Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center (ACRC)
ACRC is a research center at the University of Alaska Southeast focusing on the north Pacific coastal temperate rainforest. We're housed in the Pacific Northwest Research Station's Juneau Forestry Sciences Lab, adjacent to the UAS Juneau campus.
Effective climate change adaptation means supporting community autonomyCommunities want to determine their own climate change adaptation strategies, and scientists and decision-makers should listen to them — both the equity and efficacy of climate change adaptation depend on it. We outline key lessons researchers and development actors can take to support communities and learn from them.
The Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research (SEATOR) Partnership: Addressing Data Gaps in Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Shellfish Safety in Southeast AlaskaMany communities in Southeast Alaska harvest shellfish such as mussels and clams as an important part of a subsistence or traditional diet. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) of phytoplankton such as Alexandrium spp. produce toxins that can accumulate in shellfish tissues to concentrations that can pose a hazard for human health. Since 2013, several tribal governments and communities have pooled resources to form the Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research (SEATOR) network, with the goal of minimizing risks to seafood harvest and enhancing food security. SEATOR monitors toxin concentrations in shellfish and collects and consolidates data on environmental variables that may be important predictors of toxin levels such as sea surface temperature and salinity. Data from SEATOR are publicly available and are encouraged to be used for the development and testing of predictive algorithms that could improve seafood risk assessment in Southeast Alaska. To date, more than 1700 shellfish samples have been analyzed for paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) in more than 20 locations, with potentially lethal concentrations observed in blue mussels (Mytilus trossulus) and butter clams (Saxidomus gigantea). Concentrations of PSTs exhibit seasonality in some species, and observations of Alexandrium are correlated to sea surface temperature and salinity; however, concentrations above the threshold of concern have been found in all months, and substantial variation in concentrations of PSTs remain unexplained.
Meals in the melting-pot: Immigration and dietary change in diversifying citiesChanges in diets and food practices have implications for personal and planetary health. As these implications have become more apparent, dietary change interventions that seek to promote healthy and sustainable transitions have proliferated, and the processes and drivers of dietary change have come under increasing scrutiny. In particular, dietary acculturation has been recognised as a driver of dietary change in the context of immigration to expanding, cosmopolitan cities. However, research has largely focused on changes in the diets of immigrants and ethnic minorities. In contrast, this study contributes to our understanding of the process of dietary acculturation among the largest population groups in Vancouver, Canada — Chinese- and European-Canadians — in the context of the rapid diversification of the population and food environments in this city. This is done through the analysis of descriptive and contextualised interview and observational data, and a focus on social practices. These data show that food practices, particularly in cosmopolitan urban contexts, are constantly in flux, as diverse ethnic groups come into contact, and new generations develop their own hybrid food cultures. By demonstrating and theorising this process of dietary acculturation, this research offers insights how cultural interactions relate to dietary transitions. It presents an exploratory model for considering how food practices change through dietary acculturation, which is relevant to the design of interventions that aim to support healthier and more sustainable dietary transitions.
Climate-Mediated Changes to Linked Terrestrial and Marine Ecosystems across the Northeast Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest MarginCoastal margins are important areas of materials flux that link terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Consequently, climate-mediated changes to coastal terrestrial ecosystems and hydrologic regimes have high potential to influence nearshore ocean chemistry and food web dynamics. Research from tightly coupled, high-flux coastal ecosystems can advance understanding of terrestrial–marine links and climate sensitivities more generally. In the present article, we use the northeast Pacific coastal temperate rainforest as a model system to evaluate such links. We focus on key above- and belowground production and hydrological transport processes that control the land-to-ocean flow of materials and their influence on nearshore marine ecosystems. We evaluate how these connections may be altered by global climate change and we identify knowledge gaps in our understanding of the source, transport, and fate of terrestrial materials along this coastal margin. Finally, we propose five priority research themes in this region that are relevant for understanding coastal ecosystem links more broadly.