Latest Research News and Events

April 21, 2017

Ethnographic filmmaker Leonard Kamerling will show his newest film, “Changa Revisited,” at 6 p.m. Friday, April 28, at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. The documentary, set in East Africa, draws on a collection of photographs and audio recordings, woven with contemporary video footage, to create a portrait of one family’s struggle to adapt to a world transformed by the loss of their traditional livelihood. “Changa Revisited” has been seen at film festivals around the globe since it was released in 2016. It won the OutstandDox Award at the Astra Film Festival in Romania, the festival’s main prize presented by the judges to the best international film. The film was most recently an official selection at the Royal... read more
April 19, 2017

<i>Photo by Matthew Sturm</i><br>Matthew Sturm’s partners on a 2007 snowmachine traverse of the North American Arctic head toward Daring Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

The monetary impact of changes in snowfall due to climate change is likely in the trillions of dollars. Professor Matthew Sturm, with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, reported in a recent paper for the American Geophysical Union that the costs of snowfall changes are “measured in trillions, not billions, of dollars.” Sturm collaborated on the invited paper with Michael Goldstein of Babson College and Charles Parr of the UAF Geophysical Institute. Their work on valuing snow comes on the heels of a 30-year run of falling snow levels and changing snow conditions. Snow scientists have recorded that snow depths and extent have decreased globally, that snow is falling later and melting earlier, and that more winter... read more
April 19, 2017

A new study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution reveals that increased moisture levels may have been a primary cause of death for giant herbivores approximately 10,000 years ago. “The mass extinctions of mega-herbivores across the globe have been an ongoing puzzle for scientists,” said professor Matthew Wooller, director of the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  “We looked at carbon and nitrogen isotopes in ancient animal bones to learn about what the herbivores were eating, which can also tell us about what climate was like around the time that the megafauna died.” Mega-herbivores — large vegetarian animals including some species of horses, bison and mammoths that used to tromp around... read more
April 14, 2017

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has announced the winners of its first Alaska Center for Microgrid Technologies Commercialization industry competition. UniEnergy Technologies, a flow battery company based in Mukilteo, Washington, will receive the Microgrid Project laboratory testing award. The award includes 25 dedicated lab days, consultation with staff and testing in the Power Systems Integration Lab at the UAF Alaska Center for Energy and Power. The lab can evaluate equipment under a range of real-world scenarios and emulates the microgrids and operating conditions found in rural Alaska. “With the accelerating deployment of microgrids globally, including in cold-weather climates, the need for long-duration and long-life energy... read more
April 14, 2017

NASA has selected a University of Alaska Fairbanks undergraduate student to intern in a most unusual laboratory — one that flies 2,000 feet high in the sky. Svea Southall, a mathematics major from Unalakleet, will fly aboard a NASA research aircraft this summer to study the Earth’s lands, oceans and atmosphere. The agency chose Southall from a competitive pool of national candidates. She is one of about 30 undergraduate students who will spend eight weeks interning with the NASA Student Airborne Research Program based in southern California. “I’m ecstatic to be going, partly because I’ve never been, but I’m also eager to meet the other participants and learn as much as I can from this program,” she said. The interns will work with... read more
April 13, 2017

A fossil discovered by a Montana hunter seven years ago is a new species in an ancient marine reptile group known as plesiosaurs. In a paper published Thursday, April 13 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, scientists at the University of Alaska Museum of the North and the University of Oxford have named a new species of long-necked plesiosaur known as an elasmosaur. The new species is named Nakonanectes bradti for the Nakona, or Assiniboine, people of northeastern Montana and David Bradt, who found the specimen while elk hunting. Museum Earth sciences curator Patrick Druckenmiller said these elasmosaurs lived exclusively in the Cretaceous Period, 145 million-66 million years ago. Elasmosaurs have been found all over the world, even... read more
April 12, 2017

Alaska Sea Grant will host the Kodiak Area Marine Science Symposium from April 18-21 at the Kodiak Harbor Convention Center. The event connects the Kodiak community to regional marine science research. The symposium provides a forum for researchers to share their findings with other scientists and the public. It also offers an opportunity for fishermen and other residents to understand how Kodiak’s marine environment and resources function, change and affect them. In addition, the symposium can help researchers plan integrated, cooperative and community-inspired marine research. Topics will include climate change and its effects on Alaska fisheries and seabirds, underwater archaeology, marine debris removal, socioeconomic risks of... read more
April 10, 2017

It’s a bummer of a trip when you travel thousands of miles to meet Vikings and find neither them nor any of their good beer to wash down the disappointment. Such was the case for an enterprising Lutheran who arrived in Greenland in 1721 to convert a few thousand Vikings to his faith. All Hans Egede found were ruins — the same ruins that Viking archaeologist Thomas McGovern would later excavate. McGovern said the Vikings’ fate is scarier than anyone ever imagined. “You can do everything right and still go extinct,” he said. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Quaternary Center brought McGovern to Fairbanks to give a free talk on why he thinks the Greenland Vikings, or Norse, went extinct. McGovern, a professor at the City University... read more
April 10, 2017

Nine years after it erupted, Kasatochi Island is just beginning to resemble its neighbors. Kasatochi is a speck in the middle of the Aleutian chain between Dutch Harbor and Adak, about 75 miles east of the latter. The volcanic island had no modern history of erupting until August 2008. In a few days that summer, the island changed from the lush green home of a quarter million seabirds to a gray pile of ash. Two biologists escaped the island aboard a fishing boat less than one hour before the eruption. The cabin in which they were living disappeared, vaporizing in a hurricane of hot gases and ash. Following the eruption, Kasatochi seemed dead. Scientists visiting the island one year later searched for one hour before finding the first... read more
April 10, 2017

The annual Permafrost Book Prize Reading will feature authors Anand Prahlad and Scott Russell Sanders at 7 p.m. Friday, April 14, in the University of Alaska Museum of the North auditorium. Prahlad won the 2016 Permafrost Book Prize offered by Permafrost, the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ literary journal. Sanders judged the entries. Prahlad’s nonfiction manuscript, “The Secret Life of a Black Aspie,” was published by the University of Alaska Press in 2017 as a result of his win. Prahlad, a poet, songwriter and musician, teaches folklore, film, creative writing and disability studies at the University of Missouri, where he has been a professor since 1990. Sanders, professor emeritus of English at Indiana University, has written more than... read more
April 8, 2017
Volunteer to help welcome our visitors to campus and to help our events to run smoothly and professionally for Week of the Arctic events on the Fairbanks campus May 8-12. Anyone volunteering for three or more time slots during the week will receive free public event registration and event apparel, available exclusively to Arctic Interchange … Continue reading Volunteers needed for Week of the Arctic →
April 7, 2017

A University of Alaska Fairbanks study has determined that warmer water migrating from the Atlantic Ocean is a surprisingly powerful contributor to Arctic sea ice decline. Research led by Igor Polyakov, a professor at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center and College of Natural Science and Mathematics, has found that Atlantic currents contribute to sea ice loss in the Arctic Ocean at a rate comparable to warming air temperatures. “This is a very important step toward a seasonal ice-free Arctic,” said Polyakov. The findings, outlined in the journal Science’s April 6 edition, provide a greater understanding of the complex dynamics that contribute to sea ice melt. Co-authors of the paper include UAF’s Andrey Pnyushkov, Robert Rember,... read more
April 7, 2017

The Seventh Annual International Cyber-Conference on Dispute Resolution will be held from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. April 12 in the Wood Center ballroom. The conference, hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Liberal Arts, will feature two sessions — one on reducing terrorism and another on creating safer communities and indigenous peacemaking circles. Videoconferencing will create a global event featuring local, national and international leaders, researchers and students of dispute resolution. This year’s keynote speaker will be Michael Gallagher, a spokesman for victims of the 1998 terrorist bombing in Omagh, Northern Ireland. Gallagher is a board member for Strength to Strength and a sponsor of the Young Ambassadors program.... read more
April 7, 2017

Alaska Sea Grant is offering a new class aimed at helping Alaskans understand and comply with new federal regulations on food safety. Taught by Alaska Sea Grant seafood specialists Chris Sannito and Brian Himelbloom, the Preventive Controls for Human Food class will be held in Kodiak on April 12-14. Commercial food producers are the main audience for the course, including small, medium and large processors. The Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in 2011, focuses on preventing food contamination rather than responding to it. “This should make our food supply even safer. There are tighter controls on allergens and imported food products now,” said Sannito. “It will cause producers to be proactive instead of reactive to food safety. Also... read more