Stevens, right, participates in a stand-up meeting with Geographic Information Network of Alaska staff. Others pictured include, left to right, Dayne Broderson, Vanessa Raymond, Will Fisher, Oralee Nudson and Pete Hickman. GINA turns satellite data into images that can be used by the National Weather Service and other organizations.

A satellite team that included Eric Stevens, a satellite data liaison at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will receive one of NASA’s most prestigious awards on Oct. 25. Stevens helped during launch of the GOES-R satellite in November 2016. The GOES-R team will receive the 2017 Group Achievement Award at NASA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters Wednesday. The GOES-R, since renamed GOES-16, is the most advanced geostationary satellite the United States has ever launched. The award goes to over 500 people on the GOES-R team, including engineers, scientists and liaisons. Stevens works at the Geographical Information Network of Alaska, which is based at UAF’s Geophysical Institute. “It truly is an honor to be recognized by NASA for this work... read more
November 10, 2017

Paul Layer

CNSM Dean Paul Layer has been appointed as the interim vice president for academic and student affairs at the University of Alaska. That position was vacated when Daniel M. White became chancellor at UAF. Layer’s duties will begin Monday, Nov. 13. The temporary assignment will allow UA more time to select a permanent vice president in spring 2018. Provost Susan Henrichs will assemble a committee to conduct an internal search to fill the CNSM dean position on an interim basis. For more information contact the Provost’s Office at
November 7, 2017

Download text and photo captions here. Given that a small Weddell seal can weigh 850 pounds, Roxanne Beltran didn’t mind carrying a fabric model of one filled with 25 pounds of cotton stuffing. The University of Alaska Fairbanks doctoral student toted the hand-sewn prop — named Patches — to many elementary schools in Alaska. She fielded hundreds of questions about her research on the Antarctic seals. But there was one question from a third-grader in Fairbanks’ Ticasuk Brown Elementary School that Beltran decided needed a 750-word reply. “A student asked if I would write a kids book about Patches so that her dad could read it to her every night,” Beltran said. “I came home that night and told my fiancé Patrick that we have to write a book... read more
November 1, 2017

Alaska Sea Grant has received funding to help marine aquaculture businesses in the state find good locations, obtain geoduck seeds and avoid shutdowns after heavy rains. The three Alaska projects received about $400,000 out of $9.3 million awarded nationally to aquaculture projects by Sea Grant, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “This award will help Alaska move forward with developing a strong and sustainable mariculture industry in our waters,” said Ginny Eckert, Alaska Sea Grant’s associate director for research. Alaska Sea Grant, a partnership between NOAA and the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, will award the funding to three nonprofit organizations to conduct the... read more
October 30, 2017

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has launched a new Master of Marine Studies degree to prepare graduates for science-based management jobs. The program, created by the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, gives students a background in scientific processes without requiring them to complete a research-based thesis. Students can select courses from the college’s oceanography and marine biology programs, and focus in marine ecology, organismal biology, ecosystem processes or oceanography. The degree program provides students with the scientific background and training to be competitive in securing positions within state, federal and tribal organizations in Alaska and elsewhere. The marine studies degree is primarily project-... read more
October 27, 2017

There was something different about Betye Arrastia-Nowak. Her parents were sure of it. Just a week and a half prior, the rising high school junior boarded her first plane. Nervous about meeting a new group of people and traveling with them on a wilderness expedition into Alaska’s fjords, she flew from upstate New York to Alaska. Yet when Arrastia-Nowak came back, she felt different and it showed. “When my mom first saw me, she was crying because she thought how beautiful I looked because I looked so confident in myself,” she said. “I was walking through the airport like, ‘I’m Betye!’” Arrastia-Nowak attended a new program this year called Girls in Icy Fjords, which is a tuition-free wilderness expedition at the University of Alaska... read more
October 26, 2017

A walk-through replica of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permafrost research tunnel in Fox, Alaska, will be part of a display opening Nov. 3 at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon. The newest addition to OMSI’s fun and educational repertoire is “Under the Arctic: Digging into Permafrost.” The exhibit views climate change through the lens of a thawing Arctic, using exciting interactive features such as the replica permafrost tunnel, fossil research stations and interactive games. The exhibit, a collaborative effort between OMSI and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, transports visitors to the Arctic using the sights and smells of the nation’s only permafrost research tunnel. Museum-goers... read more
October 23, 2017

Ocean particles near the equator efficiently transport carbon deep underwater, according to a new study that used high-resolution cameras to document this climate-related phenomenon. An international team that included Andrew McDonnell, assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, used the revolutionary cameras to track how carbon and nutrients cycle through the ocean and around the globe. “We studied different kinds of particles that transport carbon and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus deep into the ocean,” said McDonnell, describing a process known as sequestration. “The deeper particulate carbon is transported in the water, the longer it takes to be transported back to the... read more
October 23, 2017
Poet Emily Wall and author Nancy Lord will read from their works at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, as part of the annual Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series sponsored by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of English. Lord and Wall will read in the Elvey Building auditorium (Room 214) on the Fairbanks campus’ West Ridge. The reading is free and open to the public. Lord’s work is informed by a deep connection to the landscape and cultures of coastal Alaska and northern communities. She served as Alaska’s writer laureate from 2008-2010 and is the author of 10 nonfiction and fiction books, including most recently “pH: A Novel.” She lives in Homer and teaches writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage Kenai Peninsula College’s... read more
October 20, 2017

Goodnews Bay students have engaged in hands-on, professional science work to benefit their community and the state of Alaska during the past two summers. The students used ground-penetrating radar, Russian peat corers and GPS to help calculate the effects of climate change in their western Alaska village. They assisted researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks on a project to assess Goodnews Bay’s ability to adapt to flooding, erosion and other hazards associated with a warming planet. “They were teaching the kids how to take measurements. We had cameras and they were learning how to shoot time-lapse video,” said Alice Julius, the village tribal environmental coordinator. “It’s good to show them the opportunities they have to be... read more
October 18, 2017

Scientists now have five new sensors that will continuously monitor ocean acidification conditions in Alaska’s Kachemak Bay. The sensors, installed in September, allow researchers from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kachemak Bay Research Reserve and Kasitsna Bay Laboratory to collect a range of environmental data. A research team led by UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences professor Amanda Kelley will use the data to study how ocean acidification affects different organisms in shallow areas along the coast. Nearshore ecosystems protect the coastline and provide important habitat for marine animals. Despite Alaska’s vast coastlines and vital fisheries, little is known about how ocean acidification affects these ecosystems. Ocean... read more
October 17, 2017

Pacific salmon face an uncertain future due to accelerated climate and landscape change, according to a synthesis paper published in the October 2017 edition of the journal Fisheries. Researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Southeast, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service examined patterns of climate, landscapes and fisheries in the past 70 years to help understand where salmon ecosystems may be headed. They focused on the Kenai River in Southcentral Alaska. Climate and landscape change pose threats to Pacific salmon, especially in lowland streams that can be particularly sensitive to warming and drying, and exposed to... read more
October 17, 2017

Subsistence hunters across the North Slope will soon use computers to monitor temperatures in several ice cellars. The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geographic Information Network of Alaska has partnered with an Arctic Slope Regional Corp. subsidiary to create prototypes of the computers. Seven will be installed in spring 2018, with refinements to follow. Ice cellars, which are dug 5 to 40 feet deep into permafrost, are the traditional method for chilling and storing subsistence game. They are logistically the only option available for remote hunters. For some ice cellar users, changes to the permafrost could put a year’s food supply in jeopardy. The cellar monitors begin with inexpensive, single-board computers called Raspberry Pis as... read more
October 16, 2017

University of Alaska Fairbanks professor Mary Ehrlander will lead a panel discussion about Walter Harper, who she profiled in her most recent book, at Raven Landing Center from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct  25. Harper, of Athabascan and Irish heritage, was the first person to summit Denali. He was a member of the 1913 team led by Episcopal Archdeacon Hudson Stuck and Harry Karstens. Panelists at the Oct. 25 event will include Johanna Harper, Dana Wright, Sam Alexander and Episcopal Bishop Mark Lattime. Ehrlander’s book, “Walter Harper: Alaska Native Son,” was released this month. Ehrlander, a professor in UAF’s history department, directs the Arctic and Northern studies program. Her previous publications have reviewed alcohol’s introduction... read more