Latest Research News and Events

May 22, 2017
The LARS Birthday Bash, which celebrates new baby animals born this spring at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Large Animal Research Station, will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at the Yankovich Road facility. “The staff and I are very proud of this year’s babies and can’t wait to show them off,” said John Blake, LARS director and attending veterinarian. “The musk ox babies are surprisingly adorable with their shaggy fur and chunky legs and the reindeer calves equally cute — all leg and loving to run.” The free event will offer a close-up look at reindeer and muskoxen calves and their mothers. UAF’s Animal Resources Center invites the public to get a sneak peek before the official season opens on May 31. Parking at LARS... read more
May 17, 2017

Twenty years ago, I was 34 when I walked away from a chain-link fence near Port Valdez and headed east. Those were the first steps on a summer-long trip across Alaska. In a few days, I will begin to retrace those steps. This summer, I will try to again walk from Valdez to Prudhoe Bay along the gravel path that parallels the trans-Alaska pipeline. The first journey, with my chocolate Labrador retriever Jane, occupied my whole summer of 1997, from early May until the end of August. With Jane, I ascended and descended the Chugach, Alaska and Brooks mountain ranges. We drank from creeks and rivers, fed a million mosquitoes and slept in a new place every night. We shared miles of trail with friends and family and did not set any speed records... read more
May 11, 2017

Changing food sources, shrinking ice, increasing diseases and invading southern species are taking their toll on Arctic marine animals. A new report from the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, the Arctic Council’s biodiversity working group, suggests ways to monitor such changes across the Arctic. The 60 international experts in CAFF’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Network included Russ Hopcroft, Katrin Iken and Eric Collins from the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The experts compiled the State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report, which identifies trends in key marine species and highlights gaps in monitoring of several ecosystem components: sea-ice organisms, plankton, sea-bottom ... read more
May 8, 2017

Are you tired of playing the same “I spy” game with your family as you drive to the Chitina River for fishing or to the Alaska Range for a weekend getaway? Spice up the road trip with new points of interest from the geoscience students and teachers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. As part of a class project, the students researched the geologic marvels flanking the Richardson Highway between Fairbanks and Gulkana Glacier. Then in April they took a road trip with their instructors — Chris Maio and Louise Farquharson — to present posters and a lesson at each feature. “Many students had never been on the Richardson past Delta Junction and were so amazed that such an awesome landscape of mountains, glaciers and faults was just a few... read more
May 5, 2017
UAF student Jill Shipman’s film, “Life in Infrared,” will be shown at Decision Theatre North’s First Friday event from 4-7 p.m. May 5 in the West Ridge Research Building Room 010. Shipman is earning a doctorate in volcanology while also studying film and performing arts. Her film won first place in the video/interactive category of the 2017 Visualize This! competition organized by several UAF research development programs. The film and other winners of the data visualization and design competition will be displayed at the First Friday event. “Life in Infrared” is a short film about the use of thermal infrared imaging that Shipman created for a presentation at the American Geophysical Union 2015 fall meeting. The film features an interview... read more
May 5, 2017

In one year, sea stars have almost disappeared from Kachemak Bay, Alaska. This is likely the aftermath of a sea star wasting disease episode. The disease causes lesions, and may result in the loss of arms, making a sea star look as if it is melting or decomposing. Similar episodes have been spreading across the southern coast of Alaska and as far south as Baja California. “In spring 2016 we counted 180 sea stars during our intertidal surveys, which was high in the books,” said Brenda Konar, a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. “Just one year later, we counted only five sea stars.” Konar and CFOS professor Katrin Iken are part of Gulf Watch Alaska, a monitoring program established by... read more
May 1, 2017

William Czyzewski was in class on a Friday night when several people started messaging him, asking him to a “party.” “Ecstatic to finally have a social life, I attended,” said the University of Alaska Fairbanks undergraduate student. Instead of a party, though, he found himself at the annual Engineers Week Banquet, where he received the Student Engineer of the Year award. The Fairbanks Chapter of the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers hosts the banquet and presents three awards, including Engineer of the Year and the Young Engineer of the Year. About 100 engineers, guests and UAF students attended this year’s banquet. The banquet is one of many events that took place during the National Engineers Week, which celebrates the... read more
April 24, 2017

A research team led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College has solved a century-old mystery involving a famous red waterfall in Antarctica. New evidence links Blood Falls to a large source of salty water that may have been trapped under Taylor Glacier for more than 1 million years. The team’s study, published in the Journal of Glaciology, describes the brine’s 300-foot path from beneath Taylor Glacier to the waterfall. This path has been a mystery since geoscientist Griffith Taylor discovered Blood Falls in 1911. Lead author Jessica Badgeley, then an undergraduate student at Colorado College, worked with University of Alaska Fairbanks glaciologist Erin Pettit and her research team to understand this unique feature.... read more
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