Recent Submissions

  • Frequency-Based Monitoring of Small-Scale Explosive Volcanic Activity

    Worden, Anna K. (2012)
    Strombolian activity is one of the most common types of volcanic activity. When this activity occurs at remote volcanoes it often goes undetected and cannot be monitored easily or safely by direct methods. Satellite remote sensing can be useful in the routine monitoring of this activity. Numerous remote volcanoes in the North Paci c exhibit Strombolian activity, often as a precursor to more vigorous activity which can a ect communities and transportation. Factors a ecting the visibility the explosions include satellite and crater geometry, time of image capture, and most importantly, weather. These factors eliminate a signi cant number of satellite passes. The remaining passes are used to calculate the probability of a clear view at the volcano and the likelihood of detecting an explosion. All of these factors are used to detect changes in relative frequency of explosions.
  • Characterizing Transitioning in Chaotic Models

    Winkelman, A (2012)
    In order to understand how complicated physical systems behave, we study idealized systems instead and interpret the qualitative behavior. In order to understand how non-linear, chaotic systems transition into new parameter sets, we characterize the distribution of dynamical points over the manifold of trajectories (also known as the “strange attractor”) for the Lorenz model under two regimes. We consider the effects of variation of just one of the three parameters of the Lorenz model. First, we establish measures of shape of the distribution over the manifold for a range of static values of that parameter. Then, the same measures of shape are calculated for the trajectory that results when a parameter is ramped linearly in time. Statistical comparison of these distributions will be used to describe the evolution of the attractor. This simple model can illustrate how such non-linear, chaotic systems behave when the parameters of the system vary.
  • The Flight of the Black Wolf Squadron

    Widman, Benjamin (2012)
    By 1920, Alaska became economically, politically, and socially stale. Aviation brought a need revitalization to the territory. The Black Wolf Squadron's flight from New York to Nome brought international attention and promised new industries and commercial opportunities. The flight of the Black Squadron would begin a new era for Alaska, the era of aviation.
  • Kern Canyon Fault Quartz Piezometry and Thermometry: How Weak are Rocks in a Deep Fault?

    Tsigonis, Rebekah (2012)
    This project is an investigation of the strength of rocks from 10-25 kilometers depth in the Kern Canyon Fault in the Sierra Nevada. When this fault was active, it behaved similarly to the San Andreas Fault in California and the Denali Fault here in Alaska. Deep sections of this ancient fault were brought to the surface of the Earth through erosion. Using a method known as piezometry, I was able to measure the sizes of deformed quartz grains in rock samples, which inversely relates to the amount of stress that the rocks experienced during faulting. I also used a technique known as titanium-in-quartz thermometry (TitaniQ) to determine the temperature of the rocks during faulting deformation episodes. Via the Electron Microprobe in the Analytical Facility at UAF, I was able to measure the amount of titanium present in the deformed quartz grains which directly correlates to the temperature at which these crystals formed. In combining the calculations for stress and temperature of deformation, the strain rate exhibited on these rocks was determined which is used to better understand how weak or strong rocks are at different depths within fault zones.
  • Identifying raphé respiratory chemosensory amplifiers in situ.

    Tallan, Hannah (2012)
    Activity of CO2–stimulated rat medullary raphé RCA interneurons is mediated by intra-network inputs from serotonergic and GABAergic neurons.
  • Central CO2/pH Chemosensitivity Influence on Respiration in both Early and Late Staged Tadpoles

    Tackett, Alex (2012)
    We test the hypothesis that central respiratory CO2/pH chemosensitivity, recorded from isolated brainstems, remains consistent throughout tadpole development. Results indicate that tadpoles at all developmental stages respond to CO2/pH, and that the sensitivity of these responses does not change with development.
  • Rural Telemedicine in Alaska: A Look at Healthcare Through Telecommunications

    Stephens, Ethan (2012)
    •An average town in the United States will have a basic medical facility capable of treating its patients. If not, there is roadway access to a capable facility. •In Rural Alaska however, there is no way to drive to the nearest hospital. These communities are not connected to the major road system and the only way to reach a hospital is by air transport. •Although many villages have access to hub communities that maintain a clinic, the clinic may not have the capabilities to treat certain ailments and many villages have no access to a medical facility. •Providing adequate medical care for Rural Alaskans is difficult due particularly to the size of Alaska, the geographic isolation of many villages, and to the cost of transportation to these rural areas. •The most serious healthcare issues that have been seen in Rural Alaska are “too few physicians or services and [health] care is too expensive,” (Hagopian et al, 2000). •In hopes of overcoming these obstacles in rural medicine, many organizations initiated telemedicine and telehealth programs.
  • Remote Sensing Risk Assessment of Valdez Glacier Lake

    Soederstroem, Erik (2012)
    Can remote sensing techniques be used to determine the probability of an outburst from the Valdez Glacier Lake, and to detect downstream areas affected by a possible glacier lake outburst flood?
  • The Use of Consumer Electronics as a Medium for Music Composition

    Shannon, Dean (2012)
    The Nintendo Entertainment System produces sound through the Ricoh 2z03 microprocessor. This 8-bit processor is limited to creating two square-waves, a triangle-wave, and a noise track. While the 2a03 is limited, it is what gives the NES its distinctive and memorable sound.
  • Glucose Transporter 4 Expression in White Blood Cells of Young and Old Sled Dogs

    Schnurr, Theresia (2012)
    Obesity has reached alarming levels in the United States Recent statistics show that 1 out of 3 individuals are either obese or overweight! The principle role of the hormone insulin is to mediate the redistribution of the glucose transporter- 4 (Glut4) from an intracellular vesicle pool into plasma membranes of insulin-responsive tissues and thus regulating the uptake of glucose. Insulin resistance is characterized by an inability of cells to respond to insulin upon stimulation with glucose and presents as an important risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Glut4 is the only glucose transporter responsive to insulin and is thought to be found exclusively in muscle an adipose cells. But recently, Maratou et al (2007) demonstrated that there is Glut4 in white blood cells (WBC)collected from human subjects in response to insulin activation. Dogs have been used as a proven biomedical research model for diabetes for over a century since dogs develop insulin dependent and independent forms of diabetes similar to humans. Sled dogs are incredible athletes that provide a homogenous population for studying environmental impacts such as nutrition and exercise on blood parameters. The goal of this study was to 1) develop a protocol to measure Glut4 in white blood cells of sled dogs and 2) compare Glut4 levels in young versus old sled dogs assuming that old sled dogs are at higher risk of diabetes.
  • Attitudes, Knowledge, and Beliefs on Cancer and its Prevention in Northwestern Rural Alaska

    Schmidt, Jenna (2012)
    Rural Alaskans face unique challenges in accessibility. Most villages and cities are not connected to road systems, limiting travel between rural and urban areas. This also limits connectivity between small communities. Residents rely heavily on air travel. The accessibility of health care and education is limited due to geographical isolation of communities (State of Alaska, 2006). The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (2009) cites cancer as the leading cause of death in Alaska since 1993. Early detection and treatment is key as it reduces the risk of mortality due to different forms of cancer. Accessibility of cancer education, screening, treatment, and other needs are restricted by cost and the availability of transportation (State of Alaska, 2006). This study aims to provide regionally relevant information focusing on current Northwestern rural Alaskan knowledge, beliefs, and perspectives on cancer and its prevention. Assessment of these topics will provide useful information to rural Alaskan health care providers. The information can be used by these providers to focus their resources toward needed areas. This can help in the provision of a tailored health education approach, which may increase effectiveness of educational communication to each distinct community.
  • Characterization of ibogaine analogs on the hα3β4 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.

    Ross, Jordan (2012)
    Nicotine addiction is a global health problem that affects nearly one-third of the population. Animal models have shown that the beta-4 subunit of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) expressed in the habenulointerpeduncular pathway plays a particularly important role in modulating many of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal in mice. Ibogaine, a naturally occurring compound extracted from the root bark of a West African shrub, has been shown to reduce drug self administration in animal models of addiction. Ibogaine is considered to be a dirty drug due to its nonspecific interaction at a variety of receptor subtypes. This “nonspecificity” contributes to its hallucinogenic, tremorigenic, and cardiovascular compromising properties. It is thought that the anti-addictive effects of ibogaine are due to its antagonism of the α3β4 nAChR. In this study we explore the interaction of ibogaine on the α3β4 nAChR with the hope of developing more selective, more effective therapeutics in the treatment of addiction.
  • The Origins of Post-eruption Insect Populations on the Aleutian Island of Kasatochi

    Sikes, Derek S.; Ridling, Sayde (2012)
    This project compares the dispersal and/or survival ability of insects on the recently erupted volcanic Aleutian Island of Kasatochi. The island erupted in 2008, two months after the island had been briefly surveyed for terrestrial arthropods. Having pre-eruption specimens provides biologists with a unique and rare perspective of island ecosystem assembly. We have analyzed the DNA of 47 pre- and post- eruption Scathophaga sp. specimens to determine the origins of post-eruption insect populations. This genetic work is especially important for the Aleutians arthropods because they are among the most understudied in the United States.
  • Microsatellite loci among Alaskan rabies hosts: Arctic and red fox

    Renshaw, Ben (2012)
    Little is known about the population dynamics between Arctic and red foxes in Alaska and consequences for rabies ecology. Both species carry different variants of rabies and inhabit different environments. As the global warming trends progress, the Arctic and red fox will have increased habitat overlap due to northward range expansion of the red fox into the historic habitat of the Arctic fox. Hypothesis: global warming trends will significantly influence the disease dynamics between red and Arctic foxes as well as their roles in disease dynamics in the far North. In order to better survey the movement of the variants of rabies among Arctic and red fox, microsatellites will be used to assess population structure of these host species.
  • Superoxide Dismutase Activity within Caribou Serum as an Indicator of Copper Status

    Pauling, Cassandra (2012)
    Copper concentrations measured in liver are the gold standard for evaluating the copper status of ruminants. For live ruminants, measuring copper status is problematic because serum copper concentrations fluctuate and are not consistently correlated to liver copper values. In an attempt to establish an accurate evaluation of copper status from serum in caribou, we examined the correlation between liver copper concentrations and superoxide dismutase (SOD), which uses the oxidation and reduction reactions of a bound copper ion in order to catalyze superoxide radicals. Our study focuses on SOD activity in the serum of 16 individual adult female caribou and compares that to known copper levels within the liver. Determining copper levels in ruminants has proven difficult and currently a true proxy to determine liver copper levels in a live animal is unknown.
  • Identifying Morphological and Functional Changes in a Caenorhabditis elegans Neuronal Aging Model of Huntington’s Disease

    Parker, Cyrena (2012)
    • Evaluate the effects of aging on neuronal morphology and gentle touch response in a C. elegans model of Huntington's disease • Establish that our RNAi method in our two genetic strains, Huntington’s disease model ID1 and control ID245, is selective and specific in silencing targeted genes in neurons
  • Growth Response of White Spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss] in Denali National Park under Warming Climate

    Bret-Harte, Syndonia; Okano, Kyoko (2012)
    In subarctic mountains such as Denali National Park and Preserve(DNP), vegetation shifts from alpine tundra to boreal forests caused by recent climate change are a potential threat to plant conservation and indirectly to animal habits and diversity, which could affect the experience of visitors who wish to see wildlife.  The growth rate of Picea glauca (white spruce) could decrease by climate change due to drought stress, which might lead to species elimination.  The shift of P. glauca towards a higher elevation would require its seedlings not only to adapt to new abiotic harsh conditions, but also to compete with other plant species that are already present.

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