science

Ten Alaskan communities will join hundreds of others worldwide Saturday to show support for science and the role it plays in improving the lives of people. Two Alaskans who’ll be participating in their communities’ March for Science observances say they’ll also be protesting steep budget cuts proposed for federal agencies and programs and politically-motivated attacks on science and scientists.


Tim Ellis/KUAC

The Research Vessel Sikuliaq was officially commissioned Saturday in a ceremony at the boats’s home port in Seward. As KUAC’s Tim Ellis reports, the commissioning marked the end of decades of efforts to design and build it; and the beginning of its mission to research the Earth’s rapidly changing and increasingly important polar regions.


Fairbanks, AK - Two years ago, one biologist set out to try and count the number of shorebirds that migrate to and from Alaska each summer. The data collected in conjunction with the National Park Service the will help wildlife managers track bird reproduction and survival rates. It may also be useful as off shore oil and gas development moves ahead.

It’s not quite clear how many birds flew north to Alaska this summer, or any other summer prior.

Anthony R. Fiorillo and Ron Tykoski / Fiorillo AR, Tykoski RS (2014) A Diminutive New Tyrannosaur from the Top of the World. PLoS ONE 9(3): e91287. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091287

Fairbanks, AK - Most of the field work that will happen in Alaska this summer has wrapped up and scientists are now hard at work preparing samples for study and analyzing data.  Some of those field-collected samples include the remains of dinosaurs from the North Slope.

Somewhere between 100 and 70 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed a region of Alaska stretching from Denali to the North Slope. “In 2006, we worked on a quarry…" s ays Anthony Fiorillo.  He's the Curator of Earth Sciences at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas Texas.

John Grahame Holmes/VIREO / National Audobon Society, http://birds.audubon.org/birds/boreal-owl

Fairbanks, AK - America’s birds are in trouble. That’s according to two reports out earlier this month from the National Audubon Society and the Department of Interior.  Both documents indicate climate change could have dire effects for many of the birds that migrate to Alaska each year.

Chris Larsen/University of Alaska-Fairbanks

Fairbanks, AK - Alaska’s glaciers are shrinking faster than scientists had thought, but glaciers that terminate in the ocean may be relatively resilient to climate change in comparison to their land-locked counterparts.  The data comes from a multi-year airborne survey conducted by NASA.

Fairbanks, AK  - Scientists have long believed melting permafrost emits large amounts of carbon-rich greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide to the atmosphere resulting in a warming climate.  But a new study published online by the journal Nature indicates ancient lakes that formed after permafrost fin the Arctic first melted roughly ten thousand years ago may in fact have a net climate cooling effect over long time scales.  The the study also increases the total amount of carbon estimated in the frozen soils of the Far North by more than 50 percent.

Newly Forming Permafrost May Not Survive Century's End

Jun 12, 2014
Martin Briggs / US Geological Survey

Fairbanks, AK - New permafrost is forming in the Arctic, but scientist don’t believe it will survive beyond the end of the century.  That’s according to a study that was published in the American Geophysical Union’s publication Geophysical Research Letters this spring.  Researchers made the discovery at a lake in Alaska’s Eastern Interior.

Fairbanks, AK - A new exhibit opens at the University of Alaska Museum of the North over the weekend. The year-long installation is called "Arctic Odyssey: Voyages of the R/V Sikuliaq."  It offers a first-hand look the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ state-of-the-art new research vessel, slated to sail in Arctic waters next year.

Emily Schwing / KUAC

Fairbanks, AK - It will be a few months before butterflies flit through the air in Interior Alaska, but the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks was recently filled with them.  The museum is working to catalogue the second-largest collection of Arctic butterflies and moths in the world. It’s the largest private collection of its kind.  Eventually most of the specimens will be passed on to the Smithsonian.

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