• On using numerical sea-ice prediction and indigenous observations to improve operational sea-ice forecasts during spring in the Bering Sea

      Deemer, Gregory Joseph; Bhatt, Uma; Eicken, Hajo; Hutchings, Jennifer; Danielson, Seth (2015-05)
      Impacts of a rapidly changing climate are amplified in the Arctic. The most notorious change has come in the form of record-breaking summertime sea-ice retreat. Larger areas of open water and a prolonged ice-free season create opportunity for some industries, but bring new challenges to indigenous populations that rely on sea-ice cover for subsistence. Observed and projected increases in Arctic maritime activities require accurate sea-ice forecasts on the weather timescale, which are currently lacking. Motivated by emerging needs, this study explores how new modeling developments and local-scale observations can contribute to improving sea-ice forecasts. The Arctic Cap Nowcast/Forecast System, a research sea-ice forecast model developed by the U.S. Navy, is evaluated for forecast skill. Forecasts of ice concentration, thickness, and drift speed produced by the model from April through June 2011 in the Bering Sea have been investigated to determine how the model performs relative to persistence and climatology. Results show that model forecasts can outperform forecasts based on climatology or persistence. However, predictive skill is less consistent during powerful, synoptic-scale events and near the Bering Slope. Forecast case studies in Western Alaska are presented. Community-based observations from recognized indigenous sea-ice experts have been analyzed to gauge the prospect of using local observations in the operational sea-ice monitoring and prediction process. Local observations are discussed in the context of cross-validating model guidance, data sources used in operational ice monitoring, and public sea-ice information products issued by the U.S. National Weather Service. Instrumentation for observing sea-ice and weather at the local scale was supplied to key observers. The instrumentation shows utility in the field and may help translate the context of indigenous observations and provide ground-truth data for use by forecasters.
    • Once upon a time: an anthropological exploration of Gwich'in stories (Man in the moon; The old woman and the brushman)

      Frey, Monika; Tuttle, Siri; Plattet, Patrick; Koskey, Michael (2015-08)
      This MA thesis research focuses on Gwich'in stories. It seeks to better understand how similar the versions of two stories are when each is parsed into units representing themes within the stories. Drawing in part on Lévi-Strauss's structural study of myth and applying aspects of it to the Gwich'in stories discussed in this research, I will demonstrate that several versions of a story contain identical themes, though levels of detail vary. This occurs when (1) a story is told by the same storyteller at different times, and (2) when a story is told by two or more storytellers. While each version of a particular story may differ in the amount of detail, resulting in shorter and longer versions, my research shows that the main themes of a story are identical even when several storytellers narrate the same story or when the same storyteller tells a story more than once, but several years apart. There is a gap in the academic literature pertaining to Gwich'in stories. Recent projects have been conducted including Gwich'in stories focused on documenting narratives, but no one has investigated whether the content of those tales is actually identical. My research complements these projects by shedding light on a less studied aspect of Gwich'in storytelling.
    • One health toxicology: expanding perspectives and methods to assess environmental contaminants

      Harley, John Robinson; O'Hara, Todd; Dunlap, Kriya; Duffy, Lawrence; Rea, Lorrie (2017-12)
      The discipline of One Health is founded on the principal that environmental health, animal health, and human health are interconnected. Although the field has been largely focused on zoonotic diseases, examining concepts such as toxicology under a One Health lens can offer a more holistic and preventative approach to research and implementation and, in particular, how fish-based diets may be involved with One Health outcomes. Here we present three general case studies that demonstrate new approaches to investigating One Health toxicology. In Chapter One we show how Arctic canids can be used as environmental sentinels for human health. We discuss three separate canid studies; in the first we find that Arctic foxes can act as sentinels of Arctic contaminants due to their foraging plasticity, in the second we examine the use of fish-fed sled dogs as a model for the effects of a fish-based diet on contaminants exposure and gene transcription, and in the third we develop the sled dog as a model for particulate matter air pollution in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. In Chapter Two we utilize the Steller sea lion, a nonmodel organism, as a sentinel for the effects of fish-based diet mercury exposure induced whole-genome changes in gene transcription (RNA-Seq). Using newly developed informatics tools we assemble a de novo transcriptome and examine large scale changes in gene expression related to mercury exposure and other One Health uses. This approach is extremely adaptable and has the potential to be applied across numerous non-model organisms and contaminants. We also applied a microbial mining algorithm to our RNA-Seq data and found evidence for a hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. in one of our samples. In Chapter Three we examine sources of mercury exposure for pregnant women from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. We found mercury concentrations to be generally low among the examined fish species and staple foods. While typical dietary assessments rely on recall surveys and questionnaires, we found that examining chemical biomarkers of diet including stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen are critical in dietary risk assessment. Taken together these three investigations offer valuable lessons and techniques which can be applied to the field of One Health toxicology; especially to those fish diet based systems.
    • One woman's land

      Glasoe, Sydney Caroline (2001-05)
      'One woman's land' is an essay collection that explores how place shapes identity and reciprocally how such marked individuals influence their land, family, and community. The essays are memoir and use the author's family farm in northwestern North Dakota as a vehicle to illuminate the dynamics of farming families and their rural communities when the work on which both survive is at once inclusive and a way of life. Each essay remains separate in narrative and structure, but the themes addressed are recursive and reflect upon other sections. The essays remain linked in that they create a social history that seeks to define a rural lifestyle holding an increasingly fragile existence in American identity.
    • Online social media as a social-ecological systems research tool: Facebook and two rural Alaskan communities

      Hum, Richard E.; Koskey, Michael; Taylor, Karen; Brinkman, Todd (2013-12)
      The earth has transitioned into the anthropocene, which is defined by complex environmental change linked to human behavior and requires new tools of analysis in order to understand shifting social-ecological system (SES) dynamics. In this work, I explore taking advantage of widespread online social media participation to develop the tools for doing so. Spatially grounded public exchanges on Facebook are examined with three goals in mind: 1) examine the types of SES content being passed through this communication medium, 2) compare community observations to relevant scientific observations, and 3) define a flexible and reproducible research method for integrating these communications signals into a wide range of SES studies. Facebook activity from two communities in northwest Alaska was studied. Communication patterns were assessed combining content and network analysis methodology. My results indicate that signals are passed through this mode of communication directly addressing the SES topics of subsistence, food security, and human-weather interactions. Data from instrumentally based weather observations are qualitatively aligned with posting frequency and content. A context and community-based research method is defined that uses staged deductive/inductive content analysis, in conjunction with network analysis, to identify emergent local SES relationships.
    • The ontogeny of hypoxic neuroventilation in the brainstem of the developing American bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana

      Buehner, Justin C.; Taylor, Barbara; Drew, Kelly; Harris, Michael; Duffy, Lawrence K. (2008-12)
      Isolated brainstem models have been used twice to examine the hypoxic neuroventilatory response (HnVR) in developing bullfrogs with varying results, leading me to question if the results of these two previous studies were physiologically relevant. Based on in vivo and in vitro observations, I hypothesized that buccal neuroventilation exhibits no ventilatory response to hypoxia in any developmental stage and that lung neuroventilation exhibits a biphasic hypoxic response in late metamorphic tadpoles and a neuroventilatory depression in juvenile bullfrogs and early metamorphic tadpoles. I tested this by using brainstems isolated from intact early and late metamorphic tadpoles and juvenile bullfrogs exposed to 20% O2 saturation in artificial cerebrospinal fluid. Neuroventilatory patterns were recorded from the facial and hypoglossal nerves using suction electrodes and burst frequency, and duration for buccal and lung bursts were examined in all developmental stages. Results confirmed my hypothesis for buccal neuroventilation across development and lung neuroventilation in juveniles, but not my hypothesis about lung neuroventilation in tadpoles. Therefore, the HnVR of developing bullfrogs consists of constant maintenance of neuroventilatory activity in early metamorphic tadpoles, a trend towards a biphasic neuroventilatory response in late metamorphic tadpoles, and ventilatory depression that is mediated centrally in juvenile bullfrogs.
    • Optical observations of critical ionization velocity chemical releases in the ionosphere: The role of collisions

      Hampton, Donald Loyd (1996)
      In recent years researchers have pointed out the importance of collisional processes in ionospheric chemical releases performed to study Alfven's critical ionization velocity effect (CIV). Ionizing collisions, including charge exchange with ambient O$\sp+$ and associative ionization, can not only help initiate CIV, but can also lead to 'contamination' of the ion cloud. Most of the proposed collisions have associated emissions which should be observable with sensitive detectors, but until now have not been attempted since atomic processes had not been considered important. The first four releases of the CRRES satellite were performed to study CIV. The releases were at local dusk over the south Pacific in September, 1990, and were observed from two aircraft with low light level cameras, both filtered and broadband. Ion inventories of the releases show ionization yields (number of ions per number of available neutrals) of 0.02% for Sr, 0.15% for the first Ba release, 0.27% for Ca and 1.48 for the second Ba release. The release clouds were seen to glow quite strongly, below the terminator. The measured light is found to be primarily from line emissions which indicates that it is due to collisional processes in the release cloud. Two measurements were made on the release cloud data; (1) the absolute intensity of the release clouds and (2) the ratio between a broadband intensified CCD (ICCD) and an imaging photon detector filtered for the Ba$\sp+$ 455.4 nm emission line. The measured ratio is compared to the expected ratio for charge exchange collisions, and to electron impact excitation of Ba. The measured ratio is consistent with emissions being from charge exchange collisions. However, when compared to the total intensity of emissions expected from charge exchange, the absolute intensity in the release cloud measured by the ICCD is five times greater. The two measurements are in conflict, and with this limited set of data cannot be fully resolved. The ratio measurement does indicate that any CIV discharge in the Ba releases was extremely weak, and that charge exchange is the dominant collisional process in Ba releases.
    • Optical Remote Sensing Of Snow On Sea Ice: Ground Measurements, Satellite Data Analysis, And Radiative Transfer Modeling

      Zhou, Xiaobing; Li, Shusun; Stamnes, Knut; Sharpton, Buck; Jeffries, Martin O.; Echelmeyer, Keith (2002)
      The successful launch of the Terra satellite on December 18, 1999 opened a new era of earth observation from space. This thesis is motivated by the need for validation and promotion of the use of snow and sea ice products derived from MODIS, one of the main sensors aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites. Three cruises were made in the Southern Ocean, in the Ross, Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas. Measurements of all-wave albedo, spectral albedo, BRDF, snow surface temperature, snow grain size, and snow stratification etc. were carried out on pack ice floes and landfast ice. In situ measurements were also carried out concurrently with MODIS. The effect of snow physical parameters on the radiative quantities such as all-wave albedo, spectral albedo and bidirectional reflectance are studied using statistical techniques and radiative transfer modeling, including single scattering and multiple scattering. The whole thesis consists of six major parts. The first part (chapter 1) is a review of the present research work on the optical remote sensing of snow. The second part (chapter 2) describes the instrumentation and data-collection of ground measurements of all-wave albedo, spectral albedo and bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) of snow and sea ice in the visible-near-infrared (VNIR) domain in Western Antarctica. The third part (chapter 3) contains a detailed multivariate correlation and regression analysis of the measured radiative quantities with snow physical parameters such as snow density, surface temperature, single and composite grain size and number density. The fourth part (chapter 4) describes the validation of MODIS satellite data acquired concurrently with the ground measurements. The radiances collected by the MODIS sensor are converted to ground snow surface reflectances by removing the atmospheric effect using a radiative transfer algorithm (6S). Ground measured reflectance is corrected for ice concentration at the subpixel level so that the in situ and space-borne measured reflectance data are comparable. The fifth part (chapter 5) investigates the single scattering properties (extinction optical depth, single albedo, and the phase function or asymmetry factor) of snow grains (single or composite), which were calculated using the geometrical optical method. A computer code, GOMsnow, is developed and is tested against benchmark results obtained from an exact Mie scattering code (MIE0) and a Monte Carlo code. The sixth part (chapter 6) describes radiative transfer modeling of spectral albedo using a multi-layer snow model with a multiple scattering algorithm (DISORT). The effect of snow stratification on the spectral albedo is explored. The vertical heterogeneity of the snow grain-size and snow mass density is investigated. It is found that optical remote sensing of snow physical parameters from satellite measurements should take the vertical variation of snow physical parameters into account. The albedo of near-infrared bands is more sensitive to the grain-size at the very top snow layer (<5cm), while the albedo of the visible bands is sensitive to the grain-size of a much thicker snow layer. Snow parameters (grain-size, for instance) retrieved with near-infrared channels only represent the very top snow layer (most probably 1--3 cm). Multi-band measurements from visible to near-infrared have the potential to retrieve the vertical profile of snow parameters up to a snow depth limited by the maximum penetration depth of blue light.
    • Optical spectroscopic observations of sprites, blue jets, and elves: Inferred microphysical processes and their macrophysical implications

      Heavner, Matthew James; Sentman, Davis D. (2000)
      During the past decade, several new upper atmospheric phenomena associated with thunderstorms have been discovered. The four main types of optical emissions are now called sprites, blue jets, lves, and halos. Sprites are primarily red and appear between 40--95 km altitude and last between 1--100 ms. The dominant sprite emission is the molecular nitrogen first positive band, a relatively low energy emission also observed in the red lower borders of aurorae. The total optical energy output of a bright sprite is on the order of 50 kJ. Based on spectral observations, the total vibrational and electronic energy deposited in molecular nitrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere is 250 MJ-1 GJ. Blue jets last hundreds of milliseconds and span altitudes 15--40 km. Spectral observations of blue jets have not been obtained to date. Elves, the third type of observed optical emissions above thunderstorms, are red emissions at altitudes 75--95 km, lasting one millisecond or less. Elves and halos are similar phenomena, but are distinct based on altitude and duration. Halos typically last 3--6 ms and occur at lower altitudes than elves. This dissertation describes the optical spectrum of sprites obtained by the University of Alaska Fairbanks during summer campaigns of 1995, 1996, and 1998, and its implication to the understanding of the electrodynamics of the middle atmosphere. The single most significant result is the determination that a typical sprite deposits up to one gigajoule into the mesosphere. These forms of electrical energy coupling from tropospheric thunderstorms into the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere/ionosphere may have critical implications for the global chemistry and energy budgets in these regions.
    • Optimal Inseason Management Of Pink Salmon Given Uncertain Run Sizes And Declining Economic Value

      Su, Zhenming; Adkison, Milo (2001)
      This is a comprehensive study on the fishery and management system (including the inseason stock abundance dynamics, the purse seine fleet dynamics and the inseason management) of pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) in the northern Southeast Alaska inside waters (NSE). Firstly, we presented a hierarchical Bayesian modelling approach (HBM) for estimating salmon escapement abundance and timing from stream count data, which improves estimates in years when data are sparse by "borrowing strength" from counts in other years. We presented a model of escapement and of count data, a hierarchical Bayesian statistical framework, a Gibbs sampling estimation approach for posterior distributions, and model determination techniques. We then applied the HBM to estimating historical escapement parameters for pink salmon returns to Kadashan Creek in Southeast Alaska. Secondly, a simulation study was conducted to compare the performance of the HBM to that of separate maximum likelihood estimation of each year's escapement. We found that the HBM was much better able to estimate escapement parameters in years where few or no counts are made after the peak of escapement. Separate estimates for such years could be wildly inaccurate. However, even a single postpeak count could dramatically improve the estimability of escapement parameters. Third, we defined major stocks and their migratory pathways for the NSE pink salmon. We estimated the escapement timing parameters of these stocks by the HBM. A boxcar migration model was then used to reconstruct the catch and abundance histories for these stocks from 1977 to 1998. Finally, we developed a stochastic simulation model that simulates this fishery and management system. Uncertainties in annual stock size and run timing, fleet dynamics and both preseason and inseason forecasts were accounted for explicitly in this simulation. The simulation model was applied to evaluating four kinds of management strategies with different fishing opening schedules and decision rules. When only flesh quality is concerned, the present and a more aggressive strategy, both of which are adaptive to the run strength of the stocks, are able to provide higher quality fish without compromising the escapement objectives.
    • Optimization of oilfield power distribution through installation of underground transmission lines applied to the Alaskan North Slope

      Mielke, Robert (2004-05)
      An analytical model is developed to evaluate economic feasibility of installing new underground segments to the power transmission system maintained and operated by Greater Prudhoe Bay Central Power Station. Installation of underground segments is considered for intersections of power lines and roadways. Old materials and equipment are abandoned in favor of new technological infrastructure additions to transmission systems. This installation is progressive in its approach; it aims to eliminate superfluous oilfield operations via implementation of technological innovation. Results indicate that installation of underground segments of transmission line is an economically feasible project. Installation sites are chosen that optimize the economics of this investment. Project impact to power reliability, idle rig time, and streamlined rig operations far outweighs the investment associated with this project. Additionally, this project's effect on Prudhoe Bay oil production shows great potential for additional power line burial projects. Hence, it is hoped that this research be considered a pilot project, that future power line burial projects be considered for implementation, and that economic modeling of future projects be accomplished via revision of this work to include comparison of actual vs. predicted economics of this pilot project.
    • Optimizing landbird surveys for detecting population and spatial dynamics

      Mizel, Jeremy D.; Lindberg, Mark; Breed, Greg; Powell, Abby; Schmidt, Joshua (2017-12)
      Landbird populations are undergoing concurrent changes in population size, spatial distribution, and phenology. The sensitivity of landbird monitoring programs to detect and distinguish these varied processes is of critical importance. Consequently, these efforts require inference methods that are efficient and fully leverage information about spatial, population, and phenological dynamics. The development of efficient inference methods can be addressed in part through a thorough understanding of how the data are actually generated, the application of sampling methods that attempt to maximize encounter probability, and the tailoring of sampling methods to maximize sensitivity to specific inference objectives. Chapter one of this dissertation is concerned with accommodating temporary emigration in spatial distance sampling models. Model-based distance sampling is commonly used to understand spatial variation in the density of wildlife species. The standard approach is to assume that individuals are distributed uniformly in space and model spatial variation in abundance using plot-level effects. Thinned point process models for surveys of unmarked populations (spatial distance sampling) frame the sampling process in terms of the individual encounter in space and, consequently, are expected to offer greater sensitivity for understanding spatial processes. However, existing spatial distance sampling approaches are conditioned on the assumption that all individuals are present and available for sampling. Temporary emigration of individuals can therefore result in biased estimates of abundance. Herein, I extend spatial distance sampling models to accommodate temporary emigration. A simulation study indicated more precise and less biased estimation under the spatial distance sampling model compared to models that assume a uniform distribution of individuals and assess spatial variation in abundance using plot-level effects. An applied example involving two arctic-breeding passerines indicated considerably stronger inference under the spatial distance sampling model than standard distance sampling models. Chapter two is concerned with the capacity of subarctic passerines to adjust their arrival timing to relatively extreme variation in spring conditions. I assessed interannual variation in passerine arrival timing in Denali National Park, Alaska from 1995-2015, a period that included both the warmest and coldest recorded mean spring temperatures for the park. Neotropical-Nearctic migrants varied in terms of the flexibility of their arrival timing, but generally showed plastic phenologies, suggesting resilience under extreme spring conditions. In comparison, Nearctic-Nearctic migrants showed similar or greater plasticity in arrival timing. A majority of species showed synchronous-asynchronous fluctuation in arrival (i.e., synchronous arrival in some years, asynchronous in others) in combination with various levels of the mean response (i.e., early, average, and late arrival), suggesting the presence of interactions between environmental conditions at multiple scales and inter-individual variation. Overall, these findings suggest that monitoring of the mean-variance relationship may lead to a deeper understanding of the factors shaping phenological responses. Chapter three is concerned with developing efficient inference methods for inventorying and monitoring cliff-nesting raptor populations. In nest occupancy studies of cliff-nesting raptors, the standard approach is to allocate a level of survey effort that is assumed to ensure that the occupancy state is known with certainty. However, allocating effort in this manner is inefficient, particularly at landscape scales, constraining our capacity for effective management of these species. To increase survey efficiency and expand the spatial inference of these studies, I developed two versions of a multi-state, time-removal model, one for long-term monitoring studies and another for population inventories or single-season surveys in which there is no prior knowledge of nest locations. For long-term monitoring of species with alternative nests, I formulated a version of the model that accounts for state uncertainty at the territory-level caused by a failure to observe all nests within a territory. Simulation studies indicated generally low to moderate relative bias under the monitoring and inventory models. In addition, I applied the monitoring model to a long-term study of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in Alaska and demonstrate that the maximum effort spent on any nesting territory could be reduced by up to almost 90% of that recommended by standard protocols.
    • Order reduction and eigenstructure assignment for nonsmooth vibrating systems: a nonlinear normal modes approach

      Lu, Rongdong (2002-08)
      Two related problems are addressed in this thesis. The first one is for order reduction of conservative vibrating systems with piecewise linear nonsmooth nonlinearities of arbitrary dimension. Linear-based, PMM-based and LELSM-based order reduction transformations are applied. The technique is applied to multi-degree-of-freedom systems with nonsmooth clearance, deadzone, bang-bang, and saturation nonlinearities. The resulting approximate frequencies are compared with those obtained from numerical simulations. The second technique is eigenstructure assignment of n-degree-of-freedom conservative vibrating systems with nonsmooth nonlinearities. Three distinct control strategies which utilize methods for approximating the NNM frequencies and mode shapes are employed. First, PMM for approximating NNM frequencies is used to determine n constant actuator gains for eigenvalue placement. Second, an approximate single-degree-of-freedom reduced model is found with one actuator gain for the mode to be controlled. The third strategy allows the frequencies and mode shapes (eigenstructure) to be placed by using a full n x n matrix of actuator gains and employing LELSM for approximating NNM frequencies and mode shapes.
    • Organic matter accumulation and preservation in Alaskan continental margin sediments

      Ding, Xiaoling; Henrichs, Susan M. (1998)
      Continental margin sediments provide a historical record of the sources and fate of organic matter (OM) originating both from the continents and from primary productivity in the overlying water column. However, since this record can be altered by microbial decomposition within the sediment, the history cannot be interpreted without understanding how decomposition can affect OM composition. Also, the margins accumulate much of the OM buried in ocean sediments; hence, knowledge of processes influencing preservation of OM in these sediments is essential to understanding the global carbon cycle. OM preservation was examined using two approaches. First, I studied sediments in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska to determine sources of OM and temporal changes in carbon accumulation. A large amount of OM, 45--70 x 104 tons/yr, accumulated in this region, about 50% from terrestrial sources. Most of the sediment cores showed little evidence of change in TOC, TN, or C and N stable isotope compositions due to decomposition within the sediment. Second, I investigated the processes that control OM preservation, focusing on the role of the OM adsorption to mineral surfaces. Because proteins are major constituents of sedimentary OM, I examined factors controlling their adsorption, decomposition, and preservation. Three hydrophilic proteins were strongly adsorbed by two clay minerals, an iron oxide, sub-oxic sediments from Resurrection Bay (RB), Alaska, and anoxic sediments from Skan Bay (SB), Alaska. The partition coefficients were large enough to lead to their preservation provided that the proteins did not decompose while adsorbed. Generally, adsorption of proteins to solid phases decreased decomposition rates, suggesting that adsorption is important in protecting these compounds from microbial attack. Greater protein decomposition rates were found in SB than in RB sediments, indicating that anoxia did not inhibit protein biodegradation. Naturally-occurring adsorbed proteins were extracted from SB and RB sediments using a detergent solution. Most of these adsorbed proteins were small (<12 kDa), indicating that only the proteins adsorbed within the micropores of particle surfaces are preserved long-term.
    • Organizational communication and culture in female predominated workplaces

      Comstock, Sarah Rush (2000-05)
      While equality of the sexes has still not been achieved, the ongoing struggle for parity has paved the way for an influx of females into workplaces. In many organizations this increase has resulted in a higher ratio of females to males. Offices that are predominated by on sex or the other create communication problems, attitudes, and ways of dealing with co-workers on an interpersonal level that organizations with a balance between males and females do not face. This study will explore the perspective of females working in gender predominant organizations, and also observations on organizational culture; intra-organizational communication; communicated support among organizational members; and the overall uniqueness of the organization.
    • Organizational culture and meanings in tension: an analysis of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

      Worley, Shelly Lisa (2000-05)
      The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is an organization that is responsible for observing volcanic activity in Alaska and surrounding regions. This organization has a great impact on the public and agencies in Alaska because it is responsible for ensuring the safety of many Alaskans, and to many people who live in neighboring regions. AVO is not only responsible for saving lives, but also responsible for notifying agencies that depend on this organization for volcanic crisis notification. This study is an ethnography of the Alaska Volcano Observatory and through interpretation of my data as research too, I provide a sense of place for this organization. Detailed journals of my experience as a member of this organization have been analyzed to understand the culture of the place.
    • Organochlorines In Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias Jubatus)

      Myers, Matthew John; Atkinson, Shannon; Krahn, Margaret; Rea, Lorrie; Castellini, Michael; Mellish, Jo-Ann; Burdin, Alexander (2009)
      Existing populations of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus ) have declined precipitously over the last half-century. Investigations into the cause of this downward trend have focused on many different possible factors. Toxicity caused by the accumulation of organochlorines (OCs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), has been demonstrated in marine mammals and was considered here as one possible factor that may have contributed to the decline of Steller sea lions or their failure to recover. The focus of this project was to investigate the relationship of contaminant loads to hormone levels, specifically thyroid hormones and cortisol in Steller sea lions. Two approaches were taken to this study. Firstly, baseline hormone concentrations were identified for the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T 4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and cortisol. This involves comparison and extrapolation. Secondly, possible risk effects were examined by comparing levels of OCs in captive and free-ranging Steller sea lions to known effects in related species with known physiological thresholds. Serum concentrations of total T4 were highest in Steller sea lions followed by total T3 concentrations. Concentrations of free T4 and free T3 were three to four orders of magnitude lower. Concentrations for all four thyroid hormone measurements tended to a lower level as animals matured beyond the neonatal stage. When thyroid hormones from captive sea lions were evaluated across seasons, all thyroid hormones were highest in the July to September period. Cortisol concentrations were similar in male and female pups. Cortisol varied with age but when considered in regards to time of year when sampled, followed a seasonal pattern. Cortisol was elevated in fall months in captive sea lions (non-pups), which is similar to what is seen in other marine mammals and is likely associated with the annual molt. Male pups from Alaska had lower levels of SigmaPCBs and SigmaDDT when compared to male pups from Russia. Female pups from Alaska were significantly lower in SigmaPCBs than Russian female pups as were female pups for SigmaDDT levels between areas. Anywhere from 12 to 64% (depending on rookery) of Steller sea lion pups investigated for contaminants had concentrations of SigmaPCBs that are high enough to cause physiological problems. Concentrations in blood taken monthly for 2 years in three captive Steller sea lions were similar at any given sampling time and followed a seasonal pattern with levels significantly higher in the summer months of July to September and lower in the three month winter period January to March. Concentrations of OCs in blubber samples collected quarterly for the captive females followed an analogous pattern to blood samples but the captive male sea lion was considerably lower and declined over the study period. A significant relationship between blubber contaminants and lipids was noted in the three captive Steller sea lions. Even though OC contamination has not been hypothesized to be the primary factor that precipitated the population decline, there is a potential for these chemicals to have a negative effect on the health of free-ranging Steller sea lions. These data suggest that concentrations of OCs in Steller sea lions may be high enough to cause endocrine or reproductive dysfunction and could potentially impact fertility or fecundity. Therefore, OC contaminants can not be dismissed as a contributing source to either the decline or the failure to recover of the Steller sea lion population.
    • The origin and composition of aerosols in the Alaskan airshed

      Wilcox, Walter James (2001-12)
      Since the Alaskan airshed north of the Alaska Range receives a substantial portion of its anthropogenic aerosol and gaseous pollutants through long-range transport, Alaskan air quality is influenced to an unusually high degree by the political and economic events of other countries. An understanding of the political and economic forces at work in the various circumpolar nations is key to an understanding of the observed decline in Arctic haze, the present state of Arctic air pollution, and likely future developments. It is shown in this thesis that Arctic haze has declined in Interior Alaska over the last decade and a half. This decline appears to be driven by the widespread emission reductions which have occurred in North America, Europe, and the former Soviet Union (FSU) between 1988 and 1998. If true, this linkage indicates that the story of Arctic haze is not yet a post-mortem. EMEP projections for 2005 foresee a continuing decline in emissions across Europe and a leveling off in North America, but emissions in the European FSU are expected to double by 2005. Events in the FSU, and perhaps Asia as well, threaten to abrogate any further progress made by Europe and North America and could perhaps revive the phenomenon.
    • Origin, character, application and correlation of tephra partings in tertiary coal beds of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

      Reinink-Smith, Linda Margareta; Hopkins, David M. (1989)
      Volcanic and non-volcanic partings occur in coal beds of the Neogene Beluga and Sterling Formations along the shores of the Kenai lowland, Alaska. The partings were systematically characterized to determine their potential geological applications: Two-thirds of the partings originated as air-fall tephra. Of these, partly altered, Pliocene tephra typically contain volcanic glass + feldspar $\pm$ montmorillonite $\pm$ quartz $\pm$ kaolinite $\pm$ opal-CT. Highly altered Miocene partings are characterized by feldspar $\pm$ kaolinite $\pm$ montmorillonite $\pm$ quartz $\pm$ crandallite $\pm$ altered volcanic glass, where crandallite appears to have formed by replacement of volcanic glass prior to clay formation. About one-third of the partings are of detrital origin and contain detrital chlorite + illite + smectite + quartz $\pm$ feldspar $\pm$ siderite $\pm$ kaolinite. A Pliocene pumice parting near the top of the Sterling Formation was correlated from the northwestern to the southeastern Kenai lowland on the basis of similar glass morphologies, an absence of opaque minerals, and geochemical similarities. A crystal-tuff near the middle of the section could be traced across the Kenai lowland as one or two ash-falls, based on inertinite contents of adjacent coal, mineralogy, and geochemistry. Some other prominent tephras could not be correlated. The tephra partings are time-equivalent to DSDP cores from the Gulf of Alaska and along the Aleutian Island chain. Tephras occur every 125-500 yr in the lower part of the Beluga Formation, and their deposition probably coincides with a volcanic pulse 10.5 m.y. ago. This pulse is not well recorded in nearby DSDP cores. In the upper part of the Beluga Formation, during volcanic quiescence, tephras are recorded at an average rate of one every 9,000 yr. Time equivalent DSDP cores show a near absence of tephras. A volcanic pulse occurred during the deposition of the lower Sterling Formation, about 7.5 m.y. ago, with intervals between volcanism which averages 11,000 yr or longer. Volcanic sources appear to have been distant, which is consistent with an absence of tephra layers in a Gulf of Alaska core. About 5 m.y. ago, concurrent with the deposition of the upper Sterling Formation, the thicknesses of the tephra layers dramatically increase and the frequency increases to an average of one tephra every 2,000 years. This increase is recorded in DSDP cores as well.
    • Origins And Zoning Of The Buckhorn Gold Skarn, Ne Washington

      Deal, Michelle L.; Newberry, Rainer (2012)
      The Buckhorn Deposit was discovered in the mid 1980's and is composed of two separate Au-Bi deposits: the Gold Bowl and the Southwest Zone. The Southwest Zone is the larger of the two and is blind and stratabound. The Gold Bowl is exposed on the surface. Jurassic and Eocene plutonic rocks are present in the immediate area, indicating a complex geologic history and two potential mineralization ages. To determine the source- and thus the age- of gold mineralization I use chemical analyses of (>300) igneous rocks, X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) determination of (>200) Bi/Au, Cu/Au, and Cu/Pb ratios throughout the ore zones, Fe:Mg ratios of skarn clinopyroxenes determined by EMP analyses, calc-silicate mineral zoning, surface and underground mapping, and Ar40/Ar39 dating of Au-intergrown skarn hornblende. Chemical classification of igneous rocks distinguishes seven potential source intrusions in the immediate Buckhorn area. Metal zoning (Bi/Au, Cu/Au, and Cu/Pb) throughout the entire deposit showcases the lack of relationship between the Gold Bowl and the Southwest Zone, allowing for multiple source and remobilization interpretations. However, the techniques employed all indicate an east to west ore fluid migration across the Southwest Zone and reveal a newly-unrecognized zoned Jurassic pluton SE and below the deposit as the source.