Sub-communities within this community

Recent Submissions

  • Positive solutions for rural solid waste management

    Meyer, Jessica L. (2011-12)
    Rural solid waste management is and will continue to be one of the leading environmental problems facing the twenty-first century. As the global south, under developed, and developing countries progress, proper solid waste management must be a priority to keep humans and ecosystems healthy and safe. This study provides an overview of the Republic of Macedonia's solid waste management and the discoveries of public and environmental health risks as a result of unsanitary landfills and illegal dumping. These problems are caused by low enforcement of environmental laws, minimal governmental and public support, as well as lack of funding and infrastructure. This study concludes by offering positive solutions for improvement of these solid waste management (SWM) problems, such as community organizing, proper technology, enforcing environmental laws, collecting taxes to fund proper solid waste management, and creating inter-town cleanliness competitions.
  • Effects of climate variability and fishing on gadid-crustacean interactions in subarctic ecosystems

    Marcello, Laurinda; Mueter, Franz; Eckert, Ginny; Kruse, Gordon (2011-12)
    Snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) are a vital economic and biotic resource to many subarctic ecosystems. Their abundance varies greatly, but what causes large changes in production and early life survival is unknown. My overall goal is to improve our understanding of snow crab population dynamics during early life history stages. Chapter 1 provides background information on subarctic ecosystems, addresses possible mechanisms of population control and potential drivers of variability, describes snow crab life history, and reviews recent population trends in snow crab and their major cod predators. Chapter 2 details a regression study examining the effects of snow crab spawning stock biomass, environmental conditions, and Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) or Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) biomass on snow crab recruitment. This study compares three ecosystems: the eastern Bering Sea, the Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, and the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Cold ocean conditions during early life history were associated with increased snow crab recruitment or recruitment indices in all three ecosystems. However, there was no consistent observed effect of spawning stock biomass or gadid predation on subsequent recruitment. The dominant role of environmental conditions in driving snow crab recruitment highlights the importance of an ecosystem-based management approach for these stocks.
  • Communication in the face of diversity: towards a training model for U.S. Army cadets

    Lasiter, Nolan O.; Taylor, Karen; Richey, Jean; Sager, Kevin; DeCaro, Peter (2011-12)
    The purpose of this study was to explore the need for a communication and cultural diversity training program in a Northwestern university Reserve officer Training Corps (ROTC) department. A needs assessment was conducted identifying the need for a training program in both culture and communication. Research questions explored the need for a training program in communication and cultural diversity. Quantitative methods assessed the overall outcomes from the communication and cultural diversity workshops. Hypotheses predicted that Cadet's scores would increase from pretest to posttest as a result of the communication and cultural diversity workshop. Senior level cadets at a Northwestern university ROTC program volunteered to participate in the study. A pilot training program was administered in the spring semester in order generate feedback and improve the design. The final training design was implemented in the fall and assessed using the communication competency measurement and cultural competency instrument. Results showed that there was an overall significant increase of scores from pretest to posttest, suggesting that the workshops improved cadets abilities in communication and cultural diversity.
  • Hydrodynamics of downstream pointed guidevanes: a case study of the Hess Creek meander bend realignment

    Lai, Alexandre W. (2011-12)
    The hydrodynamics of downstream pointed guidevanes installed to realign an eroding meander bend upstream of the Trans- Alaska Pipeline bridge is studied. The bridge is located at Hess Creek, 137 km north of Fairbanks, Alaska. Effect of the downstream pointed vanes on bed form, erosion, longitudinal and transverse slopes, three dimensional velocity profiles, flow patterns, and other hydraulic parameters for high and low flows are compared and analyzed. Six years after installation of the vanes the realigned thalweg remains in its original design location. The longitudinal bed profile changed from a dominant continuous pool typical of natural meander bends on gravel stream beds to a series of pool riffles. However, there is minimal change in maximum scour depth between post and pre installation of the vanes. Secondary or transverse current patterns which cause scour or erosion on the outer bank are severely disrupted due to interference caused by the vanes. There is a consistent weak counter current in reaches between the vane stems due to flow separation caused by expansion of flow area. This condition was more dominant during low flows when the vanes were not completely submerged. From the tip of the vanes to the inner bank a more dominant transverse and streamwise current was measured. Location of the original eroding outer bank remains unchanged since installation of the vanes. This indicates that the vanes have to this point effectively realigned the meander bend and arrested additional lateral movement of the meander.
  • The fate of nitrogen pollution in high-latitude winter: investigations using a 1-D photochemical model

    Joyce, Patrick L. (2011-12)
    Simulations using a 1-D photochemical model were performed to analyze the fate of NOx pollution in a high-latitude winter environment. Modeled pollution emissions were constrained by observations from downtown Fairbanks and the model reproduced dilution of NOx on timescales in agreement with field measurements on the edge and outside of the urban area of Fairbanks. The model was updated from previous versions to include calculations of reactions of N₂O₅ on aerosol particles and an empirically-derived value for dry deposition velocity of N₂O₅ to the snowpack, which acts as a competing loss of N₂O₅. It was found that dry deposition of N₂O₅ causes a significant fraction of N₂O₅ loss near the snowpack, but reactions on aerosol particles dominate loss of N₂O₅ over the total atmospheric column. Sensitivity experiment results indicate a strong sensitivity to urban area density (affecting NO flux), season and clouds (affecting photolysis), and weather and climate (affecting temperature), implying a strong sensitivity of the results to urban planning and climate change. Model simulations produced large amounts of secondary ammonium nitrate downwind of the polluted area due to NOx oxidation and subsequent reactions with ammonia on aerosol particles.
  • Visualizing the present: current issues within contemporary visual Sami art - an analysis of Sami artists and their art in Oslo, Norway

    Horn-Hanssen, Birte Marie (2011-12)
    Until recently, contemporary visual Sami art has been little studied. However there is continuous activity within the Sami art world that is evident from the large amount of contemporary visual Sami art exhibits in northern Scandinavia. This paper provides an exploratory analysis of the current issues and artistic language contemporary visual Sami artists who live in Oslo, Norway are concerned with. Through contextualizing the artworks within a post-colonial framework highlighting the dominant Sami historical, political and societal narratives from the 1970s until now, and contrasting them with the official Norwegian image of Norway as a unified "oil and gas nation," a "human rights nation" or a "fishing nation" the artworks question dominant historical perspectives and become visual inquiries of the Sami's political and societal situation currently or in recent history in Norway. This study demonstrates that the current issues visualized among contemporary Sami artists in Oslo are humans' relationship to the natural environment; collective and personal identity; and political and cultural rights. The study shows that the artists use their Sami background as a specific context to visualize these generic issues. Finally, the analysis emphasizes that contemporary visual Sami artists have transcultural backgrounds and use transnational artistic language, themes, and expressions and therefore visualizes new and emerging fluid transnational Sami identities.
  • Terrestrial invertebrate prey for juvenile chinook salmon: abundance and environmental controls in an Interior Alaska river

    Gutierrez, Laura; Wipfli, Mark S.; Blanchard, Amy L.; Rosenberger, Amanda E. (2011-12)
    Terrestrial prey subsidies can be a key food source for stream fish, but their importance and environmental controls on their abundance have not been widely documented in high latitude ecosystems. This study investigated terrestrial invertebrate prey availability and predation by age-0+ juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), overlap between terrestrial infall and drift to diet, and the relationship between diet to stream temperature and discharge in the Chena River, Interior Alaska. Terrestrial infall, drift, and juvenile chinook diet varied widely through the summers (May-September) of 2008 and 2009. Drift was comprised of 33% terrestrial and 67% aquatic invertebrate mass, while juvenile chinook diet contained 19% terrestrial, 80% aquatic, and 1% unidentifiable invertebrate mass. The proportion of terrestrial invertebrate mass consumed increased through summer and, at times, made up to 39% of total diet. Low similarity of invertebrates in diet and infall, and diet and drift suggested that fish were, in part, prey-selective, selecting hymenopterans and chironomid midges (Diptera). In both years, prey mass consumed and discharge varied inversely, but no correlation was found between proportion of terrestrial invertebrates consumed and discharge. However, the two sampling dates with the highest proportion of terrestrial invertebrates consumed occurred shortly after a 60-year flood, indicating that terrestrial invertebrates may be important during rain and associated high water. This study found that, although terrestrial infall and drift are highly variable, terrestrial invertebrates are an important prey resource for rearing chinook salmon in this high latitude riverine system, especially later in the summer.
  • Novel fungal taxa in an Alaskan boreal forest: phylogenetic affinities, ecologies, and ribosomal RNA secondary structures

    Glass, Daniel; Taylor, D. Lee; Olson, Link E.; Takebayashi, Naoki; Duffy, Lawrence (2011-12)
    Phylogenetic analyses suggest that a novel DNA sequence (NS1) found in a boreal forest soil-clone library belongs to the fungal kingdom but does not fall unambiguously within any known class. In order to determine if NS1 codes for an authentic ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene-copy, I modeled ribosomal RNA secondary structure for four gene regions. Such analyses have never been used on environmental ribosomal sequences before. It appears that NS1 does code for an authentic gene-copy and is not a biological or lab artifact. I also elucidated the habitat preferences, horizon preferences, and fine-scale spatial structure of NS1 using molecular methods. I determined that NS1 was associated with spruce and was found in both the organic and mineral soil horizons. It appears to have a clumped distribution on the scale of a few meters and its spatial distribution shows little inter-annual variability. Together these findings suggest that NS1 does represent an authentic gene-copy and also shed light on the ecology of this putative taxon. I hope future efforts will expand our understanding of both its identity and function.
  • Reproductive ecology and morphometric subspecies comparisons of Dunlin (Calidris alpina), an arctic shorebird

    Gates, Heather River; Powell, Abby N.; Hunter, Christine M.; Lanctot, Richard B. (2011-12)
    The Arctic region provides globally important breeding and migratory habitat for abundant wildlife populations including migratory shorebirds. Due to their remote breeding locations, basic information on breeding ecology, annual productivity, and factors that regulate their populations are poorly studied. Wildlife biologists managing migratory bird populations require detailed information on avian breeding biology, in addition to information on migration ecology including connectivity of migratory stopover and wintering locations. To address information gaps in fecundity, I conducted an experimental study investigating the renesting ecology of Dunlin (Calidris alpina arcticola) by removing clutches at two stages of incubation and by following adults marked with radio transmitters to their replacement clutch. In contrast to predictions for arctic-breeding species, Dunlin had high (82-95%) rates of clutch replacement during early incubation and moderate (35-50%) rates during late incubation. Female body condition and date of clutch loss were important variables explaining propensity for females to replace a clutch; larger females that lost their nest early in the season were more likely to renest than smaller females who lost their nest later in the season. To delineate Dunlin subspecies in areas where they overlap, I used morphological and molecular approaches to determine sex and subspecies of five subspecies of Dunlin breeding in Alaska and eastern Russia. This analysis yielded discriminant function models to correctly classify unknown individuals to sex (79-98%) and subspecies (7385%) via morphometric measures. Correct classification of mixed assemblages of subspecies improved when sex, determined though molecular techniques, was known. The equations I derived using discriminant function models can be used to identify the sex and subspecies of unknown Dunlin individuals for studies investigating breeding and migration ecology.
  • Regional modeling of Greenland's outlet glaciers with the parallel ice sheet model

    Della-Giustina, Daniella N. (2011-12)
    The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cites ice sheet dynamics as the greatest source of uncertainty for predicting current and future rates of sea level rise. This has prompted the development and use of ice sheet models that are capable of simulating the flow and evolution of ice sheets and their corresponding sea level contribution. In the Arctic, the Greenland ice sheet appears to be responding to a warming climate more quickly than expected. In order to determine sea level contribution from Greenland, it is necessary to capture the regional dynamics of the fast flowing outlet glaciers that drain the ice sheet. This work has developed a novel regional model capable of simulating an outlet glacier, and its associated drainage basin, as a mode of using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model. Specifically, it focuses on modeling the Jakobshavn Isbrae as a demonstration. The Jakobshavn Isbrae is one of the world's fastest flowing outlet glaciers, and accounts for nearly 5% of ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Additionally, the Jakobshavn Isbrae has been widely studied for several decades, and a wealth of remotely sensed and in situ data is available in this region. These data are used as model input and for model validation. We have completed a parameter study in this work to examine the behavior of the regional model. The purpose of this study was not to tune the model to match observations, but rather to look at the influence of parameter choices on the ice dynamics. Model results indicate that we have identified the subset of the model parameter space that is appropriate for modeling this outlet glacier. Additionally, we are able to produce some of this more interesting features that have been observed at Jakobshavn, such as the development and disintegration of a floating ice tongue and the distribution of observed surface velocities. We validate these model results by comparison with recent spatially rich measurements of ice surface speeds, as well as ice geometry.
  • Letters as literature: semantic and discursive features of irony in "Letters to Howard"

    Cook, Corinna Jo; Schneider, William; Koester, David; Ruppert, James (2011-12)
    This thesis examines the literary features of the Letters to Howard, a series of letters to the editor of the Alaskan newspaper, the Tundra Times. Published over the course of several months in 1973, the letters were signed by two semi-fictional characters: an old Eskimo man, Naugga Ciunerput, and a lost VISTA volunteer, Wally Morton, the two lone inhabitants of the imagined Land's End Village, Alaska. Naugga and Wally had a pointed agenda: they were addressing editor Howard Rock and his readership with their concerns regarding the newly-passed Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA. In truth, Naugga and Wally's letters were written by two graduate students, Fred Bigjim (an Inupiaq from Nome studying education) and James Ito-Adler (a law student who had switched to anthropology). The use of irony in these letters is the subject of my analysis here; I focus first on the semantic layers of irony and second on its discursive dimensions. This thesis' ultimate goal is to illuminate the ways in which these letters contest history, frame the nature and distribution of power, and examine the myriad tensions at play between Native peoples' historic, cultural, and political ties to the land.
  • Archaeology at Teklanika West (HEA-001): an upland archaeological site, central Alaska

    Coffman, Samuel C. (2011-12)
    This thesis research involved a reinvestigation of the Teklanika West (HEA-001) archaeological site, central Alaska. It focused on understanding and expanding upon the site formation processes, dating, and characterizing cultural components at the site. Analyses were designed to address the preceding research purposes, while inter-relating research objectives. Twelve and a quarter square meters were excavated within five blocks located across the site. These excavation blocks yielded dateable materials in clear association with chipped-stone technology. Both environmental and cultural data obtained at the site have produced a more complex understanding of the site and surrounding landscape. Multiple components ranging in age from the late Pleistocene through late Holocene are represented at the site. Lithic analyses indicate a wide variety of lithic reduction occurring within components; ranging from biface production to late-stage weapons maintenance. Faunal remains from the oldest components consisted of bison, while the mid-late Holocene components consisted of caribou and sheep, respectively. All these data indicate that the upper Teklanika River valley was deglaciated by the late Pleistocene, allowing humans access to animals, new travel routes, and raw material resources.
  • The response of plant community structure and productivity to changes in hydrology in Alaskan boreal peatlands

    Churchill, Amber C.; McGuire, A. David; Nettleton-Hollingsworth, Teresa; Turetsky, Merritt (2011-12)
    Northern peatlands have been a long-term sink for atmospheric CO₂, and have had a net cooling effect on global climate for the last 8,000 to 11,000 years. Across Alaska, peatlands face increased effects of climate change through hydrologic disturbance, both drying and flooding, and these conditions alter the ability of peatlands to accumulate carbon. Here, I examined the influence of changing hydrology in a moderate rich fen and a bog located in the discontinuous permafrost zone of interior Alaska. In both sites, I quantified how changing hydrology affected vegetation composition and ecosystem carbon uptake. At the fen, drying via a lowered water table treatment caused larger changes in vegetation composition and primary productivity than flooding via a raised water table treatment. In the bog, an area of recent permafrost thaw (collapse scar) had increased rates of understory net primary production and gross primary production, relative to an adjacent but older collapse scar and the surrounding permafrost plateau. Together, results from these studies highlight possible community responses to projected change in water availability, whether through drying or flooding, and demonstrate initial mechanisms for community responses altering ecosystem processes.
  • Animal companionship and identity construction in the middle English "Ywain and Gawain"

    Byers, Robert E. (2011-12)
    As a relatively recent field within literary cultural studies, "animal studies" has the potential to ask sophisticated new questions about the central and privileged place of the humanist "cogito." Through an examination of the human-animal companionship found in the Middle English romance "Ywain and Gawain", this thesis aims to contribute to the project of animal studies by tracing how questions about humanity and animality both construct and deconstruct a subject's identity. In the poem, Ywain, a knight in Arthur's court, is exiled from society and befriends a lion, who travels and fights alongside him. The dynamics of their bond highlight a posthumanist identity which begins to articulate itself within Ywain. The fluid nature of the category "man" is further examined throughan analysis of Ywain's sojourn in the woods as a wild man, and the "what is a man" encounter which occurs at the beginning of the poem. Though normative society is reinstated at the end of the text, the study concludes that the added presence of the lion in court undermines humanism's inherently speciesist imagination and serves as a microcosm of one possible vision of a posthumanist society.
  • Engineering economic analysis of a rail extension from Dunbar siding to Livengood, Alaska

    Bohart, Charles W.; Metz, Paul A.; Huang, Scott L.; Misra, Debasmita (2011-12)
    The Dunbar Siding to Livengood rail extension study is an economic prefeasibility investigation, and is conducted from two perspectives as a cost benefit analysis. The first perspective is, that of the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) in which the capital and operating costs of the proposed extension are recovered through the revenue stream resulting from the out-bound mineral freight loads, the in-bound re-supply freight loads, and the potential commuter passenger service to mining projects and communities in the Livengood area. The second perspective is that of the private sector in which a shipping sensitivity and employee transport analysis with respect to mining project developments. The large mineral resource base within the Dunbar-Livengood Corridor indicates an excellent freight potential with generous benefits for Alaska's economy of greater than $2 billion annually in gross revenues; whereas, resource and rail development are synergistic.
  • You say I can, I think I can: peripheral route persuasion as a contributor to employability self-efficacy for undergraduate students

    Uzzell, Brandon W.; Sager, Kevin; Arundale, Robert; Richey, Jean (2011-05)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the persuasive communication phenomenon between university students and professors concerning students' post-degree employability. Communicative interactions were examined as originating with the Elaboration likelihood model's peripheral route cues (persuasive messages) and the outcomes of these interactions as student's employability self-efficacy (beliefs about employability). Hypotheses predicted that a positive correlation exists between perceived peripheral route cues and employability self-efficacy of students. Senior level undergraduate students at a Northwestern university voluntarily completed an electronic survey containing need for cognition, peripheral route cues, and employability self-efficacy measures. Analysis indicated that employability self-efficacy could be successfully predicted by peripheral route cues. Results showed an overall significant positive correlation between the predictor and outcome variable. Implications of these results, limitations of the study, and future research directions are discussed.
  • A comparative analysis of legislative and policy support of indigenous cultural transmission in Alaska, Canada, and Azerbaijan

    Tobin, Löki Gale (2011-05)
    Does federal recognition of indigenous self-determination lead to federal support of indigenous cultural transmission? This thesis used a multiple-case analysis to answer this question. Research assessed the impact federal and non-federal legislation has had on indigenous cultural transmission in Alaska, Canada, and Azerbaijan respectively. Findings demonstrated that after federal recognition of indigenous self-determination, cultural transmission programs increased in Alaska and Canada. In Azerbaijan, where no such recognition exists, indigenous groups continue to face discrimination and national policies that negatively impact cultural transmission activities. Without federal recognition of indigenous self-determination, indigenous groups worldwide face situations hostile to their cultural survival.
  • Remote sensing and GIS analysis of the spatial and morphological changes of thermokarst lakes: Kolyma lowlands, northeast Siberia

    Tillapaugh, Meghan L. (2011-05)
    Thermokarst lakes develop when changes in the permafrost thermal regime cause degradation leading to surface subsidence and ponding. The degree of thermokarst development depends upon permafrost characteristics, topography, and geology. Changing thermokarst lake dynamics affect arctic ecosystems, hydrological patterns, albedo, and the carbon cycle through the mobilization of organic matter in the permafrost. This study used remote sensing and GIS techniques to relate lake dynamics in the Kolyma Lowlands, Siberia, to geology, elevation, geomorphological features, hydrology, and air temperature. Highest limnicity and largest lake sizes were found in regions with low elevation, limited alluvial processes, high ground-ice content, and lithologies with small particle sizes. New lake development and erosion occurred as well. One subregion studied showed lake area increases (Cherskii: +7.6%) while another showed a decrease (Duvanny Yar: -5.2%). Differences are attributed to variations in elevation and fluvial influences. A major cause of drainage was river tapping of lakes. Lake coalescence, flooding during river water level high stands, and lakeshore erosion were the main causes of lake expansion. The Kolyma Lowland soils have high ice and organic matter contents as well making the monitoring of thermokarst lake dynamics important as large amounts of freshwater and carbon could potentially be released.
  • Traditional knowledge and fish biology: a study of Bering cisco in the Yukon River Delta, Alaska

    Runfola, David Michael; Sutton, Trent; Carothers, Courtney; Norton, David W.; Schneider, William (2011-05)
    Relatively little is known about the biology of whitefishes (subfamily Coregoninae) in Alaska. To address this shortcoming, I combined social and biological science methods to examine whitefish in the Yukon River delta, Alaska. This study had two objectives: (1) to collaborate with Yup'ik subsistence fishers in sharing their knowledge of whitefish; and (2) to describe the life history of Bering cisco Coregonus laurettae. In August 2004, interview participants discussed Yup'ik traditional knowledge of whitefish. Participants shared knowledge of Bering cisco and other whitefish species. Interviews demonstrated the need for greater awareness of traditional knowledge, and the importance of communicating this knowledge with scientists. In addition, 120 Bering ciscoes were collected in August 2005 and 2006 with gill nets in the Yukon River delta, Alaska. Bering ciscoes ranged in fork length from 146 to 490 mm (mean = 321 mm) and in weight from 32 to 735 g (mean = 304 g). Fish ranged in age from 0 to 6, with one age-11 individual observed. Diet analysis showed that Bering ciscoes fed primarily on sticklebacks. My study records important social and biological data regarding Bering cisco, linking ethnography and fish biology as a means of investigating this poorly understood species.

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