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Recent Submissions

  • At the edge of somewhere: journeying on the Dalton Highway

    Wheeler, Charlotte A.; Farmer, Daryl; Holt, Joseph; Ehrlander, Mary (2022-05)
    Some journeys need to be made. In At the Edge of Somewhere, the writer embarks on a cycle ride from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's remote and dangerous Dalton Highway. Drawn obsessively to the Arctic sea ice some years earlier and, now, onto "the road," her journey attempts to bring closure to the long-standing need to be on the move, at once not able or even wanting to settle but also seeking a place within herself, and therefore a physical location, she might call home. She travels with a found notebook, acquired unexpectedly at the start of her ride, which reveals the heart-wrenching story of Samuel Morgan. As she journeys through boreal forest, high alpine and tundra, we learn not only of Samuel's abandonment to boarding school as a young boy but of the writer's traumatic childhood. Painful memories, reminiscences of working on "the road" and new encounters blend with Samuel's search for peace amid an encounter with the artistic works of an 18th century German Romantic painter. Touching on themes of trauma, art, and their relationships with the landscape, both the writer and Samuel reach Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean ready to let go of their pasts.
  • Coastal wetland carbon and mineral responses to storm and climate change through time, at Cape Espenberg Alaska

    Smith, Lindsey Michelle; Maio, Chris; Bigelow, Nancy; Eagle, Meagan (2022-05)
    The Arctic is experiencing warming and ecological shifts due to climate change and the compounded effects of polar amplification. There is a deficit of information surrounding the carbon cycle response in Arctic Alaskan coastal marsh environments to these forces. The Cape Espenberg barrier beach system has been mostly preserved through time as a shoreline-parallel, linear geometry prograding geomorphic feature. This study determines the Arctic carbon and mineral accumulation trends in marsh environments at Cape Espenberg for both paleo (pre 1850 AD) and modern (post 1850 AD) timeframes. This project makes connections between the responses of carbon and mineral materials to paleo and modern climate changes, and how this relationship may have evolved through time. Analytical analyses through radioisotope ¹³⁷Cs and ²¹⁰Pb, ¹⁴C, stable isotope spectrometry (δ¹³C), elemental (%C, %N, C:N), and dry bulk density and carbon density measurements yield a comprehensive physical and chemical dataset. Radioisotope dating techniques in the Arctic have proved challenging due to the dynamism of the environment. However, the combination of Constant Rate of Supply and Constant Initial Concentration age depth models has helped constrain ages to sediment cores even under variable conditions. Results indicate carbon and mineral accumulations have increased from paleo to modern times which indicates better growing and/or preservation conditions for organic matter (OM) under a modern climate. This agrees well with paleoclimate trends in the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), and warm periods interspersed within the Little Ice Age (LIA), which correlate to greater productivity of terrestrial organic matter and isotopically lighter δ¹³C values (a terrestrial signature). Cold climate periods within the Little Ice Age correlate with increased aquatic organic matter sourcing and heavier δ¹³C values. Modern warming will likely continue to drive carbon sourcing towards terrestrial signatures as future temperatures are predicted to rise with global climate change. If the swale environments at Cape Espenberg can maintain ideal growing conditions (i.e. wet/anoxic soils and lower salinity to limit organic material decay, higher temperatures to promote growth) then Cape Espenberg will likely remain a viable carbon reservoir in the future. However, the question of whether the barrier system as a whole will continue to prograde under a regime of rising sea levels and increased storm impacts is unclear. The results of this study contribute towards understanding the dynamism of Arctic coastline mineral and carbon cycling and their ecological response to the current warming climate.
  • Acoustic detection and characterization of sea ice and surface waves in the northeast Chukchi Sea

    Sandy, Savannah J.; Danielson, Seth; Iken, Katrin; Mahoney, Andy; Simmons, Harper (2022-05)
    Monitoring the status of Arctic marine ecosystems is aided by oceanographic moorings that autonomously collect data year-round. Near Hanna Shoal in the northeast Chukchi Sea, the Chukchi Ecosystem Observatory moorings include an ASL Environmental Sciences Acoustic Zooplankton Fish Profiler (AZFP) datalogger, a multi-frequency upward-looking sonar that is programmed to collect data from across the upper 30 m of the water column every 10-20 seconds. Using six years of nearly continuous data, here we describe a statistical analysis of the datalogger's 455 kHz acoustic backscatter return signal. When used in conjunction with a selforganizing map machine learning algorithm, these data allow us to accurately differentiate between the presence of sea ice and open water and characterize surface waves. The approach detects short-duration (e.g., 15 minutes or longer) sea ice leads that pass over the mooring in winter, and sparse ice floes that pass over in summer. The ability to algorithmically identify small-scale features within the information-dense acoustic dataset enables rich characterizations of sea ice conditions and the ocean surface wave environment. Example applications include quantifying the recurrence of leads during ice-covered seasons, sparse ice in otherwise open water, statistics of ice keels and level ice, and wave height statistics. By automating the acoustic data processing and alleviating labor- and time-intensive analyses, we can maximize the use of these year-round acoustic data. Beyond applications to newly produced datasets, the approach opens possibilities for the efficient extraction of new information from existing upward-looking sonar records from recent decades.
  • Theory, design, and development of an open-source 3D printed peristaltic pump for microfluidics applications

    MacEachern, Joshua M.; Chen, Cheng-fu; Peterson, Rorik; Huang, Daisy; Laughlin, Bernard (2022-05)
    Microfluidics research is a constantly evolving and developing field of research in the biological, chemical, and medical sciences. To perform microfluidic analyses, various types of pump designs have been developed or optimized. These pumps are generally capable of pumping flow in the range of 0.1-100s of microliters (µL) per minute, with the goal of pumping fluid with an extremely consistent flow rate. These pumps include, but are not limited to, peristaltic, syringe, membrane, and lobe pumps. Both commercial and open-source designs have been developed to meet the needs of continued research. Commercial designs are very expensive, but offer limited flexibility to tailor the usage for custom assays. Open-source designs that have been presented may lack support, or may be designed to use fabrication technologies that are less commonly available than conventional desktop 3D printing. Due to this, many laboratories may be limited in their microfluidic research work due to either availability of commercial pumps, or usability of open-source pump designs. This work presents two iterations of a novel design for a 3D-printable microfluidic peristaltic pump. The pumps developed herein have been tested to demonstrate consistent performance operating over long-term periods of up to ten days continuously. These pumps have been tested to demonstrate capability of delivering aqueous flow as slow as flow ranges of 10s of µL/min. These pumps are capable of maintaining an outlet pressure of up to 220 kilopascals (kPa). In a tube of 1 mm inner diameter, this pressure would drive a flow rate of 10 µL/min through tubing up to 6.6 meters long. Finally, this design has been optimized to improve the user experience and make these peristaltic pumps both easy to maintain and easy to operate by a non-technical user.
  • Assessing the demographic and genetic contributions of precocial males in a naturally spawning population of coho salmon

    King, Erika M.; McPhee, Megan; Tallmon, David; Vulstek, Scott; Cunningham, Curry (2022-05)
    Despite the importance of alternative life history strategies to population productivity, little is known about the mating structure of precocial ('jack') males in Pacific salmon. The number of successful matings obtained by jacks in the wild is not well characterized and the impact of including or excluding jacks in the management of Pacific salmon populations is unknown. This study aims to fill knowledge gaps in the understanding of jack life history by 1) determining the typical contribution of jacks to the next generation in a natural mating population; and 2) estimating the impact of jacks on genetic diversity. The study capitalizes upon 11 years of demographic and genetic data from a naturally spawning population of Coho Salmon from Auke Creek, in Juneau, Alaska. Individuals returning over this time period (~8,000 individuals) were genotyped at ~250 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci. Using these genotypes, we quantified the adult-to-adult reproductive success of different male types using parentage analysis for each of seven return years and compared genetic and demographic estimates of effective population size. We demonstrated that although jacks were less successful than full-size males on a per individual basis, they contributed substantially to the population and influenced population and evolutionary dynamics.
  • Technical and economic evaluation of the first ever polymer flood field pilot to enhance the recovery of heavy oils on Alaska's North Slope via machine assisted reservoir simulation

    Keith, Cody D.; Zhang, Yin; Ahmadi, Mohabbat; Dandekar, Abhijit (2022-05)
    Polymer flooding has become globally established as a potential enhanced oil recovery method for heavy oils. To determine whether this technology may be useful in developing the substantial heavy oil resources on the Alaska North Slope, a polymer flood field pilot commenced at the Milne Point Unit in August 2018. This study seeks to evaluate the results of the field pilot on a technical and economic basis. A reservoir simulation model is constructed and calibrated to predict the oil recovery performance of the pilot through machine-assisted reservoir simulation techniques. To replicate the early water breakthrough observed during waterflooding, transmissibility contrasts are introduced into the simulation model, forcing viscous fingering effects. In the ensuing polymer flood, these transmissibility contrasts are reduced to replicate the restoration of injection conformance during polymer flooding. Transmissibility contrasts are later reinstated to replicate fracture overextension interpreted in one of the producing wells. The calibrated simulation models produced at each stage of the history matching process are used to forecast oil recovery. These forecasts are used as input for economic analysis, incremental to waterflooding expectations. The simulation forecasts indicate that polymer flooding significantly increases the heavy oil production for this field pilot compared to waterflooding alone, yielding attractive project economics. However, meaningful variations between simulation scenarios demonstrate that a simulation model is only valid for prediction if flow behavior in the reservoir remains consistent with that observed during the history matched period. Critically, this means that a simulation model calibrated for waterflooding may not fully capture the technical and economic benefits of an enhanced oil recovery process such as polymer flooding. Subsequently, the simulation model and economic model are used in conjunction to conduct a sensitivity analysis for polymer flood design parameters, from which recommendations are provided for both the continued operation of the current field pilot and future polymer flood designs. The results demonstrate that a higher polymer concentration can be injected due to the development of fractures in the reservoir. The throughput rate should remain high without exceeding operating constraints. A calculated point-forward polymer utilization parameter demonstrates the decreasing efficiency of the polymer flood at later times in the pattern life. Future projects will benefit from starting polymer injection earlier in the pattern life. A pattern with tighter horizontal well spacing will observe a greater incremental benefit from polymer flooding.
  • Interpretations of climate change on grazing systems: the comparison of Arctic and Subarctic carex

    Harritt, Iris Cato; Wolf, Diana; Ruess, Roger; Takebayashi, Naoki; Flint, Paul (2022-05)
    Stresses imposed by climate change are altering arctic and subarctic ecosystem structure and function. On the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta (YKD) in subarctic western Alaska, Pacific Black Brant geese (Branta bernicla nigricans) are losing their available grazing lawns of shortstatured Carex subspathacea due to its conversion into a taller, less nutritious growth form. However, C. subspathacea on Alaska's Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) grows in extensive lawns that remain short even when ungrazed. Our goal was to compare the growth responses between arctic C. subspathacea and subarctic C. subspathacea when grown in arctic and subarctic conditions. We used reciprocal common gardens to study the variation in height, tiller density, aboveground biomass, and green leaf nitrogen percentage between these reputed taxa. We explored the growth responses that occur in C. subspathacea when grown in the arctic and subarctic using linear mixed effect models. We found that environmental differences between these regions influence the morphology of these taxa. Subarctic C. subspathacea is phenotypically plastic, and was able to grow tall in subarctic conditions, while remaining short in the Arctic. However, arctic C. subspathacea was short in both gardens, suggesting arctic C. subspathacea will not grow tall under warming conditions. Understanding the functional causes of the difference between these two grazing systems is important for predicting the effects of future climate change on both regions. This study provides insight to how changing climate will impact these different growth forms and affect future grazing dynamics along arctic and subarctic coasts.
  • Application of probabilistic decline curve analysis to unconventional reservoirs

    Egbe, Uchenna C.; Awoleke, Obadare; Goddard, Scott; Ahmadi, Mohabbat (2022-05)
    This work presents the various probabilistic methodology for forecasting petroleum production in shale reservoirs. Two statistical methods are investigated, Bayesian and frequentist, combined with various decline curve deterministic models. A robust analysis of well-completion properties and how they affect the production forecast is carried out. Lastly, a look into the uncertainties introduced by the statistical methods and the decline curve models are investigated to discover any correlation and plays that otherwise would not be apparent. We investigated two Bayesian methods - Absolute Bayesian Computation (ABC) and GIBBS sampler - and two frequentist methods - Conventional Bootstrap (BS) and Modified Bootstrap (MBS). We combined these statistical methods with five empirical models - Arps, Duong, Power Law Model (PLE), Logistic Growth Model (LGA), and Stretched Exponential Decline Model (SEPD) - and an analytical Jacobi 2 theta model. This allowed us to make a robust comparison of all these approaches on various unconventional plays across the United States, including Permian, Marcellus, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Barnett, and Bakken shale, to get detailed insight on how to forecast production with minimal prediction errors effectively. Analysis was carried out on a total of 1800 wells with varying production history data lengths ranging from 12 to 60 months on a 12-month increment and a total production length of 96 months. We developed a novel approach for developing and integrating informative model parameter priors into the Bayesian statistical methods. Previous work assumed a uniform distribution for model parameter priors, which was inaccurate and negatively impacted forecasting performance. Our results show the significant superior performance of the Bayesian methods, most notably at early hindcast size (12 to 24 months production history). Furthermore, we discovered that production history length was the most critical factor in production forecasting that leveled the performance of all probabilistic methods regardless of the decline curve model or statistical methodology implemented. The novelty of this work relies on the development of informative priors for the Bayesian methodologies and the robust combination of statistical methods and model combination studied on a wide variety of shale plays. In addition, the whole methodology was automated in a programming language and can be easily reproduced and used to make production forecasts accurately.
  • Spatial and temporal variability of fish and mussel distributions revealed through eDNA metabarcoding

    Dokai, William; McPhee, Megan; Larson, Wesley; Tallmon, David; Zanatta, David (2022-05)
    Unionid mussels (order Unionida) are freshwater bivalves distributed worldwide and are among the world's most endangered taxonomic groups. Unionid mussels utilize various fish species as obligate hosts for their parasitic larval stage, and as a result, native fish species are vital to unionid persistence. One of the primary conservation needs for both unionids and fishes is more complete distributional data. However, these data are labor and resource intensive to collect using traditional survey methods. Here, we utilized an eDNA metabarcoding approach to detect unionid mussels and fishes within a large portion of the lower peninsula of Michigan, USA, with the goal of validating this method for the paired detection of these two groups of taxa. We investigated whether communities of fishes and mussels varied between the tributaries of Lake Michigan and the Grand River watershed, between early- and late-summer sampling events, and between areas of high and low mussel diversity. We detected 21 unique mussel taxa and 46 unique fish taxa within the Grand River watershed and 20 Lake Michigan tributaries. We detected differences in fish and mussel communities across different sampling regions and between sampling events. We also found fish taxa associated with areas of high and low mussel diversity. Notably, we detected more mussel taxa within the Grand River watershed compared to Lake Michigan tributaries, more fish in the August sampling event compared to June, three fish taxa more frequently at areas of high mussel diversity, and four fish taxa more frequently at areas of low mussel diversity. This study demonstrates the utility of combining unionid and fish metabarcoding primers to efficiently describe the co-distribution of these interdependent taxa within the Great Lakes region.
  • Lipid accumulation in three species of Neocalanus copepod in the northern Gulf of Alaska

    Coleman, Delaney M.; Hopcroft, Russell; Danielson, Seth; Hennon, Gwenn (2022-05)
    The Northern Gulf of Alaska experiences pronounced seasonality and inter-annual variability characterized by a significant bloom of phytoplankton in the spring. Neocalanus copepods in the NGA have evolved to match their lifecycle to the seasonality of the Gulf of Alaska and feed upon the spring phytoplankton bloom. All three of these Neocalanus species utilize diapause as an over-wintering strategy; acquiring large stores of lipid to sustain them through winter hibernation and subsequent reproduction. Zooplankton were sampled with 150 and 505 µm mesh nets from 0 to 1200 m along the Seward Line and within Prince William Sound in the Northern Gulf of Alaska during 2018-2020 to track the physiological process of Neocalanus copepods preparing for diapause. We measured lipid sac area, lipid volume and percent lipid to quantify lipid content. Neocalanus showed significant interannual variability in final lipid accumulation both at depth and in the surface during the study period. For all three species, lipid content increased with increasing stage and prosome length. Lipid content increased from spring to summer for N. flemingeri, remaining steady into fall as animals molted into adults and descended to depth for diapause. Neocalanus plumcrhus stored lipid from spring to summer before descending slightly after N. flemingeri. Neocalanus cristatus exhibited dissimilar behavior to the other two species, storing consistently low amounts of lipid, alluding to a different lifecycle. Each Neocalanus species displayed similar lipid accumulation behavior with offset timing from one another. Neocalanus exhibits an earlier developmental timing as compared to other lipid accumulating copepods giving them a competitive advantage to reach maturity in time to feed on the early phase of the spring phytoplankton bloom faster than other species. Our data provided some evidence for both the lipid accumulation hypothesis and the developmental program hypothesis being utilized in Neocalanus populations in the Northern Gulf of Alaska. This work serves as the first detailed study of body condition and lipid sac condition in Neocalanus populations throughout the water column within the Northern Gulf of Alaska.
  • The effect of sea otter predation and habitat structure on nearshore crab assemblages in Southeast Alaska

    Cates, Rebecca Jeanette; Eckert, Ginny L.; Cunningham, Curry; Siddon, Christopher (2022-05)
    Sea otter Enhydra lutris predation has resulted in conflict with humans for shared marine resources, as sea otters reduce the abundance and size of nearshore crabs. Several species of crab in Southeast Alaska are prey for sea otters including Cancer magister, a highly valued commercial and subsistence species, as well as Cancer gracilis, Cancer productus, and Telmessus cheiragonus, species that are abundant in the nearshore and of ecological and subsistence importance. Understanding the influence of sea otters and habitat structure on valuable crab species is of particular importance in Southeast Alaska as the abundance and range of sea otters expands across important crab nursery habitat. We 1) conducted breakpoint analyses to identify sea otter density thresholds that affect the abundance and biomass of nearshore crab species, 2) used a two-factor type III Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to test the impact of sea otter presence and year on crab size, and 3) used general linearized models (GLM) to test the impacts of sea otter density and habitat structure on crab species abundance and size distribution. We found evidence of sea otters decreasing crab species' abundance, biomass, and size. C. magister, C. gracilis, and C. productus experienced a significant decline in size in the presence of sea otters, while T. cheiragonus size did not differ as a function of sea otter presence. We found a significant decrease in biomass in C. magister and in biomass and abundance in C. productus, associated with increasing sea otter density. Different responses across crab species are likely attributed to size distributions and sea otter foraging behavior. Habitat characteristics, such as eelgrass biomass and shoot density, had a small influence on crab abundance and size that depended on the species of crab. These results suggest that populations of large crabs do not persist in the presence of sea otters, small crabs may co-occur with sea otters, and eelgrass biomass and density marginally influence crab abundance and size.
  • An analysis of turbulent effects on hydrokinetic power generation

    Browning, Emily A.; Kasper, Jeremy; Hung, Daisy; Peterson, Rorik (2022-05)
    The effects of turbulence on power generation from a Current Energy Converter (CEC) are not fully understood. This thesis investigates the correlation between a vertical axis CEC's power output and the water velocity in the frequency and time domains. Chapter 2 shows the correlation between velocity and electrical power in frequency space. This correlation gives insight into the size of eddies that influence the CEC's power output. The results of this correlation analysis show that eddies of diameter around 0.8m have a noticeable impact on the power generation. Calculating the observed average integral length scale, the range of eddy diameters around the CEC are 0.52m-5.8m. Since 0.8m is in this observed range it suggests that the turbulence may influence the CEC's power output. Chapter 3 analyzes the relationship between the turbulence velocity cubed and electrical power through the correlation of the two data sets. The correlation was carried out by first separating out the four velocity components derived from cubing the sum of the turbulence and average velocities. The commonly used ratio of the turbulence kinetic energy to total kinetic energy does not include these cross terms nor are these cross terms typically included in the calculation of power derived from the turbulence velocity. The turbulence velocity cubed has a correlation of -0.007 with the CEC power output indicating that the turbulence has a small, negative impact on the CEC power output.

    Vasudevan, Vinod; Kapourchali, Mohammad Heidari (2022-03-30)
    Rural intersections are high-risk locations for road users. Particularly, during the nighttime, lower traffic volumes make it difficult for drivers to discern an intersection despite traffic signs. The lack of alertness may lead to severe crashes. An effective way to reduce the likelihood of crashes at isolated intersections is to warn road users of the intersection in advance. A smart-lighting system can detect approaching vehicles using sensors and transmit this information to a receiver to illuminate the intersection. By deploying a demand-responsive light, it is expected that the system will provide adequate warning to road users, both motorized and non-motorized. This report documents the development and deployment of a smart-lighting system at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).
  • Barriers to completing degrees for UAF Ph.D. students

    Whitaker, Hannah L.; Gifford, Valerie; Renes, Susan; Carr, Kiana (2021-12)
    A student faces several challenges when working towards a doctoral degree. Previous research has demonstrated that discrimination, lack of support, poor mentorship, funding issues, mental health concerns, and minority stress are barriers to degree completion. The available research also suggests that these difficulties are especially challenging for underrepresented students. Although universities are currently attempting to mitigate certain of these barriers, more can be done to understand the doctoral experience as a way of supporting students. Focus groups were conducted for this thesis to explore the barriers, strengths, and advice for others that doctoral students have at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Key findings of this study included racism, discrimination, and funding as the primary barriers to degree engagement and completion. The results also suggested the importance of effective mentorship and community support for doctoral students. Implications for students, staff and faculty, and universities are discussed. This information is important in creating a more productive and inclusive environment for doctoral students at UAF.
  • History matching and prediction of a polymer flood pilot in heavy oil reservoir on Alaska North Slope

    Wang, Xindan; Zhang, Yin; Dandekar, Abhijit; Khataniar, Santanu (2021-12)
    The first-ever polymer flood pilot to enhance heavy oil recovery on Alaska North Slope is ongoing. After more than 3 years of polymer injection, significant benefit has been observed from the decrease in water cut from 65% to less than 15% in the project producers. The primary objective of this study is to develop a robust history-matched reservoir simulation model capable of predicting future polymer flood performance. In this work, the reservoir simulation model has been developed based on the geological model and available reservoir and fluid data. In particular, four high transmissibility strips were introduced to connect the injector-producer well pairs, simulating short-circuiting flow behavior that can be explained by viscous fingering and reproducing the water cut history. The strip transmissibilities were manually tuned to improve the history matching results during the waterflooding and polymer flooding periods, respectively. It has been found that higher strip transmissibilities match the sharp water cut increase very well in the waterflooding period. Then the strip transmissibilities need to be reduced with time to match the significant water cut reduction. The viscous fingering effect in the reservoir during waterflooding and the restoration of injection conformance during polymer flooding have been effectively represented. Based on the validated simulation model, numerical simulation tests have been conducted to investigate the oil recovery performance under different development strategies, with consideration for sensitivity to polymer parameter uncertainties. The oil recovery factor with polymer flooding can reach about 39% in 30 years, twice as much as forecasted with continued waterflooding. Besides, the updated reservoir model has been successfully employed to forecast polymer utilization, a valuable parameter to evaluate the pilot test's economic efficiency. All the investigated development strategies indicate polymer utilization lower than 3.5 lbs/bbl in 30 years, which is less than that of the same polymer used in a polymer pilot in Argentina.
  • Age related dementias

    Soltani, Shahab; Duffy, Lawrence K.; Cruz, Bradley K.; Dunlap, Kriya L. (2021-12)
    During the last few decades, the average life expectancy has dramatically increased in the U.S.A. and globally. As a result, the diseases associated with age, such as dementia, significantly impact families, society, and government. Dementia is a broad term describing memory loss, cognitive dysfunctions, and limited social skills caused by many factors such as aging, stroke, and genetic background. Although the primary etiology remains unclear but inflammatory reactions, neurodegeneration, vascular abnormalities play an important role in the progression of these disorders. Therefore, treatment is mainly supportive to relieve the symptoms of dementia and not to cure dementia or slow down its progression. This review discusses the most common disorders that cause dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and Parkinson's disease, as well as their symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments. Also covered are the studies that were performed on these disorders and animal models for each disease.
  • Training the next generation of climate science integrators: lessons from the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives

    Rowles, Fiona; Trainor, Sarah; Valentine, David; Fix, Peter (2021-12)
    Science that can be readily applied to policy or decision-making is a critical component of adapting to the climate emergency. Boundary spanning facilitates the creation of credible, relevant, and legitimate science for use in policy and decision making. Individuals who are adept at navigating the interface between science and decision making (referred to as "boundary spanners") are crucial in developing science that fits the needs of managers. Though the attributes and skills needed to be an effective boundary spanner are well-defined, individuals are not often trained for these roles. This study incorporates two sets of interviews conducted with employees and affiliates of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), a boundary spanning organization that was administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service between 2010 and 2017. Participants across the LCC Network were asked which training they considered to be most effective in their role as a boundary spanner, what changes resulted from that training, and if they had been trained in co-production of knowledge or boundary spanning. Participants from the five Alaskan LCCs who attended a science communication workshop in 2015 were asked about their job tasks, science communication barriers, and goals within their LCC. Participants cited a number of different trainings that they considered to be effective. Trainings involving decision theory and peer-to-peer learning opportunities were referenced slightly more frequently than other trainings. Changes to the strategic plan and overall direction of the organization was the most often cited training outcome. Capacity (funding, time, or skills) was the most frequently cited barrier to science communication among the Alaskan LCCs. Small boundary-spanning organizations may benefit from increasing capacity by hiring individuals who already possess necessary skills, or by focusing on science translation rather than generating new science. Boundary spanners should be encouraged to access peer-to-peer learning environments and training in decision making.
  • Phase effects on turbulent transport in the magnetic confinement of plasmas for nuclear fusion

    Rogers, Dempsey; Newman, David; Delamere, Peter; Truffer, Martin (2021-12)
    With climate change effects on the rise, the global energy infrastructure requires revision. We first provide a brief review of common energy resources as well as their safety and climate effects. We then compare and contrast nuclear fission and fusion based energy schemes. Difficulties based on the requirements of the fusion triple product, as well as the fast neutrons from the deuterium and tritium reaction are also discussed. The lack of sufficient experimental controls in enhanced confinement modes like the I-mode and the H-mode, lead to difficulties satisfying the restrictions imposed by the Greenwald density limit. These combined with several operational needs like ash and impurity removal, enhanced density control, the ability to access other confinement modes at reduced energy thresholds, motivates the search for a barrier capable of variable energy and density confinement. Self consistent models suggest that unique phase relationships exist between different turbulent instabilities and plasma profiles like temperature and density, that determine the turbulent transport of the quantity. Two common instabilities, driven by the electron and ion temperature gradient, and their unique phase relations are used to arrive at a net phase relation for temperature and for density. Then, using electron and ion radio frequency heating, the difference in phase of the turbulent transport may be locally changed, altering transport dynamics. Methods to increase core temperature while simultaneously increasing density transport, thereby avoiding the Greenwald limit, are discussed. The proposed transport controls are based upon characteristics of the localized radio frequency heating including amplitude, location, and duration. These parameters determine the power deposited in the plasma, and therefore the local ratios of the electron and ion temperature driven instabilities. Aspects of each parameter's effect on radial transport are summarized, with the strongest phase barrier allowing for a ∼ 15% increase of core ion temperature and ∼ 30% decrease of core density.
  • Conceptual design of two tiltrotor aircraft for urban air mobility

    Radotich, Michael T.; Peterson, Rorik; Chen, Cheng-fu; Hatfield, Michael (2021-12)
    There has been an abundance of new and novel aircraft designs created for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in recent years. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contributes to the research and development of this industry in part by applying its aircraft design tools to create conceptual designs of UAM reference vehicles. The vehicles are intended to quantify the tradeoffs and performance capabilities necessary for VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft in the UAM design space. The reference vehicles represent a variety of configurations that seek to encompass many of the design characteristics suitable for UAM. This thesis focuses on the conceptual design process of two new NASA reference vehicles. Both aircraft are configured as conventional tiltrotors, but one is powered by turboshaft engines, and one is fully electric. The sizing and performance of the two aircraft are discussed, as well as how the performance and characteristics compare to a selection of other NASA reference vehicles. It is found that the tiltrotor configuration is capable of reaching speeds 43% to 51% faster than the other turboshaft designs, and 63% to 106% faster than the other electric designs. The increased speed leads to a 24% to 42% decrease in overall mission time. With this speed increase comes moderate tradeoffs in areas including weight and installed power.
  • The effects of ocean acidification and warming on the metabolic physiology of juvenile northern spot shrimp (Pandalus platyceros)

    Musbach, Jamie Lee; Tamone, Sherry; Kelley, Amanda; Eckert, Ginny (2021-12)
    Northern spot shrimp (Pandalus platyceros) support important commercial, subsistence, sport, and personal use fisheries in Alaska. This species is currently experiencing population declines in Southeast Alaska, mandating fishery closures in previously productive regions. Northern spot shrimp are harvested as adults and declining populations may be a result of limited recruitment into the fishery. Very little is known about the physiology of P. platyceros early life history stages and no known data exists on how early life history stages may be affected by environmental stressors such as ocean acidification (OA) and ocean warming (OW). OA is a result of increased anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO₂) input into the ocean. Increased pCO₂ affects both the physical and chemical properties of the ocean, which, in turn, affects the marine biota. In addition to OA, ocean warming (OW) is another environmental stressor associated with ocean change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts an oceanic pH decrease of 0.2-0.4 units and an increase in ocean temperatures up to 5°C by the year 2100. The goal of this thesis is to characterize potential individual and interactive effects of increased pCO₂ and increased temperature on the metabolic rate (MO₂), gene expression of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), and gene expression of carbonic anhydrase (CA) in juvenile P. platyceros. In order to assess the individual and interactive effects of these environmental stressors on juvenile P. platyceros physiology, I built a low-cost open hardware OA and OW system in the seawater lab at the University of Alaska Southeast. This pH-stat system, based on open-source Arduino platform, allowed manipulation of pH and temperature in line with the IPCC's future predicted ocean conditions. Juvenile P. platyceros are a model organism for this type of research due to predictions that early developmental stages, the requirement of calcification for growth, and cold-water marine organisms may be most susceptible to OA and OW stressors. Understanding how this ecologically and economically important species may be affected by environmental stressors can highlight the capacity of P. platyceros to withstand ocean change.

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