• A Comparison Of The Effects Of Analysis Techniques And Computer Systems In Remote Sensing Technology And A Reference Data Collection Technique

      Spencer, Joellen Page (1981)
      A technique for collecting and recording reference data which considers the spectral and spatial characteristics of Landsat data, the computer system being used, and the gradient nature of wildland vegetation was developed and described. Different analysis techniques for four critical factors affecting the accuracy of computer-aided analysis products were evaluated. Comparisons were made on the basis of accuracy evaluations of two methods of data/analyst interface, three methods of deriving training statistics, three methods of spectral class descriptions, and two levels of map category detail. The primary data set used was digital Landsat multispectral data for a study area around Fairbanks, Alaska. Reference data were developed from field work and photo-interpretation. The training methods compared were supervised, unsupervised, and modified clustering. The three spectral class description methods were: (1) labels derived from the training data; (2) the color display screen; and (3) from ground plot data. Community level cover types were compared with generalized map categories. The effect of post-classification stratification was evaluated. The reference data technique provides geographically located stands and cover types identifications with a flexible coding system that can be aggregated to correspond to the spectral data categories. No difference in classification accuracy was found for an experienced analyst using a printout oriented system such as EDITOR or a screen oriented system such as IDIMS. The modified cluster method of developing training statistics was more effective and efficient than supervised or unsupervised training methods. The use of ground plot data and subsequent stratification improved the descriptions of spectral classes. Generalized mapping categories were more accurate than detailed mapping categories. Knowledge of the ecologic, floristic, and spectral characteristics of the cover types in the study area is necessary to develop spectral class descriptions and stratification criteria.
    • A Geobotanical Analysis Of Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation, Climate, And Substrate

      Raynolds, Martha K. (2009)
      The objective of the research presented in this dissertation was to better understand the factors controlling the present and potential future distribution of arctic vegetation. The analysis compares the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM) with circumpolar data sets of environmental characteristics. Geographical information system (GIS) software was used to overlay the CAVM with a satellite index of vegetation (normalized difference vegetation index, NDVI) and environmental factors that are most important in controlling the distribution of arctic vegetation, including summer temperature, landscape age, precipitation, snow cover, substrate chemistry (pH and salinity), landscape type, elevation, permafrost characteristics, and distance to sea. Boosted regression tree analysis was used to determine the relative importance of different environmental characteristics for different vegetation types and for different regions. Results of this research include maps, charts and tables that summarize and display the spatial characteristics of arctic vegetation. The data for arctic land surface temperature and landscape age are especially important new resources for researchers. These results are available electronically, not only as summary data, but also as GIS data layers with a spatial context (www.arcticatlas.org). The results emphasize the value and reliability of NDVI for studying arctic vegetation. The relationship between NDVI and summer temperatures across the circumpolar arctic was similar to the correlated increases in NDVI and temperature seen over the time period of satellite records. Summaries of arctic biomass based on NDVI match those based on extrapolation from ground samples. The boosted regression tree analysis described ecological niches of arctic vegetation types, demonstrating the importance of summer temperatures and landscape age in controlling the distribution of arctic vegetation. As the world continues to focus on the Arctic as an area undergoing accelerated warming due to global climate change, results presented here from spatially explicit analysis of existing arctic vegetation and environmental characteristics can be used to better understand plant distribution patterns, evaluate change in the vegetation, and calibrate models of arctic vegetation and animal habitat.
    • A Multiple Stable Isotope Study Of Steller Sea Lions And Bowhead Whales: Signals Of A Changing Northern Environment

      Dehart, Pieter Andrew Philip; Wooller, Matthew J. (2006)
      The North Pacific and Arctic marine realm is currently experiencing dramatic environmental changes as a result of global climate change. Stable isotope analysis of western arctic bowhead whales (WABW, Balaena mysticetus ) and Steller sea lions (SSL, Eumetopias jubatus) were conducted to examine the influence of these changes on life history characteristics (migration and foraging) of these marine mammals. WABW baleen plates were analyzed for their stable oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition (delta 18O and deltaD) and were compared to the delta18O and deltaD in water and zooplankton prey along their seasonal migratory route. The delta18O and deltaD varied along the baleen (8 to 18�; -180 to -80�, respectively) and corresponded to stable isotopic differences in zooplankton from the winter (Bering Sea) and summer (eastern Beaufort Sea) habitats of WABW. Baleen delta18O and deltaD confirmed the seasonal annual migration of WABW and were subsequently compared to historical sea ice concentrations (SIC). This illustrated that WABW migration patterns appeared to have altered concomitant with changes in SIC. Years with a higher SIC (colder climate regimes) correlated with the largest difference in deltaD between winter and summer in WABW baleen during the period from 1972 to 1988. For a similar time period (1955 to 2000), the feeding ecology of SSL was also examined by analyzing the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions (delta13C and delta 15N, respectively) of archived SSL bone and tooth collagen. Both delta 15N and delta13C varied greatly with location and sample year (14.6 to 20.5�; - 16.7 to -11.8�, respectively), with a significant change in delta13C observed around the 1976 regime shift. Bottom-up processes may have limited growth of SSL populations throughout this region over time, with animals focusing their foraging on offshore regions to mitigate this environmental change. Stable isotope analyses of historical samples of WABW (baleen) and SSL (bone and tooth collagen) both illustrated that recent environmental changes influenced the ecology (migration and feeding) of these marine mammals in the recent past.
    • Abundance, Recruitment, And Environmental Forcing Of Kodiak Red King Crab

      Bechtol, William R.; Kruse, Gordon H. (2009)
      Commercial harvests of red king crab Paralithodes camtschaticus around Kodiak Island, Alaska increased rapidly in the 1960s to a peak of 42,800 mt in 1965. Stock abundance declined sharply in the late 1960s, moderated in the 1970s, and crashed in the early 1980s. The stock has not recovered despite a commercial fishery closure since 1983. To better understand the rise, collapse, and continued depleted status of the red king crab stock around Kodiak Island, I conducted a retrospective analysis with three primary objectives: (1) reconstruct spawning stock abundance and recruitment during 1960-2004; (2) explore stock-recruit relationships; and (3) examine ecological influences on crab recruitment. A population dynamics model was used to estimate abundance, recruitment, and fishing and natural mortalities. Three male and four female "stages" were estimated using catch composition data from the fishery (1960-1982) and pot (1972-1986) and trawl (1986-2004) surveys. Male abundance was estimated for 1960-2004, but limited data constrained female estimates to 1972-2004. Strong crab recruitment facilitated increased fishery capitalization during the 1960s, but the high harvest rates were not sustainable, likely due to reproductive failure associated with sex ratios skewed toward females. To examine spawner-recruitment (S-R) relationships for the Kodiak stock, I considered lags of 5-8 years between reproduction and recruitment and, due to limited female data, two currencies of male abundance as a proxy for spawners: (1) all males ?125 mm carapace length (CL); and (2) legal males (?145 mm CL). Model selection involved AICc, the Akaike Information Criterion corrected for small sample size. An autocorrelated Ricker model using all males and a 5-year lag, with the time series separated into three productivity periods corresponding to different ecological regimes, minimized AIC c values. Depensation at low stock sizes was not detected. Potential effects of selected biotic and abiotic factors on early life survival by Kodiak red king crab were examined by extending the S-R relationship. Results suggested a strong negative influence of Pacific cod Gadus macrocephalus on crab recruitment. Thus, increased cod abundance and a nearshore shift in cod distribution likely impeded crab stock rebuilding.
    • Alexander Archipelago Wolves: Ecology And Population Viability In A Disturbed, Insular Landscape

      Person, David Karl; Bowyer, R. Terry (2001)
      The Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni) occupies Southeast Alaska, a region undergoing intensive harvest of timber. Sitka black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis) are the primary prey of these wolves. We conducted a telemetry study of 23 wolves on Prince of Wales and adjacent islands in Southeast Alaska between September 1992 and October 1995. We examined home range, habitat use, reproduction, mortality, and dispersal of wolves in logged landscapes and those that were relatively unlogged. We used those data to parameterize a wolf-deer model to predict long-term effects of timber harvest on the wolf-deer system on Prince of Wales and adjacent islands. Home ranges of 7 wolf packs averaged 259 km2 in winter but only 104 km2 during pup-rearing season (15 April--15 August). Home-range size was positively correlated to pack size, and area per individual wolf was inversely related to the proportion of winter habitat for deer within the home range. Radiocollared wolves were classified as residents, extraterritorials, and dispersers. Annual mortality was 64% for extraterritorial and dispersing wolves and 31% for residents. Eighty-two percent of mortality was human caused. Radiocollared wolves were located mostly at low elevations (<250 m) regardless of time of year, and selected for old-growth forest habitat during pup-rearing season. Wolves generally avoided second-growth forests and clearcuts, and their use of those habitats occurred mostly at night. Density of roads was positively correlated with rate of harvest of wolves. Simulations from our wolf-deer model indicated that deer and wolf populations on Prince of Wales and adjacent islands likely have declined since initiation of industrial-scale logging. Nonetheless, risk that the population of wolves will no longer be viable is low. Our predictions indicate that deer will decline disproportionately to decline of carrying capacity (K). Thus, a small change in K may precipitate large, long-term changes in deer numbers. The most important management strategy for the conservation of wolves in Southeast Alaska is to maintain high-quality habitat for deer. We believe that managing human access by closing roads for motorized use and limiting construction of new roads are also measures necessary to conserve wolves.
    • Applied Range Ecology Of Reindeer (Rangifer Tarandus Tarandus) On The Seward Peninsula, Alaska

      Finstad, Gregory Lawrence; Kielland, Knut; Harris, Norman (2008)
      Linking variation of the environment to animal production is key to successful range management. Ecological site descriptions (ESDs) are landscape units used by land managers for the grazing management of domestic reindeer ( Rangifer tarandus tarandus) on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. This study investigated the appropriateness of using ESDs for the grazing management of reindeer and explored the use of alternate units to link landscape variation to animal production. ESD composition of reindeer ranges varied across the Seward Peninsula, but there was no relationship to either animal production, estimated by June calf weight and cow/calf ratios, or reindeer serum and tissue mineral concentrations. I have shown that reindeer do not graze uniformly across ESDs, but are selective, both temporally and spatially, in what they consume. Reindeer diet selection and animal production appear to be driven by temporal variation in the nutritional characteristics of individual forage species. Biomass production and seasonal nutritional characteristics of forage species were used develop a computerized mapping program for reindeer producers to identify high quality grazing areas. Production among herds was related with identified forage sources of protein in the diet. Reindeer in herds with smaller June calves consumed more catkins, stems and leaf buds of shrubs in May, presumably to compensate for lower protein reserves. Diets of reindeer and June calf weight were significantly predicted by the delta15N &permil; differential between antler core (AC) and antler periosteum (AP). Although animal production was related to landscape stratification at the species level, data showed that weather patterns affected forage nutrient concentration and foraging accessibility at a landscape level. Body weight and growth of female calves and the proportion of yearlings lactating the next summer were positively correlated with spring temperature and negatively correlated with winter severity and summer temperature. Land managers are using ESDs to monitor and assess the impact of grazing, but I have shown that landscape variation described at a multitude of scales other than ESD are linked to grazing patterns and animal production. I concluded that these alternative landscape units be integrated into reindeer range management currently being practiced on the Seward Peninsula.
    • Arctic Alaskan Shrub Growth, Distribution, And Relationships To Landscape Processes And Climate During The 20Th Century

      Tape, Ken D.; Ruess, Roger; Welker, Jeffrey; Chapin, F. S. III; Sturm, Matthew; Walker, D. A. (2011)
      The primary change underway in the tundra of Arctic Alaska is the increase in air temperature and expansion of deciduous shrubs since 1980. I explored relationships between shrub expansion and relevant ecosystem properties such as climate, soil characteristics, erosion, and herbivory. Alnus viridis ssp. fruticosa (Siberian alder) shrubs located along streams, rock outcrops, or other features with active disturbance regimes showed a positive correlation between growth ring widths and March through July air temperature. Climate-growth relationships were much weaker for alder in adjacent tussock tundra. Additionally, tussock tundra sites had different vegetation composition, shallower thaw, lower mean annual ground temperature, lower mean growing season temperature, higher soil moisture, more carbon in mineral soil, and higher C:N values in shrub leaves than nearby non-tussock alder. Growth rings and site characteristics imply that preexisting soil conditions predispose alder shrubs growing in non-tussock tundra to respond rapidly to warming. Analysis of temporal series of aerial photography from 1950 and 2000 and of Landsat imagery from 1986 and 2009 showed an increase in percent cover of shrubs, primarily in riparian areas. This increase in shrubs is contemporaneous with a decline in peak discharge events from the Kuparuk River and a lengthening of the growing season since 1980, both of which may have caused the decline in sediment deposition observed in 3 of 4 lake sediment cores dated with lead and cesium isotopes. Both alder shrub growth and erosion are particularly sensitive to runoff dynamics during the snowmelt and green-up period, and these dynamics are affected by spring temperatures. Ptarmigan, moose, and hares forage heavily on shrubs protruding above the deepening snow during the late-winter, and selective browsing on willow vs. alder is likely influencing shrub community composition. The increase in shrubs during the 20th century may represent additional habitat for these herbivores, and herbivore-mediated changes in shrub architecture may have important implications for how shrubs trap snow and ultimately affect surface energy balance. Evidence from this thesis indicates shrub growth and cover have increased in response to persistent warming, particularly in areas where the organic layer is thinner and active layer deeper.
    • Assessing The Health Of Harbor Seals In Alaska

      Trumble, Stephen John; Castellini, Michael (2003)
      Declining populations of pinnipeds in the Gulf of Alaska, possibly resulting from changes in prey quality, prompted research to determine the population health status of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) using blood chemistry and digestive constraints. Blood chemistry and morphology reference range values between two harbor seal pup populations in Alaska, one population in continued decline, Prince William Sound, and another in recent increase, Tugidak Island, offered clues that blood values can vary on the population scale and that health assessment must utilize an appropriate set of reference values for valid comparisons. Subsequently, a captive study involving harbor seals yielded changes in ten blood chemistry or hematology values as a function of season and diet. These data provided evidence that populations may have distinct "identities" based on blood chemistry values. The "metabolic identity" of a population provides evidence of the relationship between environmental stressors and the genetic capacity of the animal to respond to metabolic demands. This made it possible to better understand population level differentiation in plasma chemistry values and thus assess the health of animals occupying the outlier regions of populations, since these regions are often suggestive of poor health. A captive study involving harbor seals, which are known to consume the low quality prey (pollock) implicated in the declines of many species of birds and mammals in the Gulf of Alaska, yielded consistent dry matter digestibility resulting in greater gut fill from pollock than from herring. Digestible energy intakes from pollock were greater than from either herring or the mixed diet. Lipid digestibility of herring declined from 90% to 50% when lipid intake exceeded 60 g kg -0.75 d-1. Results of this study imply that a flexible digestive system for harbor seals can compensate for ingesting a prey of low energy density by increasing gut fill and enhancing protein and lipid assimilation, to sustain digestible energy intake. In other words, harbor seals can offset differences in prey quality if prey availability and abundance does not limit the physiological plasticity of their digestive system to maintain their supply of energy and nutrients.
    • Biocomplexity Of Nonsorted Circles In The Low Arctic, Alaska

      Kade, Anja N.; Walker, Donald (2006)
      The vegetation and soils in many arctic tundra regions are influenced by the distribution of nonsorted circles, unique patterned-ground features that dot the well-vegetated tundra landscape. They are flat to dome-shaped, bare soil patches 0.5 to 3 m across and lack a border of stones. Localized soil disturbance due to cryogenic processes creates unusual micro-environments with unique plant communities, slow soil development and deep active layers. The contrast between barren nonsorted circles and the well-vegetated stable tundra provides an ideal opportunity to examine the complex linkages among vegetation, soil and disturbance through cryogenic processes, offering insight into how the tundra system operates. The central goal of this thesis is to understand the complex linkages of the nonsorted-circle system along a natural climate gradient on the North Slope in the Alaskan arctic tundra at different scales, ranging from plot level to regional changes. This thesis examines the interactions among vegetation, soil and cryogenic regime by treating the nonsorted circles within the stable tundra as a single complex system. The thesis presents a formal description and analysis of the plant communities on and off nonsorted circles along the climatic gradient using Braun-Blanquet classification approach. The thesis also studies the physical effects of vegetation, soil organic mat and snow cover on the microclimate of nonsorted circles and the stable tundra along the same climate gradient. The influence of vegetation on cryogenic processes is examined experimentally by manipulating the plant canopy on nonsorted circles. When compared to the stable tundra, nonsorted circles have minimal vegetation cover, resulting in warm soil temperatures and deep thaw depths in summer and allowing for increased ice-lens formation during freeze-up. The resulting frost heave and needle-ice formation at the soil surface maintain the bare surfaces of the circles through soil disturbance. Cryogenic processes dominate the system at the northern sites, while the warmer climate towards the south allows for thick vegetation mats on and off the nonsorted circles, suppressing cryogenic processes. The strength of the interactions among vegetation, soil and cryogenic regime may change under a warming arctic climate, possibly leading to the local disappearance of nonsorted circles.
    • Biological impacts and recovery from marine disposal of metal mining waste

      Kline, Edward R. (1998)
      Waste from coastal, metal mining operations may be disposed of in the ocean. Studies were conducted using tailings and wastewater (effluent) from a proposed gold mine that is located near Juneau, Alaska, USA. The ability of invertebrates to colonize tailings after obliteration by submarine tailings disposal (STD) was assessed through a field experiment. Trays of tailings and reference sediment were placed on the sea floor and retrieved over a 22 month period. The taxonomic composition, abundance, and biomass of invertebrates that colonized tailings and reference sediment were similar. Therefore, recolonization of invertebrates after obliteration by STD should not be inhibited by the presence of these tailings as a bottom substrate. In a laboratory study, the toxicity of effluent from the milling process was compared for early life stage fish and crustaceans. Common reference species and species that are indigenous to southern Alaska were exposed to effluent. The relationship between effluent concentration and organism response was established for immobilization, paralysis, and death. For each response, the sensitivity of the reference species bracketed that of the indigenous species. An overall ranking of species sensitivity could not be made because it depended on the response that was compared. The source of effluent toxicity was determined for one of the reference species, a crustacean. A simulated effluent was created to duplicate the ionic composition of the actual effluent. Toxicity was compared in effluent, effluent with increased salinity, simulated effluent, and solutions with adjusted concentrations of ions. Calcium was in excess in the effluent, relative to seawater, and was isolated as the source of toxicity. Sodium deficiency in the effluent, relative to seawater, reduced calcium toxicity.
    • Body Condition And Food Resources Of White-Tailed Deer On Anticosti Island, Quebec

      Huot, Jean (1982)
      A study was conducted on relationships between seasonal variation in body condition of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus borealis) and food resources on Anticosti Island, Quebec. Results of the vegetation surveys show that food resources are extremely limited in abundance and variety as snow covers the ground vegetation in winter. Excluding Picea spp., Abies balsamea is by far the most available browse species, accounting for approximately 95% of the available browse biomass in February and March. Analysis of rumen contents suggests that this species accounts for 98.5% of the browse eaten by inland deer between February and mid-April. Lichens account for 9.5% of the dry weight of the rumen content at that time. During the snow-free period, forbs dominate the diet. Both sexes and all age classes show a well defined pattern in body composition with maximum fat levels occurring between September and mid-December and minimum levels between mid-April and mid-June. Fat reserves (ether extraction) in fawns vary from a maximum of 15.3% in fall to a minimum of 0.2% in spring as they lose 41% of their ingesta-free body weight. Composition of the winter body weight loss varies according to sex and age, fat represents 31.7% to 58.9% of the loss and protein 17.8% to 23.0%, water is inversely correlated with fat and ash is a minor part of the loss. The caloric content of the weight loss on an ingesta-free weight basis is lowest in 3-year-old males (3.95 kcal/g) and highest in 2-year-old females (6.86 kcal/g). It is concluded that in association with their low productivity in summer, Anticosti deer must base their winter survival strategy primarily on energy conservation and secondarily on food acquisition during that season.
    • Boreal forest regeneration dynamics: Modeling early forest establishment patterns in interior Alaska

      Rupp, Terry Scott; Yarie, John (1998)
      Ecological processes are responsible for vegetation trajectory within the boreal forest landscape of interior Alaska. The reproductive response of boreal forest to disturbance controls vegetation trajectory. Boreal forest reproduction dynamics are influenced by both biotic and abiotic factors, acting upon the spatio-temporal dynamics of the landscape. Understanding these factors and how the boreal forest responds, both spatially and temporally, is critical for the development of accurate models of regional and global vegetation dynamics. I developed a geographic model of the early post-disturbance seedling regeneration pattern of upland white spruce ecosystems in interior Alaska. The model was developed and runs within a geographic information system (GIS). The model simulates the establishment patterns of white spruce, paper birch, and aspen across the landscape following fire. Seed production and dispersal, disturbance effects upon the seedbed, and the early establishment of both seedlings and vegetative stems are simulated. The model was used to simulate a 6 yr period (1983-1988) of seedling establishment at the Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest near Fairbanks, following the Rosie Creek fire. Correlation values between predicted and established seedlings were high, demonstrating the model's ability to simulate general establishment patterns. Sensitivity analysis revealed seed production, seed source location and orientation, and seedbed "receptivity" as important controls upon the early establishment success of white spruce seedlings following disturbance. Establishment patterns between a hypothetical clearcut, strip-cut, and residual tree islands cut were simulated and compared. Distance from the seed source was identified as a major limitation to adequate stocking levels in the clearcut. The residual islands cut provided the highest stocking levels, followed by the strip-cut and clearcut. The results suggest large clearcuts are not an efficient harvesting method in interior Alaska for successful natural regeneration and stocking levels. The model results warrant further development and identified a "real" potential use as a forest management tool.
    • Bridging the gap between pupping and molting phenology: behavioral and ecological drivers in Weddell seals

      Beltran, Roxanne Santina; Burns, Jennifer; Breed, Greg; Testa, J. Ward; O'Brien, Diane; Barnes, Brian (2018-08)
      In Antarctica, the narrow window of favorable conditions constrains the life history phenology of female Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) such that pupping, breeding, foraging, and molting occur in quick succession during summer; however, the carry-over effects from one life history event to another are unclear. In this dissertation, I characterize the phenological links between molting and pupping, and evaluate feeding behavior and ice dynamics as mechanistic drivers. First, I review the contributions of natural and sexual selection to the evolution of molting strategies in the contexts of energetics, habitat, function, and physiology. Many polar birds and mammals adhere to an analogous biannual molting strategy wherein the thin, brown summer feathers/fur are replaced with thick, white winter feathers/fur. Polar pinnipeds are an exception to the biannual molting paradigm; most rely on blubber for insulation and exhibit a single molt per year. Second, I describe the duration and timing of the Weddell seal molt based on data from 4,000 unique individuals. In adult females, I found that successful reproduction delays the molt by approximately two weeks relative to non-reproductive individuals. Using time-depth recorder data from 59 Weddell seals at the crucial time between pupping and molting, I report a striking mid-summer shallowing of seal dive depths that appears to follow a vertical migration of fishes during the summer phytoplankton bloom. The seals experience higher foraging success during this vertical shift in the prey distribution, which allows them to re-gain mass quickly before the molt. Across four years of study, later ice break-out resulted in later seal dive shallowing and later molt. In combination, the data presented in this dissertation suggest that molting, foraging, and pupping phenology are linked in Weddell seals and are affected by ice break-out timing.
    • Carbon Cycling In Three Mature Black Spruce ( Picea Mariana [Mill.] B.S.P.) Forests In Interior Alaska

      Vogel, Jason Gene; Valentine, David (2004)
      Climate warming in high latitudes is expected to alter the carbon cycle of the boreal forest. Warming will likely increase the rate of organic matter decomposition and microbial respiration. Faster organic matter decomposition should increase plant available nutrients and stimulate plant growth. I examined these predicted relationships between C cycle components in three similar black spruce forests (Picea mariana [Mill] B.S.P) near Fairbanks, Alaska, that differed in soil environment and in-situ decomposition. As predicted, greater in-situ decomposition rates corresponded to greater microbial respiration and black spruce aboveground growth. However root and soil respiration were both greater at the site where decomposition was slowest, indicating greater C allocation to root processes with slower decomposition. It is unclear what environmental factor controls spruce allocation. Low temperature or moisture could cause spruce to increase belowground allocation because slower decomposition leads to low N availability, but foliar N concentration was similar across sites and root N concentration greater at the slow decomposition site. The foliar isotopic composition of 13C indicated soil moisture was lower at the site with greater root and soil respiration. From a literature review of mature black spruce forests, it appears drier (e.g. Alaska) regions of the boreal forest have greater soil respiration because of greater black spruce C allocation belowground. Organic matter characteristics identified with pyrolysis gas chromatography-mass spectrometry correlated with microbial processes, but organic matter chemistry less influenced C and N mineralization than did temperature. Also, differences among sites in C and net N mineralization rates were few and difficult to explain from soil characteristics. Warming had a greater influence on C and N mineralization than the mediatory effect of soil organic matter chemistry. In this study, spruce root C allocation varied more among the three stands than other ecosystem components of C cycling. Spruce root growth most affected the annual C balance by controlling forest floor C accumulation, which was remarkably sensitive to root severing. Predicting the response of black spruce to climate change will require an understanding of how spruce C allocation responds to available moisture and soil temperature.
    • Carbon Sequestration In Alaska's Boreal Forest: Planning For Resilience In A Changing Landscape

      Fresco, Nancy; Chapin, Stuart (2006)
      Northern ecosystems and those who rely upon them are facing a time of unprecedented rapid change. Global boreal forests will play an important role in the feedback loop between climate, ecosystems, and society. In this thesis, I examine forest carbon dynamics and the potential for carbon management in Interior boreal Alaska in three distinct frameworks, then analyze my results in the context of social-ecological resilience. In Chapter 1, I analyze comparative historical trends and current regulatory frameworks governing the use and management of boreal forests in Russia, Sweden, Canada, and Alaska, and assess indicators of socio-ecological sustainability in these regions. I conclude that low population density, limited fire suppression, and restricted economic expansion in Interior Alaska have resulted in a 21st-century landscape with less compromised human-ecosystem interactions than other regions. Relative wealth and a strong regulatory framework put Alaska in a position to manage for long-term objectives such as carbon sequestration. In Chapter 2, I model the landscape-level ecological possibilities for sequestration under three different climate scenarios and associated changes in fire and forest growth. My results indicate that Interior Alaska could act as either a weak carbon source or as a weak sink in the next hundred years, and that management for carbon credits via fire suppression would be inadvisable, given the associated uncertainty and risks. In Chapter 3, I perform a social, ecological, and economic analysis of the feasibility of switching from fossil fuels to wood energy in Interior Alaska villages. I demonstrate that this is a viable option with the potential benefits of providing lower-cost power, creating local employment, reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire near human habitation, and earning marketable carbon credits. Finally, in Chapter 4, I assess how each of the above factors may impact social-ecological resilience. My results show some system characteristics that tend to bolster resilience and others that tend to increase vulnerability. I argue that in order to reduce vulnerability, management goals for Alaska's boreal forest must be long-term, flexible, cooperative, and locally integrated.
    • Chemical Defense Of Boreal Woody Plants Against Vertebrate Herbivores (Snowshoe Hare, Defense, Secondary Metabolite)

      Bryant, John Philip (1984)
      Snowshoe hares avoid feeding upon winter-dormant woody plant species, growth stages and parts that contain high concentrations of deterrent secondary plant metabolites. Winter browse that is highly palatable to showshoe hares is also high quality food for these hares: snowshoe hares maintain weight in winter when fed highly palatable browse, but do not maintain weight when fed unpalatable browse. A theory is presented that accounts for the allocation of resources to secondary plant metabolites on both evolutionary and physiological time scales. This theory predicts that: (1) Slowly growing woody plants adapted to growth on nutrient-deficient soils or in deep shade will have more effective constitutive antiherbivore defenses than more rapidly growing woody plants adapted to growth in early stages of succession on fertile soils. (2) Juvenile woody plants will be more strongly selected for antiherbivore defenses than adult woody plants. (3) Ontogenetic variation in the effectiveness of antiherbivore defenses will usually be greater in rapidly growing than slowly growing woody plants. (4) A widespread juvenile reversion of rapidly growing woody plants caused by severe winter hare browsing in the peak phase of the hare cycle is a partial cause of the cycle. Evidence for this theory is presented.
    • Community Structure And Longitudinal Patterns Of Benthic Invertebrates In A Heavy-Metal Contaminated Alaskan River System

      Brown, Barry Neil (1987)
      Community structure of stream invertebrates was investigated in a heavy-metal contaminated watershed in Denali National Park, Alaska. Three sites were located on Stampede Creek, with one station above an antimony mine (active 1916-1970) and two stations below. An additional site was located on the Clearwater Fork of the Toklat River downstream from the Stampede Creek confluence. Quantitative samples of benthic invertebrates and associated coarse ($>$1 mm) detritus were obtained in late June (early spring), late July (summer), and late August (early fall).<p> Gut analyses allowed categorization of insects to functional feeding groups. Water temperatures increased and detrital storage generally decreased downstream. Abundance of shredders was positively correlated with abundance of coarse detritus at the headwater site. Longitudinal changes in functional group composition were consistent with the River Continuum Concept. Heavy metal contamination appeared to affect taxonomic and functional groups differentially. Grazers and predators were severely underrepresented directly downstream from the mine. <p>