News – UAF news and information http://news.uaf.edu UAF news and information Thu, 28 Jul 2016 00:24:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Agriculture Appreciation Day at the Farm set for Aug. 4 http://news.uaf.edu/agriculture-appreciation2016/ http://news.uaf.edu/agriculture-appreciation2016/#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:43:42 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66560 Potato-dig-2015The Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer will host Alaska Agriculture Appreciation Day at the farm from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 4.]]> Potato-dig-2015
Photo by Stephen Brown
Kids dig for potatoes at the Matanuska Experiment Farm during the 2015 Alaska Agriculture Appreciation Day.

The Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer will host Alaska Agriculture Appreciation Day at the farm from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 4.

The free annual event has the atmosphere of a country fair with educational presentations, hayrides and a number of kids’ and family activities. The event will also include presentations on eliminating hornet and wasp nests, improving soils, beekeeping and trail etiquette. The Cooperative Extension Service will offer cooking demonstrations that feature local Alaska produce.

Demonstrations will feature the MAT+SAR K9 dog rescue, spinning and weaving wool, goat milking and more. Kids’ activities will include vegetable bobbing and searching for “gold nuggets” in a haystack. Digging for potatoes, which was popular last year, has been expanded to become “Kids Read and Dig Veggies.” Extension staff will read a book about making vegetable soup at 2 p.m., then the kids can harvest and dig for several vegetables, including potatoes, beets and broccoli.

Also new is a Dress as Produce or Farm Animal Contest to be judged at 4 p.m. New and returning vendors this year will showcase a variety of food and nonfood products.

The farm, at 1509 S. Georgeson Road, provides research facilities, classroom space and offices for University of Alaska Fairbanks research and Extension. Call Theresa Isaac at 907-746-9450 for more information.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Marmian Grimes, 907-474-7902, mlgrimes@alaska.edu.

NOTE TO EDITORS: A photo of kids digging potatoes from last year’s Agriculture Appreciation Day may be downloaded from http://news.uaf.edu/agriculture-appreciation2016/.

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Chasing the sun, a UAF researcher makes a journey back home http://news.uaf.edu/chasing-the-sun-a-uaf-researcher-makes-a-journey-back-home/ http://news.uaf.edu/chasing-the-sun-a-uaf-researcher-makes-a-journey-back-home/#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 18:35:20 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66739 Erin-Whitney-FamilyErin Whitney likes to push herself. A former competitive Nordic skier, she enjoys extreme adventures with her family while taking advantage of Alaska’s summer sunlight. Her work also involves sunshine. She collects data on solar photovoltaic power generation around the state for the Alaska Center for Energy and Power. ]]> Erin-Whitney-Family
<i>Courtesy of Erin Whitney</i><br/> Erin Whitney, center, poses with her family during a visit to their cabin south of Anchorage. Whitney studies solar power options for the Alaska Center for Energy and Power.
Courtesy of Erin Whitney
Erin Whitney, center, poses with her family during a visit to their cabin south of Anchorage. Whitney studies solar power options for the Alaska Center for Energy and Power.

The Alaska Center for Energy and Power’s Erin Whitney likes to push herself. A former competitive Nordic skier, she enjoys extreme adventures with her family while taking advantage of Alaska’s summer sunlight.

She described a recent adventure where, after a backpacking trip in the Wrangell Mountains with her husband, she returned home, gathered up her children (ages four and five) and in-laws (both nearing their 80s), and traveled to Homer to spend time in Halibut Cove Lagoon. She explained, with a laugh, how she was both proud and relieved that they had successfully pulled off ocean kayaking with two children and two seniors without incident.

Whitney views her adventures into the Alaska wilderness as healing and therapeutic, serving as a source of peace that grounds her.

“I think it’s something about extremes, and I don’t mean extremes in a crazy way,” she said. “I just mean extremes in the way that make us feel alive and connected to something greater than ourselves, and which bonds us inexplicably.”

As the leader of ACEP’s Data Collection and Analysis Program, her work is also linked to the Alaska outdoors. Part of her job is focused on collecting data on solar photovoltaic power generation around the state.

Whitney grew up in Anchorage and graduated from Service High School in 1992. She left the state to attend school at Williams College in Massachusetts, where she majored in chemistry.

Why chemistry? “Because it’s beautiful,” she said with a broad smile on her face.

Chemistry is a central science that explains many natural phenomena, she said. She loves how the science can be both fundamental and applied.

<i>UAF photo by Todd Paris</i><br /> Eddie Davidson with ABS Alaskan Inc. installs solar panels on the UAF Student Recreation Center in 2012.
UAF photo by Todd Paris
Eddie Davidson with ABS Alaskan Inc. installs solar panels on the UAF Student Recreation Center in 2012.

After attaining a bachelor’s degree at Williams College, Whitney moved on to the University of Colorado, where she earned a doctorate in physical chemistry and began a successful career with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Her work focused on next-generation solar photovoltaics, energy analysis and energy storage, among other projects.

After nearly a decade of working for NREL, Whitney was enticed by an offer to move back to Alaska and work at ACEP.

Whitney said solar power can be a viable option even in a state like Alaska, which has almost no sunlight for half of the year.

“It turns out that we actually have a great solar energy resource up here,” she said. Less than half the state — the area above the Arctic Circle — lacks sunlight in mid-winter, she noted. “Alaska’s solar energy resource is on par with that of Germany, which has the greatest installed solar capacity in the world.”

The falling price of solar panels and other factors specific to the North — such as enhanced output in cold temperatures and the reflective effect of snow — also make solar power an economical and appealing technology, Whitney said. These factors have not yet been studied systematically, she said, and that is where she believes her niche is.

<i>Rob Bensin photo<i/><br /> This installation provides solar power to the water treatment plant in Shungnak, a village on the Kobuk River in northwest Alaska.
Rob Bensin photo
This installation provides solar power to the water treatment plant in Shungnak, a village on the Kobuk River in northwest Alaska.

Working with ACEP’s Data Collection and Analysis Program team, Whitney has already made great strides forward for the development of solar photovoltaics in Alaska. One of her projects is the compilation of a solar-performance database that will allow, for the first time, an “apples to apples” comparison of cost and performance of solar installations in Alaska. Once complete, it will serve as a resource benefiting both business development and communities looking to cut the cost of burning diesel to generate electricity.

“Energy is all about people,” she said. “Helping communities analyze and optimize their energy resources and energy mixes isn’t just theoretical, it has real consequences. It affects how much communities pay for their diesel for their heat and electricity, and how much money they have left for other priorities such as health and education.”

Life in Alaska often revolves around light, Whitney noted.

“These extremes, this wildness, these energy challenges, these aren’t the only reasons I returned to Alaska,” she said. “I returned to Alaska because working on these challenges impacts people in real ways.”

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Alaska shoreline monitoring helps residents react http://news.uaf.edu/shoreline-monitoring-goodnews-bay-alaska-will-help-residents-map-changes/ http://news.uaf.edu/shoreline-monitoring-goodnews-bay-alaska-will-help-residents-map-changes/#respond Mon, 25 Jul 2016 20:51:38 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66299 Collecting dataIf a storm wreaks havoc on coastal Goodnews Bay, Alaska, new research by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists may help the town qualify for relief funding. Efforts to link local perspectives with monitored shoreline changes will vastly improve the understanding of the region’s coastal evolution. ]]> Collecting data

If a storm wreaks havoc on coastal Goodnews Bay, Alaska, new research by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists may help the town qualify for relief funding. Efforts to link local perspectives with monitored shoreline changes will vastly improve the understanding of the region’s coastal evolution.

“We really want to know how the shoreline has changed over the past 100 years, how it might have been 500 or 1,000 years ago, and how it might change in the future,” said Chris Maio, a geosciences professor at UAF.

Measuring erosion
Photo by Richard Buzard
Chris Maio collects GPS measurements on an eroding coastal bluff as part of a shoreline change assessment.

Maio and geology graduate student Richard Buzard are measuring changes in the shoreline in Goodnews Bay in southwestern Alaska to assess resiliency and help the community prepare for future storms.

With baseline data, residents can begin an ongoing record of change, which can be critical when applying for restoration funding. “Shoreline change is so slow that it’s rarely considered a natural disaster like a big earthquake or tsunami,” Buzard explained. “You can’t just say, ‘Oh, this area of land probably isn’t going to be here in 10 years’ and get funding for mitigation based on that. Most of the time, you need to have data showing shoreline change is taking place.”

After the November storm of 2011, residents of Goodnews Bay had to rebuild several houses and move their airport runway. The storm revealed that many aspects of the area’s coastal geology have never been studied or mapped before. Through Maio and Buzard’s research efforts, the community will be able to better prepare for storms in the future.

Maio and Buzard visited Goodnews Bay in summer 2015, where they met with community members and collected sediment cores, GPS measurements and ground-penetrating radar measurements. Those data will help them map structures, sediment types and topography above and below the surface.

They will visit again in August 2016 to collect a second round of GPS measurements and sediment cores. Alaska Sea Grant and the UAF Center for Global Change Student Research Grant are funding the research.

Buzard is using aerial imagery to measure changes to the shoreline that have occurred since the 1950s. By plugging the images into geographic information systems software, Buzard can align the photos to calculate how different parts of the shoreline have changed.

Collecting data
Photo by Chris Maio
Rocky Mountain School middle school students Tucker Evans Jr., Brenda Mark and Makayla Lupie collect ground-penetrating radar data to identify subsurface geologic features.

Initial results show two areas of the shoreline that have experienced significant erosion since the 1950s. Buildings were relocated from both places in the past — one area housed the town’s airport, and the other housed the school.

Using sediment cores, researchers can to learn more about changes in sea level over time. Sea level rise is marked by a marine or brackish sediment directly overlying a terrestrial sediment. The researchers can determine the relative timing of the sea level change using radiocarbon dating and precise measurements of the depth of the transition between terrestrial and marine-brackish sediment.

“One of my main research goals is to collect baseline data sets along the coast of Alaska,” Maio said. “That goal doesn’t have to be focused on communities that are in dire need of being moved. We really just want to get that information as soon as we can so we can start watching and measuring changes, and have a place to start from.”

Read more on the Alaska Sea Grant website.

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Trees’ surprising role in the boreal water cycle quantified http://news.uaf.edu/trees-surprising-role-in-the-boreal-water-cycle-quantified/ http://news.uaf.edu/trees-surprising-role-in-the-boreal-water-cycle-quantified/#respond Wed, 20 Jul 2016 21:14:37 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66569 UAF scientist Jessie Young-Robertson measures tree water content of a birch tree near Fairbanks, Alaska.Approximately 25 to 50 percent of a living tree is made up of water, depending on the species and time of year. The water stored in trees has previously been considered just a minor part of the water cycle, but a new study by UAF scientists shows otherwise.]]> UAF scientist Jessie Young-Robertson measures tree water content of a birch tree near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Approximately 25 to 50 percent of a living tree is made up of water, depending on the species and time of year. The water stored in trees has previously been considered just a minor part of the water cycle, but a new study by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists shows otherwise.

Research published this week in Nature Scientific Reports is the first to show that the uptake of snowmelt water by deciduous trees represents a large and previously overlooked aspect of the water balance in boreal watersheds. The study was led by Jessica Young-Robertson, who worked with other scientists from the National Weather Service and UAF’s International Arctic Research Center and Geophysical Institute.

The results are critical for understanding boreal forest hydrology and ecology, including soil moisture, the availability of freshwater, tree health and the ways trees influence regional weather, particularly thunderstorms. All of these factors are important for understanding the frequency and severity of wildland fires.

Like a straw, trees draw water up from the soil and eventually release it into the atmosphere through leaves or needles. The scientists measured the water content in both deciduous and evergreen trees in several locations at different times of the year.

UAF scientist Jessie Young-Robertson measures tree water content of a birch tree near Fairbanks, Alaska.
UAF scientist Jessie Young-Robertson measures the water content of a birch tree near Fairbanks, Alaska.

They found that deciduous trees took up a surprisingly large amount of water in the period between snowmelt and leaf-out. These trees absorbed 21 to 25 percent  of the available snowmelt water — to the point of being completely saturated. For the boreal forest of Alaska and Western Canada, this equates to about 17–20 billion cubic meters of water per year. That is roughly equivalent to 8 million Olympic-sized swimming pools or 8–10 percent of the Yukon River’s annual discharge.

The study also quantified transpiration — the water that trees release to the atmosphere. The researchers found that deciduous trees transpired 2 to 12 percent of the absorbed snowmelt water immediately after leaf-out. This concentrated period of transpiration has the potential to create more favorable conditions for atmospheric convection and thunderstorms, which start many of the wildfires in the sparsely populated boreal forest region.

Calculating the amount of water stored by deciduous trees is important. The area occupied by deciduous trees in the boreal forest is expected to increase 1 to 15 percent by the end of this century, and the absorption of snowmelt could also then increase.

This is the first study to show that deciduous tree water uptake of snowmelt water represents a large but overlooked aspect of the water balance in boreal watersheds. Tree water dynamics impact many processes. Quantifying tree water storage is important for understanding hydrology,  tree response to drought and the related factors of tree water use, soil moisture and climate.

The full study, “Deciduous trees are a large and overlooked sink for snowmelt water in the boreal forest,” by authors Young-Robertson, W. Robert Bolton, Uma S. Bhatt, Jordi Cristóbal and Richard Thoman is available online at: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep29504.

For more information, contact Young-Robertson at jmrobertson3@alaska.edu or 907-474-1553.

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UAF’s Wilcox searches Alaska caves for ice age clues http://news.uaf.edu/uafs-wilcox-searches-alaska-caves-ice-age-clues/ http://news.uaf.edu/uafs-wilcox-searches-alaska-caves-ice-age-clues/#comments Tue, 19 Jul 2016 23:05:31 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66574 Paul Wilcox researches__________________.Paul Wilcox hopes one of the mysteries of the last ice age can be solved in the caves of Southeast Alaska. That’s where the University of Alaska Fairbanks doctoral student spent this spring while looking for evidence of a glacial refugium — an area where plants, humans and animals endured amid the icy terrain. ]]> Paul Wilcox researches__________________.
<i>UAF photo by JR Ancheta</i><br/> Paul Wilcox, a doctoral student at UAF's Geosciences Department, is studying caves in Southeast Alaska to learn more about ice age climate conditions.
UAF photo by JR Ancheta
Paul Wilcox, a doctoral student at the UAF Geosciences Department, is studying caves in Southeast Alaska to learn more about ice age climate conditions.

Paul Wilcox hopes one of the mysteries of the last ice age can be solved in the caves of Southeast Alaska.

That’s where the University of Alaska Fairbanks doctoral student spent this spring while looking for evidence of a glacial refugium — an area where plants, humans and animals endured amid the icy terrain.

Scientists have speculated that such an area existed in Southeast Alaska, partly due to the modern distribution of species like pine trees, marmots, beetles and brown bears. But so far no geologic evidence has emerged to prove it.

Wilcox, who studies in the UAF Geosciences Department, thinks the caves around Prince of Wales Island could provide a clue. By examining samples of cave formations called speleothems, he hopes to better understand climatic conditions in the area when glaciers were at their peak about 17,000 years ago.

“They only grow when there’s running water,” Wilcox said of the cave formations. “When it’s frozen, they stop.”

<i>Photo courtesy of Paul Wilcox</i><br /> A speleothem core sample from a Southeast Alaska cave is encased in red epoxy. The sample is being tested this summer to help determine climate conditions during the last ice age.
Photo courtesy of Paul Wilcox
A speleothem core sample from a Southeast Alaska cave is encased in red epoxy. The sample is being tested this summer to help determine climate conditions during the last ice age.

Researchers have tried unsuccessfully to find evidence of a glacial refugium by examining sediment cores from lake beds. Wilcox believes this is the first time someone has taken an in-depth look at cave formations to do the same.

The Tennessee native became fascinated by Southeast Alaska caves in 2011, when he was part of a survey crew that located them for the U.S. Forest Service. He spent the past two years working out details and lining up funding for the refugium project before leading a team of researchers through about a half-dozen caves in May. The group included Jeff Dorale, a leading Earth and environmental sciences professor from the University of Iowa and a member of Wilcox’s graduate committee.

The team collected broken speleothem pieces and a single 22-centimenter core sample from one of the formations. By looking at oxygen and carbon isotopes in speleothem samples, scientists can gauge details such as precipitation and temperature from previous eras, Wilcox said.

He hopes to have testing results by the end of the summer and plans to revisit the most promising caves for another round of data collection. The results will also become part of his Ph.D. dissertation at UAF.

Even if the research doesn’t find evidence of a glacial refugium, Wilcox believes, the results will be noteworthy. They could also provide more information about conditions during a post-ice age era known as the Younger Dryas, which was a period of rapid climate change.

He said that studying such eras could help predict and prepare for future climate change.

“There’s going to be something cool about this cave work,” Wilcox said. “We just don’t know what yet.”

The project has received support from the Tongass National Forest Service Geology Program, and grants from the Center for Global Change, the Alaska Geological Society and the Geist Fund.

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UAF researchers to study Arctic spring on the Sikuliaq http://news.uaf.edu/uaf-researchers-to-study-arctic-spring-on-the-rv-sikuliaq/ http://news.uaf.edu/uaf-researchers-to-study-arctic-spring-on-the-rv-sikuliaq/#respond Fri, 15 Jul 2016 18:36:13 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66351 P6210090University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers have received $4.5 million to study Arctic marine ecosystems while on board the Sikuliaq, the research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.]]> P6210090

University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers have received $2.2 million to study Arctic marine ecosystems while on board the Sikuliaq, the research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

The project will help researchers better understand the processes that prime oceans for summer productivity and better anticipate changes resulting from declining ice cover.

Six SFOS researchers, along with staff, students and international collaborators, will study oceanography and food web dynamics in the northern Bering Sea and southern Chukchi Sea through the North Pacific Research Board’s Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Research Program.

Fieldwork in early spring 2017 and 2018 will take place on board the ice-capable Sikuliaq, a $200 million vessel that arrived at its home port of Seward in March 2015.

“We are excited about this project because in a lot of respects this project is exactly why we built the Sikuliaq,” said Seth Danielson, an SFOS research associate professor and the project’s lead principal investigator. “We are seeking to head to the ice edge right in the shoulder season between winter and the summer months.”

The researchers will measure growth rates, oxygen consumption rates, productivity rates, sinking rates of particles and how quickly currents affect the flow of water and materials from south to north. They’ll take samples from the water column and the seafloor sediments.

Andrew McDonnell, SFOS assistant professor and principal investigator, explained that most fieldwork for these regions has been done between July and September, because that’s traditionally when access to the region has been easier.

But “biological activity in the late spring — late May through June — sets the stage for energy flow and ecosystem processes for the rest of the summer,” he said.

Danielson said this “spring bloom” is one of the most biologically important events of the year.

“We hope to measure the system during or just after this annual peak in phytoplankton growth so that we can better understand how the energy stored in the phytoplankton during spring is subsequently passed on to support fishes, clams and crabs as well as the marine mammals that feed on them,” he said.

The research will help explain connections between physical and biological systems. This will be critical for managers looking to preserve thriving Arctic ecosystems as sea ice concentrations continue to decline.

The UAF research team includes Danielson (studying physical oceanography) and McDonnell (particles) but also Sarah Hardy (benthic invertebrates), Russell Hopcroft (zooplankton), Dean Stockwell (nutrient chemistry and phytoplankton) and Arny Blanchard (biostatistics).

Four other Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Research Program projects are also focused in the Bering and Chukchi seas. Two research teams led by NOAA will study physical and biological systems in the Chukchi Sea in the summer and fall. A University of Washington group will focus on marine mammals and the underwater sound environment. A social science project will investigate Chukchi coastal communities’ understanding of and responses to environmental change.

The AIERP is sponsored by the North Pacific Research Board, the Collaborative Alaskan Arctic Studies Program, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Office of Naval Research Marine Mammals and Biology Program, along with in-kind support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UAF.

More information about the shoreline monitoring program is available online at http://bit.ly/29Kbxxh.

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Underwater cameras help identify carbon pathways in the ocean http://news.uaf.edu/underwater-cameras-help-identify-carbon-pathways-ocean/ http://news.uaf.edu/underwater-cameras-help-identify-carbon-pathways-ocean/#respond Thu, 14 Jul 2016 00:08:05 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66344 Andrew McDonnell photo
Jim Burkitt, left, and Andrew McDonnell recover an instrument during night operations in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.Underwater cameras may help reveal how tiny animals called zooplankton play a role in long-term carbon storage in the ocean. ]]> Andrew McDonnell photo
Jim Burkitt, left, and Andrew McDonnell recover an instrument during night operations in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.
Andrew McDonnell photo Jim Burkitt, left, and Andrew McDonnell recover an instrument during night operations in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
Andrew McDonnell photo
Jim Burkitt, left, and Andrew McDonnell recover an instrument during night operations in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Underwater cameras may help reveal how tiny animals called zooplankton play a role in long-term carbon storage in the ocean.

Human-generated emissions are increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This carbon dioxide may be used by plants or animals, or trapped in soil or water. It can take many paths from the air to the deep ocean. As scientists map out possible impacts from increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it is important to find out how much and what kind of carbon is transported and stored deep in the ocean.

“We use underwater cameras that show the type of particles in the water and the relative abundances of these particles so we can learn about how carbon is being used in the ocean,” said Andrew McDonnell, a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. “This information helps us begin to evaluate the likelihood of carbon being stored in the deep ocean.”

Different regions of the earth, atmosphere and ocean can either absorb or emit carbon. This balance of storing versus emitting carbon is called the carbon budget. Uptake of carbon by the ocean is one of the primary mechanisms removing carbon from the atmosphere. As a result, complex carbon pathways in the ocean strongly affect the overall carbon budget.

Carbon can exist in many shapes and sizes. One way to study how carbon moves around the ocean is to measure the distribution of different-sized particles. Particles can include living things like zooplankton and phytoplankton, the tiny animals and plants at the bottom of the food chain, as well as nonliving things like sediment and fecal pellets.

Large particles tend to contain more carbon than small particles. Additionally, their larger size generally makes them sink to the deep ocean more quickly. McDonnell and SFOS graduate student Jessica Pretty are studying what the size and composition of particles in the ocean can teach us about how quickly carbon sinks.

Zooplankton eat and digest other particles, which can alter their size and density. Using underwater vision profiler cameras, known as UVPs, Pretty and McDonnell want to figure out if zooplankton are building up or breaking down particles in a greater quantity, and if these trends vary by species.

<i>Andrew McDonnell photo</i><br /> An instrument used for ocean sampling is mounted to a conductivity temperature and depth device.
Andrew McDonnell photo
An instrument used for ocean sampling is mounted to a conductivity temperature and depth device.

The UVP is much more than a camera in an underwater case. It has an onboard computer that allows it to analyze the images, generating data on the number, sizes, shapes and other attributes of the particles captured in each photograph. The UVP can do all of this at high speeds, capturing and analyzing about six images per second.

UVP cameras have an advantage over conventional collection techniques like sediment traps that collect samples over a period of time.

“The camera gives a real-time snapshot of what particles look like undisturbed in the water column,” Pretty said. “The photos we take allow us to see events and features in the ocean that might not be possible to see in the material collected by a sediment trap or other methods.”

Pretty wants to discover whether the UVP can detect differences in the zooplankton communities in two different ocean environments. Her first set of images was taken in the Gulf of Alaska in July 2015. The second set was taken the same summer on a 5,000-mile straight transect between Tahiti, a French Polynesian island in the Pacific Ocean, and Kodiak, Alaska.

A year later, researchers are still working to fully process data from the trip. Pretty expects to see different kinds of zooplankton in each of her samples, because the Tahiti to Alaska cruise crossed through habitats that can have different kinds of zooplankton communities.

The open ocean is also deeper than coastal water. Pretty explains that the ocean is thousands of meters deep on the Tahiti transect compared to hundreds of meters deep on the Gulf of Alaska shelf.

“I am curious to evaluate if we see similar patterns of zooplankton in relation to particle size structure in these contrasting environments,” Pretty said. The research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Northern Gulf of Alaska Applied Research Award.

This research will also test the limitations of the cameras. Pretty is curious to see whether she will be able to extract information about particular species of zooplankton from the shallower Gulf of Alaska images, or if she will need to focus on trends for all zooplankton. Answers to these questions will help Pretty and McDonnell determine the kinds of questions they can ask in the future.

Understanding the different paths carbon can take — and the different forms it may travel in — will enhance the ability to determine the carbon-absorbing capacity of the ocean.

The cameras are vastly increasing the capacity for researchers like McDonnell and Pretty to understand how carbon moves around the ocean.

“I’m really excited,” said McDonnell. “We’ve discovered some interesting and surprising oceanographic features with these cameras. They are teaching us a lot about how the ocean’s carbon cycle works.”

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Largest Rural Alaska Honors Institute class graduates July 14 http://news.uaf.edu/largest-class-68-students-will-graduate-from-rural-alaska-honors-insitute-on-july-14/ http://news.uaf.edu/largest-class-68-students-will-graduate-from-rural-alaska-honors-insitute-on-july-14/#respond Wed, 13 Jul 2016 23:58:43 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66458 After six weeks of challenging academics, community service and hands-on learning, 68 rural and Alaska Native high school students will graduate from the Rural Alaska Honors Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday, July 14.

The students will be honored during a graduation ceremony at 1 p.m. in Schaible Auditorium on the UAF campus.

Former RAHI Director Jim Kowalsky was selected as the graduation’s keynote speaker.

“This year’s graduating class is the largest ever for the Rural Alaska Honors Institute,” said Evon Peter, UAF vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education. “While at the Troth Yeddha’ campus, these students learn how to successfully transition from their village or rural community to become successful university students. These students return to their communities ready to grow into leadership positions in their communities and Alaska.”

Troth Yeddha’ is the local Athabascan name for the ridge on which UAF sits.

The 68 students are from 45 rural communities and Alaska Native villages. Three students have parents who attended RAHI. Twelve students have a sibling who attended, including one student whose three siblings also attended RAHI.

“For many of our students, participating in the Rural Alaska Honors Institute is a life-changing experience,” said Denise Wartes, program manager. “They live like university students, form friendships, network with their peers and make memories that will last a lifetime.”

Since its inception in 1983 at the request of the Alaska Federation of Natives, RAHI has prepared more than 1,600 rural and Alaska Native high school students to adjust academically and socially to college life. During the six weeks of living in UAF’s on-campus housing, students earn as many as 11 college credits. In addition to required courses in English, library science, homeland security team building, and study skills for transitioning to college, traditional RAHI students choose from electives in process technology, business, chemistry and math. Three times per week, students choose from karate, yoga or Alaska Native dance classes. This year, students met with Alaska’s U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen.

Eleven RAHI students were part of a research option funded by the National Science Foundation. With direction from a mentor, eight students studied ancient DNA from salmon bones from an archeological dig, and three students studied walrus bones and whiskers. The students will present their research findings in a paper and poster.

Rural Alaska Native students who attend RAHI are twice as likely to successfully earn a bachelor’s degree (19 percent vs. 10 percent), according to an independent study by the American Institutes for Research. The research also measured students’ University of Alaska grade-point averages and discovered that RAHI students achieve “superior academic performance” while attending the University of Alaska.

<i>UAF photo by Leona Long</i><br>Rural Alaska Honors Institute students gather before the Midnight Sun Run on June 18 in Fairbanks with Alaska's U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, center. Sullivan answered questions from the group before the run.
UAF photo by Leona Long
Rural Alaska Honors Institute students gather before the Midnight Sun Run on June 18 in Fairbanks with U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, center. Sullivan answered questions from the group before the run.

RAHI is made possible by financial support from the UAF College of Rural and Community Development and sponsors like Wells Fargo, New York Life, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., Arctic Slope Community Foundation, Sitnasuak Native Corp., ConocoPhillips, Shell, Future Educators of Alaska, First National Bank of Alaska, NANA Management Services, Ravn Alaska, Boeing, Crowley, and Kuukpik Corp. Students attend at no cost and have their travel expenses paid.

For more information, visit www.uaf.edu/rahi.

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UAF CTC student joins elite Cisco networking group http://news.uaf.edu/uaf-student-selected-elite-cisco-networking-group/ http://news.uaf.edu/uaf-student-selected-elite-cisco-networking-group/#respond Fri, 08 Jul 2016 23:31:26 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66263 Stephanie HarveyUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks student Stephanie Harvey has been named to the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team and will travel to Las Vegas for Cisco Live. Harvey is one of 10 students selected for the team from applicants across the U.S. and Canada. ]]> Stephanie Harvey
Stephanie Harvey shows off her Cisco Live 2016 Event Staff badge in Las Vegas. Harvey is a member of the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team. She is also a mother of two and a student at UAF Community and Technical College.

University of Alaska Fairbanks student Stephanie Harvey has been named to the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team and will travel to Las Vegas for Cisco Live.

Harvey is one of 10 students selected for the team from applicants across the U.S. and Canada.

From July 10–14, the team will build, maintain and dismantle the Network Operations Center for the annual Cisco Live summer event. Cisco, the information technology firm and event sponsor, bills it as “five days of education, networking and fun.”

The Dream Team will set up hundreds of wireless access points for the 25,000-plus attendees, provide them with support and maintain a  help center throughout the event. In recent years, a Dream Team has also handled network operations at the annual NBA All-Star Game.

Rick McDonald, associate professor with UAF Community and Technical College’s computer and information technology specialist program, nominated Harvey.

“Beyond her work habits and preparation, she has that certain knack that helps her see the entire problem at hand,” McDonald said.

Harvey, a mother of two, lives in Juneau and takes online courses from CTC.

“Distance learning has allowed me to pursue my dreams of a career and college degree in IT,” she said. “I am able to communicate with my professors and classmates via text, microphone and video. This provides ways for the class to come together, learn and give various ideas and opinions.”

Harvey’s dedication and composure impressed McDonald.

“She did everything and more the others were doing, but with two toddlers on her lap and dinner on the stove,” he said.

Being a part of the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team can open doors to employment in the industry.

“Participating in this event will help me in my goal to make Alaska better by giving me an experience that provides a wealth of information and learning that I can take with me into my career and ultimately help me to be engaged in technology within Alaska,” Harvey said in a Dream Team introductory video.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Rick McDonald, ramcdonald@alaska.edu

ON THE WEB: Official team list with videos

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Extension offers money management video series http://news.uaf.edu/66252-2/ http://news.uaf.edu/66252-2/#respond Fri, 08 Jul 2016 21:51:51 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=66252 Mastering Money Management title slide for YouTubeThe University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has launched a series of short videos to help Alaskans manage their finances.

Topics in the Mastering Money Management series include improving your credit score, reading your credit report, children’s allowances, living on a seasonal income, automating your bill payments and what to do before choosing bankruptcy.

Roxie Dinstel, who has been teaching family finance classes for Extension for nearly 40 years, coordinated the series of five- to eight-minute YouTube videos. Ideas for topics came from agents and their clients, including farmers and fishermen, she said. Dinstel hopes the videos will be a quick resource that people can use.

Personal finance is important, she said. “But we’re not teaching it in school.”

Dinstel said Alaskans face special challenges for money management because of seasonal incomes, an uncertain state economy and budget cuts.

The videos are available at www.uaf.edu/ces/money. Eight have been posted, and more will be added this month. The videos were developed by Dinstel, agents Sarah Lewis and Linda Tannehill in Juneau and Soldotna, respectively, and media technician Jeff Fay. Former University of Alaska President Pat Gamble provided funding for the series. Anyone with ideas for additional video topics may contact Dinstel at 907-474-7201 or at rrdinstel@alaska.edu.

 

 

 

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