• Sample Preparation — the First Step of Successful Research

      Miao, Yan (2013)
      The overall goal of our research project is to study the unfrozen water mass and mobility in frozen soils. Frozen samples of standard clays with different adsorbed cations will be analyzed to determine their surface potential, micro-fabric, and how they interact with unfrozen water. To be successful, our first step was to develop standard procedures for sample preparation. During the past six months, we have developed and tested a set of methods for preparing clay samples, which included crushing source rocks into clay- sized samples with a suitable grain size distribution and exchanging cations for each type of clay. We experimented with different crushing methods, including using a ball mill, and mortar and pestle. Repeatable hydrometer test results indicated that our final combination of methods will produce clay samples with grain size distributions that are acceptable for future testing. Next, we exchanged the adsorbed cations with Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, and Na+ using chloride salt solutions, and flushed the excess chloride from the soil. Each cation-saturated clay required a different number of flushes due to the changes in surface chemistry. Sample preparation may seem simple, but all great research begins with a sound scientific foundation.
    • Sequencing of rabies binding region on nicotinic acteylcholine receptor alpha subunits in four host species

      Barnard, Karen (2013)
      • Rabies virus is known to bind to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAchR) • The virus is known to bind to alpha 1 subunits nAchR • The virus binding region has been characterized in alpha 1 subunits of these receptors • Little research has been done on the other alpha subunits • Understanding binding region sequences can help understand virus adaptation to host species • Using primers based on dog sequences, the proposed binding region of alpha subunits were amplified and sequenced • Current Results: • Red fox and dog have nearly identical alpha 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 sequences for the proposed binding region • Arctic fox has nearly identical sequences to dog and red fox in alpha 1, 2, and 6 • Raccoon’s alpha 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 subunits are similar enough to allow for annealing of the dog-based primers in PCR • No clear PCR products were found for skunk DNA • Future goals: • Sequencing five individuals per species • Adding mongoose, bat, and opossum
    • Sport Specific Drinking Motives Among Male Collegiate Hockey Players

      Thompson, Steve (2013)
      Research shows that student athletes are consuming more alcohol than any other population on college campuses. Many studies have suggested that the culture of sport combined with the social setting and pressures of playing on a team put these athletes at a high risk for drinking heavily and suffering multiple alcohol related consequences. One area of research that has not been studied is the concept of sport specific drinking motives. Each individual sport has a unique culture and with it very diverse personalities. For this reason, we hypothesize that individual sports will likewise have unique drinking motives and expectations with regard to alcohol use. In particular, hockey players at UAF may drink for different reasons than the general UAF population.
    • Topographic Development History of the Alaska Range

      Davis, Kailyn (2013)
      he overall goal of this project is to use variations in sediment source through time as a proxy for deciphering the uplift history of the Alaska Range (Fig. 1). In particular, we plan to track variations in sediment provenance through time for the Oligocene to present Tanana Basin. The main possible sediment source regions are north of the Alaska Range, south of the Alaska Range, and from the Alaska Range itself (Fig. 2). Furthermore, we will use the sediment source interpretation to test the hypothesis that the Nenana River changed direction during the Miocene (23 Ma to 5.3 Ma).
    • Unmanned Aerial vehicle with state a novel methane sensor

      Saiet, Eyal (2013)
      Minuscule volumes of methane are emitted to the local air shed by energy facilities and melting permafrost, both a great concern to Alaskan stake holders. Long oil and gas pipes extend over hundreds to thousands of miles, they may seldom leak at early stage through minuscule holes. Therefore it is vital to detect these holes early on. In addition, the melting permafrost in the sub arctic and arctic is releasing trapped subterranean methane. Here we propose to use a UAV as mean of transport towards methane leaks, coupled with novel instrument to measure methane. In this work we will to introduce the Aeryon Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), with a new state of the art cavity ring spectrometer. The spectrometer is a one of a kind because of its small power consumption, dwarfish dimensions and weight, and sensitivity of parts per-billion. Just recently one of the major energy corporations gave approval to purchase this instrument. It is planed this summer to perform its first test flights. The instrument is expected to provide an upper hand in finding minuscule leaks in oil and gas pipes as well to assist in measurements of the methane flux due to melting permafrost.