UAF Arctic research facilities and capacities

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Arctic research facilities and capacities UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS

Northern knowledge The world’s best Arctic researchers work at or with the University of Alaska Fairbanks because we offer outstanding opportunities in the physical, biological and social sciences related to the North. Our research units integrate with our academic side, creating a rich learning environment for undergraduate and graduate students. Looking outward, UAF’s partners include scientific, academic, government and indigenous organizations and agencies throughout Alaska, the U.S. and the world.

On the cover: Researchers use high-powered laser radar, or lidar, to study the composition and dynamics of Earth’s middle and upper atmosphere at UAF’s Poker Flat Research Range. This page: Undergraduate geology major Kailyn Davis, left, hikes with Paul Layer, dean of UAF’s College of Natural Science and Mathematics, during a June 2015 extended field trip near the Nabesna Glacier in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Table of contents 4 Overview 6

College of Liberal Arts


College of Natural Science and Mathematics Research Division


Geophysical Institute


Institute of Arctic Biology


Institute of Northern Engineering


International Arctic Research Center


School of Education


School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and Institute of Marine Science


UA Museum of the North

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: UAF photos by Todd Paris unless otherwise noted. Produced by Marketing and Communications. 02/2016


UAF research institutes, centers and programs Throughout Alaska and around the globe, UAF research investigates social, biological and geophysical aspects of life in the North.

Advanced Instrumentation Laboratory Advanced System Security Education, Research and Training Center Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy Alaska Center for Energy and Power Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Alaska Climate Research Center Alaska Climate Science Center Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Alaska Earthquake Center Alaska Fire Science Consortium Alaska Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Alaska Geobotany Center Alaska Native Language Archive

Alaska Native Language Center Alaska Quaternary Center Alaska Satellite Facility Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program Alaska University Transportation Center Alaska Volcano Observatory Animal Resources Center Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research Site Center for Alaska Native Health Research Center for Global Change Center for the Study of Security, Hazards, Response and Preparedness Coastal Marine Institute College of Liberal Arts College of Natural Science and Mathematics Division of Research Cooperative Institute for Alaska Research Core Facility for Nucleic Acid Analysis

The Keith B. Mather Library houses geophysical and biological sciences collections. The Elmer E. Rasmuson Library houses the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives, whose exceptional Alaska and polar research materials includes: • 150,000+ monograph and serial volumes • 11,000+ rare books, rare maps and manuscript maps • 20,000+ linear feet of archives and manuscripts • 1 million+ photographs • tens of thousands of historical films and videotapes • 11,000+ hours of oral history recordings Many items are digitized and available online.


Georgeson Botanical Garden Geographic Information Network of Alaska Geophysical Institute Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Institute of Arctic Biology Institute of Marine Science Institute of Northern Engineering International Arctic Research Center Kasitsna Bay Laboratory Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center Large Animal Research Station Mineral Industries Research Laboratory National Center for Island, Maritime and Extreme Environment Security

Northern Leadership Center Ocean Acidification Research Center Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization Petroleum Development Laboratory Poker Flat Research Range Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center Research Computing Systems Research Greenhouse Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning School of Education School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences School of Natural Resources and Extension Toolik Field Station University of Alaska Museum of the North Water and Environmental Research Center Wilson Alaska Technical Center

* Units in boldface denote major research divisions.

The UA Museum of the North is one of the premier visitor attractions in Alaska.


College of Liberal Arts The facilities at the College of Liberal Arts are as diverse as the college itself, offering handson research and learning opportunities. CLA’s programs in the arts, humanities, languages and social science research and education represent the human dimension of UAF research and offer limitless collaboration between its 22 disciplines. Work at our archaeology facilities has reshaped our understanding of early human life in the Arctic, with both chemical archaeology and bio-anthropology labs available to prepare and analyze field specimens. A newly renovated digital ethnology lab provides state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment with multimedia editing, transcription and discourse analysis.


The Alaska Native Language Center provides research, documentation and, in partnership with the Rasmuson Library’s Alaska Native Language Archive, preservation of the 20 indigenous languages in the state. An archive of more than 15,000 items, it contains virtually everything written about Alaska Native languages and is a valuable resource for preserving endangered tongues. A Native arts studio is equipped with indigenous and contemporary materials and tools, and is a valuable resource for information about Alaska Native art and its histories. The ceramics program has an expansive 3,500-square-foot facility, as well as an anagama kiln, salt kiln, and recycled oil and wood fast-fire kilns. FRAME productions, a film-training program, has high-tech equipment, professional film-editing labs, and extensive costume and scene shops.

The Psychology Department has nearly a dozen computer stations and three interview rooms to record clinical case study interviews and to analyze qualitative and quantitative clinical psychology data. Secured data storage is part of the lab spaces used by students and faculty. The Journalism Department has 35+ computer stations with photo and video editing software and hardware as well as two darkrooms; a photo studio; and photo and video equipment including over 20 DSLR cameras, a 3D camera, three video drones and extreme-weatherproofing equipment. Its diverse resources position the College of Liberal Arts to support new collaborations across the Arctic and beyond.

Clockwise from opposite: An undergraduate measures a modified stone flake found at the Delta River overlook excavation site during the Anthropology Department’s 2015 field season.​ Assistant Professor of Native Art Da-ka-xeen Mehner in the Alaska Native art studio. Journalism student Simone Trengove helps Professor Robert Prince with a video interview. Photo by Robert Prince.


This page: Nicole Knight, a Ph.D. candidate in environmental chemistry, uses AIL’s JEOL JXA-8530F electron microprobe to study the weathering of tellurium minerals in mine tailings. Photo by Meghan Murphy. Center: Undergraduate student Jessica Eicher contemplates glacial meltwater filling the bowl of rock that originated more than 1 mile deep in a volcanic arc near the Nelchina Glacier, southern Alaska. Photo by Adrienne Kentner. Opposite top: Geoscientist Daniel Mann holds a steppe bison skull from the last ice age. Photo by Pam Groves. Opposite bottom: Nancy Bigelow, from the Alaska Quaternary Center, flashes a smile as she carries equipment to sample peat. The peat contains pollen microfossils and plant macrofossils that can yield clues to past environmental conditions. Photo courtesy of Nancy Bigelow.


College of Natural Science and Mathematics Research Division The faculty, students and staff of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics research climate change, glacier dynamics, ancient ecosystems, theoretical and applied mathematics, mining impacts, strategic mineral recovery, veterinary medicine, wildlife disease, environmental contaminants, and the connection between the health of the environment and its wildlife to people and the planet. This diverse expertise promotes interdisciplinary research into Arctic issues that matter to Alaska communities and beyond. Our great strength is in transferring this expertise to new generations of researchers and the future workforce of Alaska. Our facilities include: Advanced Instrumentation Laboratory AIL is a multi-instrument resource that specializes in electron microscopy and surface and elemental analysis. This lab helps scientists and engineers understand small-scale physical processes in areas such as chemistry, fisheries, economic geology and volcanology. Alaska Quaternary Center AQC supports researchers who study the past 2 million years through its biology, climate, geology and human systems. Researchers with the center work on projects like helping date archaeological sites or looking at the landscape of Alaska during its last warming period.


Geophysical Institute

Scientists at the Geophysical Institute study geophysical processes from the Earth to the sun and beyond, earning an international reputation. The institute is home to researchers who are leaders in their respective fields and who also provide useful information for state, national and international needs. Undergraduate and graduate students can participate in abundant research opportunities with institute scientists.

The Geophysical Institute includes seven major research units: • Atmospheric Science • Remote Sensing • Seismology • Snow, Ice and Permafrost • Space Physics and Aeronomy • Tectonics and Sedimentation • Volcanology

An 11-meter antenna, one of three antenna systems operated by the Alaska Satellite Facility for NASA from the university’s prime northern location, supports a range of satellites studying Earth’s atmosphere, soil moisture, carbon dioxide and much more.


A Ptarmigan UAV, designed and manufactured by engineering graduate students, takes off to map sea ice north of Barrow. The Ptarmigan is one of many UAVs operated by the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration. Photo by Dyre Dammann.

In addition, specialized facilities address research, hazard monitoring, and data acquisition needs of government agencies and scientific organizations. The institute jointly operates many of these groups in collaboration with the government agencies they serve: • Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration • Alaska Climate Research Center • Alaska Earthquake Center • Alaska Satellite Facility • Alaska Volcano Observatory • Geographic Information Network of Alaska • High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program • Poker Flat Research Range • Research Computing Systems • Wilson Alaska Technical Center

Left: An infrasound sensor with wind noise filter sits on the Fairbanks campus. It is part of the Wilson Alaska Technical Center’s infrasound sensor array to detect violations of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Photo courtesy of GI. Right: A composite exposure of four rockets launched from Poker Flat Research Range within 30 minutes on Jan. 26, 2015. The white smears to the right are trimethyl aluminum, released to track mesospheric turbulence. Photo by Jamie Adkins, NASA.


Institute of Arctic Biology

The Institute of Arctic Biology is Alaska’s principal life science research and education institution. The interdisciplinary expertise of the faculty, staff and students and the diversity of programs and facilities provide a valuable resource for researchers, resource managers and policymakers across the state, nation and world. Much of what is known about Arctic ecosystems has emerged from long-term research by scientists working from the Toolik Field Station on Alaska’s North Slope, which provides lodging and research support to a global clientele.

Top: Scientists at the Center for Alaska Native Health Research work closely with residents in rural villages to gather information and share results. Photo by Bert Boyer. Bottom: Research on Arctic ground squirrels may one day ​discover new ways to treat heart attacks​, ​strokes​and Alzheimer’s disease. Opposite: Graduate student Sarah Ludwig sets up monitoring equipment in the tundra at the Toolik Field Station on Alaska’s North Slope.


The Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research program focuses on understanding long-term consequences of changing climate and other disturbance such as wildfire, insect outbreaks and permafrost thaw. A statewide network of research sites and long-term environmental monitoring datasets support collaborative opportunities for national and international scientists.

The Center for Alaska Native Health Research seeks to understand, prevent and reduce health disparities such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in indigenous communities. Researchers study how culture influences the understanding of and response to disease so findings and interventions are communicated in culturally appropriate ways. The Alaska IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence supports scientists and students in biomedical research, training and education at the University of Alaska’s three major campuses.

Scientists with the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit conduct research and educate students on the ecology and management of fish and wildlife and provide the state with technical expertise through data analysis support, mapping, workshops and consultations. The DNA Core Lab provides nucleic acid sample analysis and training with a diverse suite of analytical chemistry instrumentation. Users include multiple UAF units and outside agencies. The Molecular Imaging Facility includes a magnetic resonance imager and two nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers able to perform the entire range of NMR techniques for researchers at UAF and outside the university.


Institute of Northern Engineering

The Institute of Northern Engineering carries out the research mission of UAF’s College of Engineering and Mines. That mission spans an array of engineering and related disciplines, and incorporates fundamental and applied research, student training, dissemination of research results, and public outreach. INE is focused on, but not limited to, challenges associated with cold regions. INE is organized into six research centers: • The Alaska Center for Energy and Power is an applied energy research program focusing on the integration of renewable with nonrenewable power-generating sources. The center works closely with stakeholders to develop and disseminate practical and cost-effective solutions for Alaska and beyond. • The Advanced System Security Education, Research and Training Center is a multidisciplinary computer security research center. The center provides curriculum and program development, research opportunities, K-12 outreach, and support to local, statewide and national organizations and agencies.

Matvey Debolskiy, a Ph.D. student in geophysics, balances a precipitation gauge on a ridge above the Jarvis Glacier in the eastern Alaska Range.


• The Alaska University Transportation Center performs applied and basic research focusing on transportation in cold climates. Areas of expertise include pavement materials, bridge design for Arctic and sub-Arctic conditions, transportation infrastructure in permafrost, dust management techniques for roads and airports, drainage structures, control of aufeis, and highway safety. • The Mineral Industry Research Laboratory performs basic and applied research in areas including beneficiation and hydrometallurgy of ores, geotechnical engineering (including frozen ground), impact of cold climate on mine ventilation, systems engineering, mineral economics, and computational intelligence for mine operations. • The Petroleum Development Laboratory helps industry and agencies develop new technologies through research and development. The lab focuses on Alaska North Slope

conventional and unconventional oil (heavy oil and shale oil) development, conventional natural gas, and unconventional gas such as methanehydrate resource assessment and development. • The Water and Environmental Research Center addresses research questions involving the Arctic’s water and environmental assets. Faculty and staff expertise ranges from Arctic, civil and environmental engineering to the environmental, hydrological, ecological, biological and chemical sciences.

Top: Graduate student Shruti Oza sets up apparatus for a procedure in the Petroleum Development Lab in the Duckering Building. Right: Installation of bridge monitoring sensors on the Chulitna River bridge, on the Parks Highway. Photo by Leroy Hulsey.


International Arctic Research Center The International Arctic Research Center fosters Arctic research in an international setting to help the nation and the international community understand, prepare for and adapt to the pan-Arctic impacts of climate change. Key elements of integrated science and service program are: • Analysis, synthesis and provision of Arctic climate information, including Arctic Ocean hydrographic information for scientists, students, decision-makers and the public; • Support and coordination of Arctic system modeling by providing a nexus for model validation and assessment and by exploratory development of new component modules; and • Service as an Arctic climate science coordination center to Alaska and other research sites for the Arctic research community through international project offices, secretariat functions and coordination of targeted synthesis workshops, with special attention to collaboration with international scientists and institutions.

Top: The Syun-Ichi Akasofu Building at UAF is headquarters for IARC research and operations. Photo by Yuri Bult-Ito. Bottom: Bob Busey adds solar-charging capability to a hydrological and ecological monitoring site in a birch stand in Alaska’s boreal forest. Photo by Bob Busey.


IARC researcher Rob Rember works on a system that separates trace elements from seawater. Bottom left: The IARC-led NABOS II (Nansen and Amundsen Basins Observational System) 2015 expedition team installs an ice mass balance buoy and drills holes in the ice for an ice-tethered profiler and buoys in the East Siberian Sea. Photo by Elizaveta Ershova.

• The Alaska Fire Science Consortium, strengthening the link between fire science research and practical application by promoting communication between managers and scientists, providing an organized fire science delivery platform, and facilitating collaborative scientist-manager research development;

IARC also includes: • The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, helping Alaska agencies, industries and citizens respond to a changing climate; • The Alaska Climate Science Center, which provides scientific information, tools and techniques that managers and other parties interested in land, water, wildlife and cultural resources can use to anticipate, monitor and adapt to climate change;

• The Cooperative Institute for Alaska Research, which fosters collaboration between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Alaska, and others doing ecosystem and environmental research in Alaska and its associated Arctic regions; and • The Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning, which aims to help people plan in a changing climate by exploring possible futures based on the best scientific knowledge and data available.


School of Education School of Education faculty blend theory and practice in their research by focusing on and supporting high-quality education in Alaska’s Arctic communities. With support of federal and private funds, this research helps the school meet its mission of preparing culturally responsive counselors, educators and researchers for Alaska.

The school’s research includes: • Investigations into language maintenance in an emergent bilingual context • Sustaining indigenous and local knowledge, arts and teaching in rural Alaska Native communities • Familial, sociocultural and geographical contexts in a northern Alaska forest environment Top: UAF emphasizes preparing educators to teach in rural Alaska, such as at this school in Togiak, in Southwest Alaska. Left: Young children were part of a study to investigate how they construct their environmental identity through play and exploration in the natural world. Photo by Carie Green.


• Preparing STEM teachers for the Arctic and for using exemplary curriculum and assessments to educate indigenous people of the Arctic. The School of Education offers teaching certification and degree programs that emphasize local and indigenous knowledge, and provides distance-delivery degree and certificate options to individuals across Alaska’s Arctic.

Top: As part of her teacher training, Jamie Hallberg leads fifth-grade students in a group activity to learn about the food web. Bottom: Assistant Professor Ute Kaden mentors Bennett Wong as he pursues a graduate degree in secondary education.


School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences

Katrin Iken dives under sea ice in the Alaska Arctic, looking for amphipods that feed on sea ice algae and are themselves food for Arctic cod. Photo by Shawn Harper.

The School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences is a major research unit within UAF, garnering over $20 million in external research dollars per year to address the pressing societal need for information about fisheries, marine biology and oceanography. Research by faculty and graduate and undergraduate students extends from the freshwater rivers and lakes throughout Alaska to the marine waters of the Arctic, sub-Arctic and Antarctic.

• Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center — a partner with the seafood industry to discover better production and distribution methods for Alaska’s fishing and seafood industries

The new 261-foot, ice-capable Research Vessel Sikuliaq, is one of the most advanced university research vessels in the world and can break ice up to 1 meter (2.5 feet) thick. This enables the R/V Sikuliaq to bring scientists to the icy waters of Alaska and the Arctic, facilitating three-season research in one of the most rapidly changing regions of the world’s oceans. The Sikuliaq is owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by SFOS out of Seward, Alaska. The Seward Marine Center supports the ship operations and provides access to shoreside marine laboratory facilities.

• Scientific Diving Program — offers training in scientific diving for subtidal research projects, focusing on cold-water and dry-suit diving across Alaska and the Antarctic

• Ocean Acidification Research Center — conducts research on increasing acidity in the ocean, and on impacts on Alaska’s marine ecosystems and scientific and fisheries communities

The school also houses Alaska Sea Grant and the Marine Advisory Program, which help connect research to community interests.

Additional facilities and resources include: • Kasitsna Bay Laboratory, operated in partnership by SFOS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — a unique marine research facility well-situated on Kachemak Bay to examine questions important to coastal communities


IMS researchers recover an autonomous underwater glider from a two-week mission in the Chukchi Sea. Photo by Peter Winsor.

The Research Vessel Sikuliaq, operated by SFOS. Photo by Sharice Walker.

Institute of Marine Science As part of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, the Institute of Marine Science is at the forefront of high-latitude marine science, conducting research in oceanography and marine biology with a focus on polar and sub-Arctic regions ($15 million annually). Major research areas include oceanographic circulation patterns, ecosystem structure and dynamics, effects of climate change, factors affecting Alaska fisheries, and applied research related to the U.S. Arctic offshore industry. IMS is currently conducting several groundbreaking interdisciplinary studies of marine ecosystems in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Tools for oceanographic research include autonomous underwater gliders, drifters, moorings, HF radar, and a custom-designed remote power module for coastal instrument deployments. Marine particle dynamics are studied using optical instruments. Analytical capabilities include trace metal biogeochemistry, stable isotope studies of food webs and genomics. Numerical modelers use the Research Computing Systems at UAF’s Geophysical Institute.

IMS maintains unique long-term climate and ecosystem monitoring stations in the North Pacific and western Arctic. These include an oceanographic time series since 1970 at hydrographic station GAK-1 near Seward, the longest-running temperature-salinity-depth time series in the coastal Gulf of Alaska. The Seward Line is a long-term observation program operating since 1998, conducting transects from Resurrection Bay to the continental slope in the Gulf of Alaska. Observations in the western Arctic focus on shallow, seasonally ice-covered continental shelves. IMS also operates the only long-term mooring in the Chukchi Sea for multidisciplinary and multitrophic-level ecosystem monitoring. Marine biological research ranges from microbes to fish, marine mammals and seabirds. Coldwater scientific diving is used for access to kelp forests, shallow seafloor and sea ice, and IMS researchers are testing the use of rebreathers for diving under ice. Research in marine mammal ecology and physiology is done in collaboration with Alaska Native subsistence groups.


UA Museum of the North

The University of Alaska Museum of the North is a hub in a growing network of research units across the state and the world with an Arctic focus. The curatorial staff, along with University of Alaska faculty and students, government agencies, and national and international researchers, use and improve the museum’s collections through ongoing research projects. The museum maintains a world-class, openaccess, online database of Arctic biodiversity that encompasses all species of animals and plants known from Alaska (over 15,000), including human archaeological and historical artifacts, as well as extinct species dating to before the Age of Dinosaurs.

Mammalogy curator Link Olson and graduate student Katie Rubin prepare to tag a trapped hoary marmot for hibernation research. Photo by Kelsey Gobroski.


Each of the museum’s collection departments feature specimen-processing laboratories. In addition, the museum maintains one of the world’s largest frozen tissue collections, with 200,000 samples from voucher specimens archived in the collections. The museum is recognized internationally as having one of the largest collections of Alaska archaeological artifacts, dinosaurs, insects, plants and marine mammals. The museum is also the primary source of information on the cultural, natural and art history of Alaska. There are two molecular labs on site. One is used for standard molecular work with fresh or frozen

Collection manager Julie Rousseau, JP Cavigelli of the Tate Geological Museum and Jim Baichtal, a geologist with the Tongass National Forest, admire a 55-million-year-old palm frond from Southeast Alaska. Photo by Pat Druckenmiller.

tissues, although polymerase chain reaction procedures are prohibited to protect against contamination. The museum also maintains an Ancient DNA Laboratory, the only facility in Alaska where DNA extractions from very old and highly degraded material can be performed with a minimized risk of contamination from external DNA sources. The collections provide critical data for understanding climate change and other environmental fluctuations, and contribute to research that focuses on understanding changes in Arctic biodiversity in the past, present and future, and how humans have responded to these changes. The collections and the research conducted on them provide information on plant and animal evolution, and are valuable for research on emerging pathogens and food security.

Joan Baek, a student volunteer in the genomic resources collection, removes tissue samples from a liquid nitrogen cryovat. Photo by Kyndall Hildebrandt.

Archaeology curator Josh Reuther and Kaktovik resident Marie Rexford examine the artistry of ivory and bone artifacts in the Barter Island collection. Photo by Kelsey Gobroski.


Jeff Benowitz, with UAF’s Geophysical Institute, leads a team of geologists on a June 2015 research field trip near the Nabesna Glacier in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Reserve.

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