Latest Research News and Events

April 24, 2019

<i>Photo by Richard Brenner</i><br /> A shrimp trawler works in Port Wells, on the western side of Alaska's Prince William Sound.

Participation in Alaska’s fisheries has dropped and specialization has increased during the past 30 years, according to a new study published in the journal Fish and Fisheries. A team of researchers led by University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences professor Anne Beaudreau synthesized 30 years of income and catch data from individual commercial fishermen in Alaska. Beaudreau’s team found that the overall number of permit holders in Alaska decreased by 25 percent from the early 1990s to 2014. In addition, the number of fishermen with multiple fishing permits declined from 30 percent of permit holders in 1988 to 20 percent in 2014. “Diverse fishing portfolios can buffer against risk, akin to a diverse financial... read more
April 19, 2019

<i>Photo courtesy of Microcosm Film</i><br /> Seth Danielson, an oceanographer with the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, is one of five researchers who will deliver fast-paced presentations at a April 24 event.

Five University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers will give a series of fast-paced seminars from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, on the Fairbanks campus. Following the event’s unique format, presenters each will discuss 20 slides for 20 seconds per slide. This is the 13th seminar in the spring 2019 Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Seminar Series sponsored by the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The seminar will be in 201 O’Neill Building on the Fairbanks campus. Streaming is available in Juneau at 101 Lena Point Fisheries Facility. To participate via Pexip, a web-based meeting platform, contact Christina Sutton at clsutton3@alaska.edu or 907-474-5840 at least 24 hours before the seminar.
April 17, 2019

<i>UAF photo by JR Ancheta</i><br /> University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers Katie Spellman and Chris Arp interact with fourth-grade students at Anne Wien Elementary School on March 25, 2019, while testing Fresh Eyes on Ice school protocols.

A new lake and river ice-monitoring project led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks gets kids involved in science while promoting ice safety and a better understanding of changing winter conditions. Fresh Eyes on Ice is an observing network that explores the curious and fascinating aspects of frozen water and its role in the environment and Alaskans’ lives. Awareness of changing winter conditions is gaining traction as unusual weather and climate events become more common. Just last week, ice on the Tanana and Kuskokwim rivers broke up earlier than ever previously recorded. “People naturally pay attention to these kinds of things when they live in the North,” said project leader Chris Arp from UAF’s Water and Environmental Research... read more
April 16, 2019

The third calf born at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm in spring 2019 walks with its mother, Lola, on Monday, April 15. The calf was born Saturday, April 13.

The first reindeer calves of 2019 began arriving at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm on Friday, April 12. Male and female calves were born late Friday night, and the third reindeer calf, a female, arrived Saturday morning at 5 a.m. “We found it Saturday morning when we came in to feed,” said reindeer caretaker Erin Carr. Workers discovered two more calves Tuesday morning, April 16. On Monday afternoon, the newest calf and its mother, Lola, rested in the pen closest to the barn, on the uphill side of West Tanana Drive. Visitors snapped photos of the gangly calf through the fence as it sniffed around the grassy field, nursed and stayed close to its mother. The calf, who will be named this summer, weighed 13.5 pounds. Carr said the calves... read more
April 15, 2019

Yellow, brown and lavendar butterfly speciments

A new website launched by the University of Alaska Fairbanks will allow the public to view high-resolution images of thousands of butterflies and moths gathered by renowned collector Kenelm Philip. Philip, who died in 2014 at age 82, was a research associate of the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Alaska Museum of the North and the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology. He gathered more than 111,000 specimens from Alaska, Canada and Russia, the largest private collection of butterflies in the world. Now anyone can view images from more than 400 drawers from the collection at https://kenphilipcollection.alaska.edu/. UAF graduate student Kathryn Daly initially curated the drawers. UAF undergraduate student Nina Sikes photographed them... read more
April 10, 2019

<i>Photo courtesy of Seth Danielson</i><br /> Seth Danielson helps recover a mooring during a late spring Arctic cruise.

A University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher will talk about a research program geared at understanding variables that influence spring productivity in the Arctic from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, on the Fairbanks campus. Seth Danielson, a researcher at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, will present the 12th seminar in the spring 2019 Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Seminar Series sponsored by CFOS. Danielson’s presentation in Fairbanks will be in 201 O’Neill Building. Streaming is available in Juneau at 101 Lena Point Fisheries Facility. To participate via Pexip, a web-based meeting platform, contact Christina Sutton at clsutton3@alaska.edu or 907-474-5840 at least 24 hours before the seminar.
April 10, 2019

<i>UAF photo by Fritz Freudenberger</i><br>Reyce Bogardus, left, and Matthew Balazs pose with their 3D printed scale model, a series of nesting pieces representing the Mendenhall Glacier's ice volume at three points in history. They hope the model can help people visualize how much the glacier has retreated since 1948.

Matthew Balazs sits at his desk holding a plastic model of the Mendenhall Glacier and surrounding valley in his right hand. In his left, he has a plastic blob the size of a deck of cards, representing the ice it has lost. On the model of the valley, there is a dot the size of a felt pen tip. That dot represents the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. “I like the idea of how much things are changing to really enter the mind,” said Balazs, a Ph.D. candidate working with UAF’s Geophysical Institute. “The fact that a crumb from a cookie is the size of an entire visitor center, and then you hold that in one hand, and the amount of ice that’s retreated from just 30 years ago is in the other. That speaks a lot right there.” The model represents... read more
April 7, 2019

A new paper shows that air temperature is the “smoking gun” behind climate change in the Arctic, according to John Walsh, chief scientist for the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center. Several UAF researchers are co-authors on the paper, which says that “increasing air temperatures and precipitation are drivers of major changes in various components of the Arctic system.” Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland in Copenhagen is lead author of the paper. “The Arctic system is trending away from its 20th century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic,” he said. The study is the first to combine observations of physical climate... read more
April 5, 2019

A University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher will talk about circulation in Arctic seas from 9-10 a.m. Monday, April 15, on the Fairbanks campus. Steve Okkonen, a researcher at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, will present the 11th seminar in the spring 2019 Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Seminar Series sponsored by CFOS. Okkonen’s presentation in Fairbanks will be in 201 O’Neill Building. Streaming is available in Juneau at 101 Lena Point Fisheries Facility. To participate via Pexip, a web-based meeting platform, contact Christina Sutton at clsutton3@alaska.edu or 907-474-5840 at least 24 hours before the seminar.
April 4, 2019

<i>Photo by Brendan Smith</i><br /> Brittany Jones works on one of a number of respiration rate experiments from the research vessel Sikuliaq.

A University of Alaska Fairbanks student will discuss how animal respiration rates teach us about the carbon cycle from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, on the Fairbanks campus. Brittany Jones, a marine biology Ph.D. student at the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, will present the 10th seminar in the spring 2019 Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Seminar Series sponsored by CFOS. Jones’ presentation in Fairbanks will be in 201 O’Neill Building. Streaming is available in Juneau at 101 Lena Point Fisheries Facility. To participate via Pexip, a web-based meeting platform, contact Christina Sutton at clsutton3@alaska.edu or 907-474-5840 at least 24 hours before the seminar.
April 3, 2019

<i>Photo by Tanya Clayton</i><br /> Chemistry instructor Ragen Davey monitors student activities during an Alaska Summer Research Academy expedition to Smith Lake on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus in 2018.

The Alaska Summer Research Academy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will accept applications through April 15 for its middle and high school programs. The academy will be held each weekday from July 8-19, 2019. Students accepted into the summer program will spend two weeks with a small group and two instructors exploring a topic in science, engineering, math or technology. The program is offered through the UAF College of Natural Science and Mathematics. The middle school program is for students who will be in grades six to eight in fall 2019. The high school program is for students who will be in grades nine to 12 in fall 2019. Tuition support may be available for qualified students, as well as travel funding for qualifying rural... read more
April 2, 2019

UAF students in biology, fisheries and natural resource management will offer two science communication events in Fairbanks and Juneau in April. The events will feature presentations by UAF graduate students on their research focusing on a variety of topics, including molecular biology, fisheries and land use decisions. The students are enrolled in a course focused on effectively communicating science to the public. These events offer them a unique opportunity to apply skills they have gained over the semester and engage with the public about their research topics. Admission to both events is free, and refreshments will be available after the event. All ages are welcome. Fairbanks event: “Enjoying Life at the Extremes: Wildfires, Frigid... read more
April 2, 2019

<i>Photo by Loring Schaible</i><br /> Heidi Mendoza-Islas holds a sea nettle caught during a research trip in the Gulf of Alaska.

“Jellyfish have superpowers,” assured Heidi Mendoza-Islas, a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The voracious carnivores will eat almost anything that fits into their mouths. When conditions are good, they grow fast and multiply. When conditions aren’t ideal, baby jellies can transform into cysts and wait it out. So it is no surprise that jellyfish have been successful predators in the Gulf of Alaska, said Mendoza-Islas. But few studies have focused on the role jellyfish play in the gulf’s ecosystem or how jellyfish affect commercially important finfish, such as pollock. Mendoza-Islas wants to change that. Mendoza-Islas has been researching jellyfish since she was an... read more
March 28, 2019

Bob Gillis inspects a rock protruding from near the Iditarod trail near its halfway point in southwestern Alaska.

IDITAROD, Alaska — While gliding along a trail that had just felt the imprint of 2,000 dog feet, Bob Gillis skied over to a rock that jutted from the snow. A few miles northwest of the ghost town that gives the world’s most famous sled dog race its name, Gillis and I were in the neighborhood of the oldest rocks in Alaska. Could this be one of them? A geologist with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Gillis poked the rock with his ski poles. “Looks like a volcanic rock to me,” he said. Even though the rock had hardened to its present form tens of millions of years ago, its age was probably not even close to some unusual rocks discovered near Iditarod. On a journey from McGrath to Shageluk following the path Iditarod... read more