• Animals and men

      Johnson, Ann LaRee (2010-05)
      "Animals and Men is a collection of personal essays that all find their beginning in this place and time--Interior Alaska between 2007 and 2010. As suggested by the title, many of them reflect on thoughts inspired by the writer's encounters with animals and men during her time living in Alaska. The title of the final essay, Dispelling Illusions, could also be applied to the piece as a whole. A few of the essays attempt to use personal experience to speak to the reader as writer. They hope to discuss some of the questions that arise in writing creative nonfiction. Are there ways a nonfiction writer should or shouldn't go about finding inspiration? How much of a narrator, and their secrets, need to be included in a piece to make it successful? And finally, isn't setting these rules only asking for them to be broken? Ultimately, the essays reflect on the fact that Fairbanks years are like dog years. Living in such a harsh climate we are forced to reevaluate our beliefs and mature in a more real way than we might otherwise"--Leaf iii
    • Assessing effects of climate change on access to ecosystem services in rural Alaska

      Cold, Helen S.; Brinkman, Todd J.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Brown, Caroline L.; Verbyla, David L. (2018-12)
      Across the planet, climate change is altering the way human societies interact with the environment. Amplified climate change at high latitudes is significantly altering the structure and function of ecosystems, creating challenges and necessitating adaptation by societies in the region that depend on local ecosystem services for their livelihoods. Rural communities in Interior Alaska rely on plants and animals for food, clothing, fuel and shelter. Previous research suggests that climate-induced changes in environmental conditions are challenging the abilities of rural residents to travel across the land and access local resources, but detailed information on the nature and effect of specific conditions is lacking. My objectives were to identify climate-related environmental conditions affecting subsistence access, and then estimate travel and access vulnerability to those environmental conditions. I collaborated with nine Interior Alaskan communities within the Yukon River basin and provided local residents with camera-equipped GPS units to document environmental conditions directly affecting access for 12 consecutive months. I also conducted comprehensive interviews with research participants to incorporate the effects of environmental conditions not documented with GPS units. Among the nine communities collaborating on this research, 18 harvesters documented 479 individual observations of environmental conditions affecting their travel with GPS units. Environmental conditions were categorized into seven condition types. I then ranked categories of conditions using a vulnerability index that incorporated both likelihood (number of times a condition was documented) and sensitivity (magnitude of the effect from the condition) information derived from observations and interviews. Changes in ice conditions, erosion, vegetative community composition and water levels had the greatest overall effect on travel and access to subsistence resources. Environmental conditions that impeded travel corridors, including waterways and areas with easily traversable vegetation (such as grass/sedge meadows and alpine tundra), more strongly influenced communities off the road network than those connected by roads. Combining local ecological knowledge and scientific analysis presents a broad understanding of the effects of climate change on access to subsistence resources, and provides information that collaborating communities can use to optimize adaptation and self-reliance.
    • Automatic detection of sensor calibration errors in mining industry

      Pothina, Rambabu; Ganguli, Rajive; Ghosh, Tathagata; Lawlor, Orion; Barry, Ronald (2017-12)
      Sensor errors cost the mining industry millions of dollars in losses each year. Unlike gross errors, "calibration errors" are subtle, develop over time, and are difficult to identify. Economic losses start accumulating even when errors are small. Therefore, the aim of this research was to develop methods to identify calibration errors well before they become obvious. The goal in this research was to detect errors at a bias as low as 2% in magnitude. The innovative strategy developed relied on relationships between a variety of sensors to detect when a given sensor started to stray. Sensors in a carbon stripping circuit at a gold processing facility (Pogo Mine) in Alaska were chosen for the study. The results from the initial application of classical statistical methods like correlation, aggregation and principal component analysis (PCA), and the signal processing methods (FFT), to find bias (±10%) in "feed" sensor data from a semi-autogenous (SAG) grinding mill operation (Fort Knox mine, Alaska) were not promising due to the non-linear and non-stationary nature of the process characteristics. Therefore, those techniques were replaced with some innovative data mining techniques when the focus shifted to Pogo Mine, where the task was to detect calibration errors in strip vessel temperature sensors in the carbon stripping circuit. The new techniques used data from two strip vessel temperature sensors (S1 and S2), four heat exchanger related temperature sensors (H1 through H4), barren flow sensor (BARNFL) and a glycol flow sensor (GLYFL). These eight sensors were deemed to be part of the same process. To detect when the calibration of one of the strip vessel temperature sensors, S1, started to stray, tests were designed to detect changes in relationship between the eight temperature sensors. Data was filtered ("threshold") based on process characteristics prior to being used in tests. The tests combined basic concepts such as moving windows of time, ratios (ratio of one sensor data to data from a set of sensors), tracking of maximum values, etc. Error was triggered when certain rules were violated. A 2% error was randomly introduced into one of the two strip vessel temperature data streams to simulate calibration errors. Some tests were less effective than others at detecting the simulated errors. The tests that used GLYFL and BARNFL were not very effective. On the other hand, the tests that used total "Heat" of all the heat exchanger sensors were very effective. When the tests were administered together ("Combined test"), they have a high success rate (95%) in terms of True alarms, i.e., tests detecting bias after it is introduced. In those True alarms, for 75% of the cases, the introduction of the error was detected within 39.5 days. A -2% random error was detected with a similar success rate.
    • Born to burn: characterizing fuel loads, flammability and plant traits across spatio-temporal gradients of black spruce dominated communities

      Grzesik, Emilia J.; Ruess, Roger; Hollingsworth, Teresa; Turetsky, Merritt (2020-12)
      The flammability of black spruce forests is influenced by the fuel loadings and quality of fuels within a site, whereas the ability of a site to self-replace after fire, and thus forest resiliency, depends on the fire-ecological trait attributes of the plant community. Black spruce plant communities have been undergoing self-replacement succession from low to moderate severity fires for thousands of years, however, recent intensification of interior Alaska's fire regime is leading to shifts in post-fire successional trajectories, resulting in many ecological implications. This study focuses on understanding the variation in black spruce forest flammability, based on fuel load quantity and quality, and fire-ecological plant traits in 28 black spruce dominated sites ranging across age and moisture gradients in interior Alaska. I quantified tree canopy, understory and below-ground fuel loads, developed models to predict fuel loads and then utilized my measurements of above-ground fuel load quantity and quality to calculate a site-level flammability index. Based on my analyses, significantly greater flammability indices, and thus burning potential, occur in sites greater than 34 years in age, at elevations greater than 302 m and with dry site moisture, which are representative of dry, nonacidic upland black spruce and dry, acidic upland black spruce-lichen forest ecosystems. Furthermore, although fire-ecological plant trait attributes of Hylocomium splendens and Vaccinium uliginosum vary with age and moisture gradients, the amount of intra-specific trait variation within a site could not be explained by stand age or moisture and thus forest resiliency is also likely independent of age and moisture gradients. Further research is necessary to explore both abiotic and biotic explanatory variables related to intra-specific plant trait variation to better understand variation in black spruce forest resiliency on the landscape. The results from this study can assist fire managers in the prediction of black spruce forest burning potential and its vulnerability to ecosystem shift post-fire.
    • Characterization of subsurface hydraulic conductivity along the proposed Alaska Gas Line Corridor using geophysical signatures

      Calvin, Peter A. (2010-12)
      "The objective of this research was to explore a cost-effective and non-invasive methodology to characterize spatial variability of hydraulic conductivity using airborne electromagnetic (AEM) signatures as an alternative to traditional techniques such as borehole sampling. The relationship of AEM measured apparent resistivity and magnetic field strength was explored using a small dataset that included 180 natural moisture (NM) content data and a total dataset of 546 grain size distributions that excluded the NM. The grain size distributions were used to develop soil indicator parameter and to estimate the hydraulic conductivity (K*) using pedo-transfer functions. Predictive models were developed using three techniques; artificial neural network regression (ANNR), support vector regression (SVR), and artificial neural network classification (ANNC). The sole use of non-invasive parameters to characterize K* proved insufficient. The inclusion of supplemental invasively collected parameters showed ANNR to best characterize the relationship (R² = 0.64) with the smaller dataset; while the SVR model performed best with the total dataset (R² = 0.57). ANNC was shown to be a viable alternative (overall accuracy = 88%) when broad characterization of K* was sufficient. This study lays out a methodology that could be used for future K* characterization using improved data set"--Leaf iii.
    • Characterizing the diet and population structure of lampreys Lethenteron spp. using molecular techniques

      Shink, Katie G.; López, Andrés; Murphy, James M. (2017-08)
      Lampreys contribute to the health of aquatic ecosystems and are targeted in both subsistence and commercial fisheries. Despite their ecological and commercial importance, the management and conservation of native lampreys have been largely overlooked. The goal of this study was to close current knowledge gaps of lamprey biology through the examination of Lethenteron spp. in Alaska. This study applied two molecular techniques, DNA metabarcoding and microsatellite genotyping, to (1) characterize the diet of marine-phase Arctic lamprey Lethenteron camtschaticum (N = 250) in the eastern Bering Sea and (2) investigate the population structure of larval lampreys Lethenteron spp. (N = 120) within and among three Yukon River tributaries. A combination of visual observations and DNA metabarcoding revealed the presence of diagnostic structures/tissues (i.e., eggs, fin[s], internal organs, otoliths, and vertebrae) and detected DNA sequences of ten ray-finned fishes in the diets of L. camtschaticum. The most frequent prey taxa were Pacific sand lance Ammodytes hexapterus, Pacific herring Clupea pallasii, gadids, and capelin Mallotus villosus. Five of the ten taxa identified in this study were reported for the first time as prey for L. camtschaticum. To investigate the genetic diversity of larval lampreys, a recognized knowledge gap for populations in Alaska, a total of 81 larval lampreys were successfully genotyped at all loci. Global FST of larvae was 0.074 (95% CI: 0.042 - 0.110), while pairwise FST values among the three localities examined ranged from 0.066 - 0.081. Hierarchical model-based Bayesian clustering analyses detected three genetic clusters (K = 3) among all larval lampreys and two genetic clusters (K = 2) among Chena River larvae; no further genetic clustering was identified within the remaining two tributaries. Estimates of contemporary gene flow indicated reciprocal migration among sites. The diet analyses indicated anadromous L. camtschaticum function as flesh-feeding predators that prey upon pelagic fishes in the eastern Bering Sea, while genetic analyses suggested that larval lamprey aggregations within three Yukon River tributaries exhibited higher levels of genetic diversity than are typically found among broad-ranging populations of anadromous lamprey species. Ultimately, this study highlighted the value of molecular techniques to improve our understanding of the biology of a poorly studied fish species in Alaska.
    • Cofiring coal and biomass at Aurora Power Plant in Fairbanks, Alaska

      Wright, Zackery; Huang, Daisy; Nicholls, David; Peterson, Rorik; Schnabel, William (2016-05)
      Biomass energy has been a topic of great interest over the previous few years in Alaska; especially when various fuel sources were priced at a record high. Interior Alaska has the potential to utilize woody biomass to offset the use of coal in many of its power generating facilities. In this study, woody biomass in the form of clean aspen (Populus tremuloides) chips was cofired with Usibelli coal at the Aurora Power Plant facility in downtown Fairbanks, Alaska. Biomass was successfully cofired at low average rates of 2.4% and 4.81% of total energy value. Combustion gasses were analyzed using measuring probes in the exhaust stack. The 2.4% biomass test saw, on average, an increase in CO and CO₂ by 95ppm and 2%, respectively. A decrease in NOx of 1ppm was observed. During the 4.81% biomass test, CO increased by 83ppm, NOx decreased by 18ppm, and CO decreased by 1%. Opacity increased by 0.1% during the 2.4% biomass test and 0.17% during the 4.81% biomass test. The challenges facing a small scale facility in Interior Alaska are also presented. The testing exemplified that the use of biomass in stoker/grate boilers in Alaska is technically feasible with relative ease. No technical barriers to cofiring at low levels on an on-going basis were found at the Aurora Power Plant and this conclusion would likely hold true at similar facilities in interior Alaska.
    • Controls on ecosystem respiration of carbon dioxide across a boreal wetland gradient in Interior Alaska

      McConnell, Nicole A.; McGuire, A. David; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Harden, Jennifer W. (2012-08)
      Permafrost and organic soil layers are common to most wetlands in interior Alaska, where wetlands have functioned as important long-term soil carbon sinks. Boreal wetlands are diverse in both vegetation and nutrient cycling, ranging from nutrient-poor bogs to nutrient- and vascular-rich fens. The goals of my study were to quantify growing season ecosystem respiration (ER) along a gradient of vegetation and permafrost in a boreal wetland complex, and to evaluate the main abiotic and biotic variables that regulate CO₂ release from boreal soils. Highest ER and root respiration were observed at a sedge/forb community and lowest ER and root respiration were observed at a neighboring rich fen community, even though the two fens had similar estimates of root biomass and vascular green area. Root respiration also contributed approximately 40% to ER at both fens. These results support the conclusion that high soil moisture and low redox potential may be limiting both heterotrophic and autotrophic respiration at the rich fen. This study suggests that interactions among soil environmental variables are important drivers of ER. Also, vegetation and its response to soil environment determines contributions from aboveground (leaves and shoots) and belowground (roots and moss) components, which vary among wetland gradient communities.
    • Controls on microbial processing of dissolved organic matter in boreal forest streams

      Schmidt, Marie; Jones, Jay; Harms, Tamara; Guerard, Jennifer (2020-05)
      In the boreal forest, permafrost thaw is resulting in changes in vegetation and deepening of watershed flowpaths. Caribou-Poker Creeks Research Watershed contains sub-catchments underlain with varying permafrost extents (4-53% cover), providing the opportunity to study how permafrost extent affects water chemistry and nutrient cycling. I measured nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and carbon (C) processing ectoenzyme activity in the water column and sediment of headwater streams, and related ectoenzyme activity to nutrient and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration. Additionally, I used nutrient diffusing substrata (NDS) to grow biofilms with enhanced inorganic N and P and labile C alone and in combination and measured ectoenzyme activity and respiration of biofilms in response to resource amendments. High P-processing enzyme activity across streams of the CPCRW indicated microbial P limitation. Respiration and organic matter processing enzymes of biofilms grown on NDS increased with labile C or labile C in combination with nutrient additions, implying that labile C limited or co-limited rates of DOM processing. Our results suggest that as climate warming and subsequent permafrost thaw alters terrestrial inputs of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and inorganic nutrients into streams, changes in inorganic P and labile C availability will control microbial processing of DOM.
    • Crop modeling to assess the impact of climate change on spring wheat growth in sub-Arctic Alaska

      Harvey, Stephen K.; Zhang, Mingchu; Karlsson, Meriam; Fochesatto, Gilberto (2019-05)
      In the sub-arctic region of Interior Alaska, warmer temperatures and a longer growing season caused by climate change could make spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) a more viable crop. In this study, a crop model was utilized to simulate the growth of spring wheat in future climate change scenarios RCP4.5 (medium-low emission) and RCP8.5 (high emission) of Fairbanks, Alaska. In order to fulfill such simulation, in 2018 high quality crop growth datasets were collected at the Fairbanks and Matanuska Valley Experiment Farms and along with historic variety trial data, the crop model was calibrated and validated for simulating days to maturity (emergence to physiological maturity) and yield of spring wheat in Fairbanks. In the Fairbanks 1989-2018 (baseline) climate, growing season (planting to physiological maturity) average temperature and total precipitation are 15.6° C and 122 mm, respectively. In RCP4.5 2020-2049 (2035s), 2050-2079 (2065s), and 2080-2099 (2090s) projected growing season average temperature and total precipitation are 16.7° C, 17.4° C, 17.8° C and 120 mm, 112 mm, 112 mm, respectively. In RCP8.5 2035s, 2065s, and 2090s projected growing season average temperature and total precipitation are 16.8° C, 18.5° C, 19.5° C and 120 mm, 113 mm, 117 mm, respectively. Using Ingal, an Alaskan spring wheat, the model simulated days to maturity and yield in baseline and projected climate scenarios of Fairbanks, Alaska. Baseline days to maturity were 69 and yield was 1991 kg ha-1. In RCP4.5 2035s, 2065s, and 2090s days to maturity decreased to 64, 62, 60 days, respectively, and yield decreased 2%, 6%, 8%, respectively. In RCP8.5 2035s, 2065s, and 2090s days to maturity decreased to 64, 58, 55 days, respectively, and yield decreased 1%, 3%, then increased 1%, respectively. Adaptation by cultivar modification to have a growing degree day requirement of 68 days to maturity in RCP4.5 2035s and RCP8.5 2035s resulted in increased yields of 4% and 5%, respectively. Climatic parameters of temperature and precipitation per growing season day are projected to become more favorable to the growth of spring wheat. However, precipitation deficit, an indicator of water stress was found to stay similar to the baseline climate. Without adaption, days to maturity and yield are projected to decrease. Selection and/or breeding of spring wheat varieties to maintain baseline days to maturity are a priority to materialize yield increases in the area of Fairbanks, Alaska.
    • Development of a parameterization for mesoscale hydrological modeling and application to landscape and climate change in the Interior Alaska boreal forest ecosystem

      Endalamaw, Abraham Melesse; Bolton, William R.; Young-Robertson, Jessica M.; Hinzman, Larry; Morton, Donald; Mölders, Nicole; Fochesatto, G. Javier (2017-08)
      The Interior Alaska boreal forest ecosystem is one of the largest ecosystems on Earth and lies between the warmer southerly temperate and colder Arctic regions. The ecosystem is underlain by discontinuous permafrost. The presence or absence of permafrost primarily controls water pathways and ecosystem composition. As a result, the region hosts two distinct ecotypes that transition over a very short spatial scale - often on the order of meters. Accurate mesoscale hydrological modeling of the region is critical as the region is experiencing unprecedented ecological and hydrological changes that have regional and global implications. However, accurate representation of the landscape heterogeneity and mesoscale hydrological processes has remained a big challenge. This study addressed this challenge by developing a simple landscape model from the hill-slope studies and in situ measurements over the past several decades. The new approach improves the mesoscale prediction of several hydrological processes including streamflow and evapotranspiration (ET). The impact of climate induced landscape change under a changing climate is also investigated. In the projected climate scenario, Interior Alaska is projected to undergo a major landscape shift including transitioning from a coniferous-dominated to deciduous-dominated ecosystem and from discontinuous permafrost to either a sporadic or isolated permafrost region. This major landscape shift is predicted to have a larger and complex impact in the predicted runoff, evapotranspiration, and moisture deficit (precipitation minus evapotranspiration). Overall, a large increase in runoff, evapotranspiration, and moisture deficit is predicted under future climate. Most hydrological climate change impact studies do not usually include the projected change in landscape into the model. In this study, we found that ignoring the projected ecosystem change could lead to an inaccurate conclusion. Hence, climate-induced vegetation and permafrost changes must be considered in order to fully account for the changes in hydrology.
    • Discovering Alaska's Interior: a historical geography of the 1885 Allen Expedition

      Vander Lugt, Russell W. (2010-05)
      "This thesis examines the geography and history of interior Alaska by tracing the route of Henry Allen's 1885 expedition and evaluating Alaska's physiography from both Clyde Wahrhaftig's and Allen's perspectives. Since the U.S. Army took a leading role in Alaska's era of exploration during the late nineteenth century, specific insights are drawn from Lieutenant Allen's expedition and its context within early Russian and American exploration to interpret the historical geography of Alaska. The purpose of this monograph., however, is more comprehensive than merely tracing Allen's expedition or Wahrhaftig's classification. This study's measure of success will be the extent to which the author's research illuminates the regional geography and history of America's 49th state, interprets Allen's geographic exploration within Wahrhaftig's physiographic framework, cultivates public interest with regard to the Allen expedition, and stimulates further research in fields related to Alaska's cultural landscape"--Leaf iii
    • Distribution of hunter groups and environmental effects on moose harvest in Interior Alaska

      Hasbrouck, Tessa R.; Brinkman, Todd; Stout, Glenn; Kielland, Knut (2018-12)
      Moose (Alces alces) is one of the most valuable wild game resources in Interior Alaska. In recent years, residents of rural indigenous communities have expressed concern that climate change and competition from non-local hunters are challenging local moose harvest opportunities. I collaborated with wildlife agencies and village tribal councils to co-design two studies to address rural community hunter concerns. The first study assessed the spatial and temporal distribution of local and non-local hunter groups to examine areas of potential competition. The second study addressed changing environmental factors and their impacts on moose harvest. Although competition among local hunters or among non-local hunters certainly occurs, competition between local and non-local hunters, or between resident and non-resident hunters is a more common and reoccurring issue. Local hunters are those who hunt in the area in which they reside whereas non-local hunters travel away from the area they reside to hunt. I assessed hunting patterns by local and non-local hunters in a remote hunting region near the interior villages of Koyukuk and Nulato to quantify moose harvest overlap between these two user groups to assess potential competition. I used Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) moose harvest records to develop a relative competition index that identified locations and time periods within the hunting season where the greatest overlap occurred from 2000-2016. I determined that the highest competition occurred between 16-20 September (i.e., peak harvest period) and was concentrated predominantly along major rivers. To decrease overlap and mitigate potential competition between hunter groups we recommend providing information on competition hotspots to hunters, or lifting the no-fly regulation in the Koyukuk Controlled Use Area with the caveat that hunting with the use of aircraft must occur 1.6 km from the Koyukuk River corridor. These actions may provide hunters information on how to re-distribute themselves across the landscape and allow hunters to use areas away from rivers, where most harvest currently occurs. Additionally, climate change and seasonal variability have anecdotally been documented to impact moose hunting opportunities. Specifically, warm temperatures, delayed leaf drop, and fluctuating water levels are concerns expressed by some local hunters. I quantified changes in temperature, leaf drop, and water level near Koyukuk and Nulato and the subsequent relationships between these environmental variables and the total number of moose harvested using linear regression models. I used temperature data, gauging station data (i.e., water level), remote sensing data (i.e., leaf drop analysis), and ADFG moose harvest records and explored previously untested hypotheses and to quantify relationships from 2000-2016. I concluded that non-local hunter harvest success was more dependent than local harvest success on environmental conditions. Non-local harvest significantly increased with higher water levels from 6-10 Sept (p=0.02), 11-15 Sept (p=0.02), and 16-20 Sept (p<0.01), and decreased with warmer temperatures in the same three time periods (p<0.01, p=0.02, p<0.01, respectively). Local harvest increased with higher water levels from 16-20 Sept (p<0.01). These results quantitatively show that environmental factors do impact hunter success. I speculate that local hunter harvest success is less dependent on environmental variability because they have the ability to harvest opportunistically, rely more heavily on the resource, and reside near the hunting area. This ability to opportunistically hunt and adapt may give them an advantage over non-local hunters as environmental conditions shift with climate change.
    • An evaluation of GPR techniques for analyzing the safety of Interior Alaskan ice roads under varying river ice and environmental conditions

      Richards, Elizabeth M.; Stuefer, Svetlana; Maio, Chris; Belz, Nathan; Daanen, Ronald (2021-05)
      Ice roads and bridges are necessary routes to transport heavy equipment, supplies and food in the winter months to and from isolated cold region communities off the road system. Ice roads allow for community members to avoid the high costs of air shipments and obtain equipment and vehicles that would otherwise not be available. These ice roads traverse frozen bodies of water (e.g., rivers, estuaries, and lakes), and require extreme safety when driving over. To achieve this, calculations are frequently completed to determine the maximum acceptable loading on the ice cover. River ice tends to have increased safety concerns and uncertainty for travel that stem from warmer air temperatures and other factors such as precipitation, snow drifting, and ice cover forming differently each year. The necessity of obtaining time intensive ice thickness measurements by hand puts the responsible personnel at considerable risk of injury or fatality. Ground penetrating radar (GPR), which has gained much popularity in the last few decades, is a quicker and more effective non-invasive method for measuring ice thickness and other properties. The GPR system was tested for its accuracy in measuring ice thickness on common transportation routes on the Yukon River and the Tanana River. Identification of varying ice type layers in river ice cover using GPR was also attempted. While layers could not be identified using the 450 MHz and 750 MHz central frequency antennas, an accuracy analysis of GPR ice thickness measurements under various environmental conditions was completed. This analysis contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the safety of ice roads for community members in remote northern villages and provides the basis for further research on identifying layers in river ice cover.
    • Geochemical, spatial, and temporal relationships of the intrusives and meta-intrusives of the Pogo deposit, eastern Interior, AK

      Thompson, William D.; Newberry, Rainer; Keskinen, Mary; Mezger, Jochen (2020-12)
      The Pogo deposit is an intrusion-related gold deposit (IRGD) located approximately 90 km southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska. It consists mainly of shallowly NW dipping quartz veins hosted in amphibolite facies paragneiss and predominately granite orthogneiss bodies. To date the deposit has produced over 4 million ounces of gold. U-Pb zircon dating of the orthogneisses shows they have Devonian-Mississippian protolith ages. Dates from the metamorphic zircons, established by microprobe Th data and cathodoluminescence studies, constrain a mid-Cretaceous metamorphic event to ~116 Ma. Recrystallization of kyanite to sillimanite and zircon recrystallization indicates this was a large fluid flux event that predated mineralization by 10 million years. Due to the fine-grained nature of the intrusive rocks at Pogo, identifying rocks in hand sample proved problematic. By combining XRF analysis of the rocks' major and trace elements and age data from this and previous studies, I identified and differentiated several suites of igneous rocks. The oldest is peraluminous granite, emplaced at ~2.5 ± 0.5 kb at ~109-107 Ma, predating mineralization at 104 Ma at a pressure of 2.0 kb. Non-peraluminous granite is less common and of uncertain relationship to the peraluminous granite. Next, temporally, is a body named the Football pluton (and associated dike) of granodioritic to tonalitic composition, emplaced at 2.0 ± 0.5 kb at 103 ± 2 Ma. Not only indistinguishable from age and depth of mineralization, a dike of this body is present downdip underneath the Liese veins (main zone of mineralization), making it the most likely candidate for being the causative pluton for mineralization. The final mid-Cretaceous body is the Liese pluton (and associated dikes), of quartz diorite to tonalite. This forms a large body with E-W dikes cutting the Pogo mineralization and post-dating it at 95.4 ± 0.2 Ma, emplaced at a pressure of 1.0 kb. Thermobarometry and radiometric dating indicate a consistent uplift rate of about 0.6 mm/year during the mid-Cretaceous, 116 to 95 Ma. Initially an extensional event, subduction-related magmatism began at about 105 Ma. At the same time, the thrust faults were re-activated as low angle normal faults that apparently acted as pathways for the Liese mineralization.
    • Glacier contribution to lowland streamflow: a multi-year, geochemical hydrograph separation study in sub-Arctic Alaska

      Gatesman, Tiffany A.; Trainor, Thomas P.; Liljedahl, Anna K.; Douglas, Thomas A. (2017-12)
      Glacier melt affects the geochemical composition of rivers; however, quantifying the glacier contribution to subarctic watershed-scale runoff has attracted limited attention. To estimate glacier contribution, we conducted a 6-year geochemical hydrograph separation study in a geologically heterogeneous glacierized watershed in Interior Alaska. Water samples were collected daily from Jarvis Creek during late April through September. Source waters were collected synoptically each year from rain, snow, baseflow (winter discharge), and the glacier terminus discharge. All samples were analyzed for stable water isotopes and dissolved ion concentrations. Stream surface water samples have large seasonal and inter-annual geochemical variation, however, source waters show distinct chemical signatures allowing the application of a geochemical hydrograph separation model to quantify relative source contribution to lowland streamflow. Considerable inter-annual differences within source water signatures emphasize the importance in informing the model with source waters sampled for each season. We estimated a seasonal average of 35% (20 to 44%) glacier terminus discharge contribution with a daily range of 2 (May) to 80% (September). If glacier contribution was to cease completely, stream discharge would be reduced by 48% and 22% in low and high rainfall summers, respectively. Combined with the documented shrinkage of glaciers, our findings emphasizes the need for further research on glacial wastage effect on subarctic watersheds.
    • Host-parasite ecophysiology of overwintering

      Larson, Don J.; Barnes, Brian; O'Hara, Todd; Sikes, Derek; Wipfli, Mark (2019-12)
      To survive extreme winters, parasites must overwinter either in a host, as free-living larvae, or be reintroduced yearly through migratory hosts. This thesis examines interrelations between host parasite overwintering physiology and behavior in Alaska between the trematode Ribeiroia ondatrae and their host, wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus). The first chapter examines overwintering physiology and behavior of wood frogs in the field. The second chapter creates a laboratory method for determining physiological responses of wood frogs to environmental transitions from summer to fall. The third chapter examines if and how R. ondatrae survive within a frozen wood frog. Free-living wood frogs investigated over two winters in Fairbanks, AK remained frozen for up to 7 months and survived temperatures as low as -18°C, values much more extreme than those previously reported (Chapter 1). Alaskan wood frogs also synthesized and released approximately one order of magnitude greater concentrations of cryoprotectant (glucose) in multiple tissues than levels previously reported. Wood frogs in the field did not experience the same slow and continuous cooling that researchers routinely subject frogs to under experimental conditions. Instead they cooled at rates of up to -1.5°C h⁻¹ for short periods in a diurnal freeze-thaw pattern repeated over one to three weeks until remaining frozen for the rest of winter. Since wood frogs only produce glucose at the initiation of freezing, I hypothesized that freeze-thaw cycling within hibernacula allowed for incremental increases of glucose resulting in higher concentrations in field wood frogs than found in laboratory frozen wood frogs. I compared patterns of diurnal freeze-thaw cycling with the standard laboratory freezing protocols for wood frogs. Wood frogs that experienced multiple freeze-thaw events responded with significant increases in glucose concentration in liver, leg, and heart tissues at each freezing with no significant losses in glucose with each following thaw period (Chapter 2). This incremental increase in glucose within wood frogs may also assist in parasite survival. Trematode metacercariae may be absorbing host glucose and using this cryoprotectant to enhance their survival (Chapter 3). This result provides evidence that host physiology in winter may both hinder (through freezing) and facilitate (through cryoprotectant production) parasite survival.
    • How aspen tree height influences aspen leaf miner (Phyllocnistis populiella) oviposition and performance

      Tundo, Giovanni; Doak, Pat; Wagner, Diane; Breed, Greg (2021-05)
      Under the optimal oviposition theory, insects are expected to lay eggs on hosts that maximize the success of their offspring. Tree height is known to be an important factor influencing the distribution of phytophagous insects because some species perform better at a distinct range of heights. This difference in performance could lead to incorrect estimates of population parameters if surveys are only conducted on one host plant height. Aspen leaf miners (Phyllocnistis populiella) have undergone a major outbreak in interior Alaska over the last two decades. We quantified patterns of aspen leaf miner oviposition and juvenile survival over 2 years and found that aspen leaf miners were approximately 1.5 times more likely to survive on tall trees than short trees. Parasitism and both egg and larval predation were lower on tall trees. Aspen leaf miners on tall trees also had larger pupal masses than those on short trees. Although aspen leaf miners performed better on tall trees, the number of eggs laid per leaf did not significantly differ by tree height. There were no significant differences in leaf foliar nitrogen between tall and short trees. We also found little differences in wind speed between tall and short trees that could explain ovipositional patterns. Ovipositional patterns may partially reflect the difference in phenology between tall and short aspen trees. Aspen leaf miners only lay eggs on new leaves. Tall aspen trees leafed out 7 days earlier on average than short aspen trees, and tall trees, unlike short trees, ceased to produce new leaves after budburst. Consequently, there was little overlap in the availability of tall and short aspen trees for oviposition, so even if aspen leaf miners have a preference for laying more eggs on tall than short trees, they can only act on it during the short time period when tall trees are available for oviposition. The results suggest that population projections based on data collected from only short trees may underestimate future aspen leaf miner population growth due to lower juvenile survival rates and pupal masses on short trees. More broadly, the results highlight the importance of examining multiple tree heights when studying the performance and population dynamics of phytophagous insects. They also suggest that phenological differences between plants may constrain insects from using higher quality hosts.
    • Impacts of cover cropping and tillage on weed populations and soil nutrients in a sub-Arctic environment

      Carr, Erin L.; Zhang, Mingchu; Seefeldt, Steven; Sparrow, Stephen (2021-08)
      One of the biggest challenges for organic crop and vegetable producers is weed control. Traditional practices, such as cover cropping and tilling, aid in controlling weeds on fallow land. However, both methods can impact soil nutrient availability. For producers in sub-Arctic regions with a limited growing season, such as interior Alaska, these practices would remove valuable farm land from production for at least a year and potentially impact soil nutrients. The objective of this study was to determine cover cropping and tilling intervals that would reduce weed seedbank size without negatively influencing soil nutrient availability and taking land out of production for multiple growing seasons. A two year (2008 and 2009) study at two interior Alaska farms (UAF-AFES and Rosie Creek) measured weed density, weed seedbank size, and extractable macro and micro soil nutrients at two soil depths (0-15 cm, 15-30 cm) among seven treatments: continuous tillage (TILL), continuous cover crop (CC), tillage + middle season cover crop (TC), and cover crop + middle season tillage (CT). Two species, Hordeum vulgare L. (Albright barley) and Pisum sativum subsp. Arvense (Austrian winter field peas) were planted as cover crops. Field weed estimates were measured prior to treatment applications (tillage or planting) followed by soil core samples post treatment for weed seedbank analysis. Soil cores were collected for soil nutrient analysis at the beginning, middle and end of the growing season. In 2008 at UAF-AFES, weed density among treatments were different mid-season (p<0.05) and the subsequent growing season (p<0.05), TILL and TC treatments reduced weed populations. Weed seedbank size was different among treatments the subsequent growing season (p<0.05). In 2008 at Rosie Creek, only the subsequent growing season were there differences among treatments (p<0.05). In 2009 both study sites had no differences among treatments at any sample period. Extractable soil nutrients varied among location, year and soil depth. The highest concentrations of nitrate (NO₃-N) were measured in the tillage treatments and the lowest concentrations of NO₃-N were measured in the cover crop barley treatments (p<0.05). The research suggested that continuous tillage and tilling through the first half of the growing season has a greater impact on reducing the weed population, but can impact soil nitrate concentrations. Producers may be able to till and cover crop within one growing season, but this is highly dependent on weed density and there may be a loss of soil available nutrients for subsequent crops.
    • Investigating controls over methane production and bubbling from Interior Alaskan lakes using stable isotopes and radiocarbon ages

      Brosius, Laura S. (2010-05)
      "Large uncertainties in first-order estimates of the magnitude of CH₄ emissions from lakes (global lakes: 8-48 Tg CH₄ yr⁻¹ Bastviken et al. 2004) result from variation in ebullition (bubbling) rates between and within lakes. Based on a comparison of two interior Alaska thermokarst lakes, I suggest that variation in CH₄ ebullition observed within and between lakes can be explained by a few key differences in substrate quality and sediment density. Killarney Lake, which has a 130 cm-thick modern sediment package, emitted 120 mg CH₄ M⁻² day⁻¹ produced from a mixture of modern C and permafrost C sources, while Goldstream Lake, a younger lake with only 2-5 cm of modern lake sediment, emitted more CH₄ (183 mg CH₄ M⁻² day⁻¹) produced mostly from thawed permafrost. Incubated thawed permafrost supported production of substantially more CH₄ (0.25 ± 0.04 mg CH₄ g TC⁻¹ d⁻¹) than did taberal lake sediments (0.08 ± 0.02 mg CH₄ g TC⁻¹ d⁻¹). Together, these lines of evidence support the importance of permafrost C availability as control on CH₄ production and bubbling in thermokarst lakes. Stable isotope and radiocarbon values of contemporary interior Alaska thermokarst lake CH₄ emissions reported in this study could help constrain contributions of thermokarst lakes to the global atmospheric CH₄ budget. I show here that methanogens in close proximity to thermokarst utilized pore water derived from melted permafrost ice as a hydrogen source, and that [delta]DCH₄ values reflected ancient [delta]D of precipitation. [Delta]DCH₄ values from Alaskan thermokarst lakes were less-depleted than [delta]DCH₄ values from Siberian lakes. Thus, thermokarst lake contributions to early Holocene atmospheric CH₄ concentrations were likely higher than originally thought"--Leaf iii