• The effect of nutritional stress and life history on the rate of telomere loss in black-legged kittiwake and red-legged kittiwake chicks

      Johnson, Lara (2012)
      Slow-track species such as the red-legged kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris) and fast-track species such as the black-legged kittiwake (R. tridactyla) respond differently to environmental pressures. We examined how nutritional stress may affect the rate of telomere loss, a proxy for life expectancy, in these two seabirds. We did not find a significant effect of nutrition on telomere dynamics. However, there was a difference in species effect, with black-legged kittiwakes having an increase and red-legged kittiwakes a decrease in telomere length. This result may reflect differences in life history.
    • Effects of Ichythyophonus on Chinook Salmon Reproductive Success in the Yukon River Draining

      Floyd, Theresa (2012)
      Ichthyophonus hoferi is a parasitic protozoan affecting marine and anadromous fishes, including salmonids (Kocan et al. 2004). Gross clinical signs associated with Ichthyophonus infection are multifocal white lesions on the heart, liver, spleen, and muscle tissue (Fig. 2 A, B). Ichthyophonus is likely an orally transmitted parasite with the potential to be horizontally transferred (Kocan et al. 2010). In the mid 1980’s Ichthyophonus was identified in Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after fishermen noted an increase of white pustules on heart and muscle of harvested Chinook salmon. Fishermen also noted that the flesh did not dry properly and had an unpleasant fruity smell (Kocan et al. 2004). Large scale necrosis in tissues can lead to organ failure, decreased stamina, and pre-spawning mortality (Kocan et al. 2006). Ichthyophonus has caused major reoccurring epizootics and mass die-offs in Atlantic herring, (Clupea harengus), with peaks of disease prevalence in June and November (Kramer-Schadt et al. 2010). Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) infected with Ichthyophonus showed significant reduction in hematocrit pointing to reduced swimming performance (Rand and Cone 1990). In recent years, Chinook salmon stocks of Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region (AYK) have had low abundance and salmon returns did not hold up to pre-season expectations based on escapement in the corresponding brood years (JTC 2011). In response, fisheries managers cancelled or restricted commercial, subsistence, and sport fishing since 2008. These actions harshly impacted U.S. subsistence fisheries along the Yukon River, but succeeded in the interim management escapement goals into Canada as part of the Pacific Salmon Treaty between the U.S. and Canada. Yukon River Chinook salmon are undergoing one of the longest salmon migrations in the world. They must acquire considerable energy reserves before river entry to energetically prepare for this effort. Rahimian (1998) noted an association of ichthyophoniasis with reduced fish body reserves and emaciation thus complicating successful completion of the spawning migration. Okamoto et al. (1987) showed a positive relationship between Ichthyophonus-related mortality and water temperature with 100% mortality occurring at 15°C to 20°C in rainbow trout. Similarly, Kocan et al. (2009) showed significantly reduced swimming performance in Ichthyophonus-infected rainbow trout at 15°C to 20°C. In-river conditions in the Yukon River have changed over the past 30 years, with June water temperatures having increased by approximately 2.5ºC (Horstmann-Dehn unpublished data).
    • Energy Saving Potential of Idle Pacman Supercomputing Nodes

      Lower, Brahm (2012)
      To determine the energy saving potential of suspending idle supercomputing nodes without sacrificing efficiency, my research involved the setup of a compute node power usage monitoring system. This system measures how much power each node draws at its diff erent levels of operation using an automated Expect script. The script automates tasks with interactive command line interfaces, to perform the power measurement readings. Steps required for the power usage monitoring system include remotely logging into the Pacman Penguin compute cluster power distribution units (PDUs), feeding commands to the PDUs, and storing the returned data. Using a Python script the data is then parsed into a more coherent format and written to a common file format for analysis. With this system, the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center (ARSC) will be able to determine how much energy is used during diff erent levels of load intensity on the Pacman supercomputer and how much energy can be saved by suspending unnecessary nodes during levels of reduced activity. Power utilization by supercomputers is of major interest to those who design and purchase them. Since 2008, the leading source of worldwide supercomputer speed rankings has also included power consumption and power efficiency values. Because digital computers utilize electricity to perform computation, larger computers tend to utilize more energy and produce more heat. Pacman, an acronym for Pacific Area Climate Monitoring and Analysis Network, is a high performance supercomputer designed for large compute and memory intensive jobs. Pacman is composed of the following general computational nodes: • 256 four-core compute nodes containing two dual core 2.6 GHz AMD Opteron processors each • 20 twelve-core compute nodes containing two six core 2.6 GHz AMD Opteron processors each • 88 sixteen-core compute nodes containing two eight core 2.3 GHz AMD Opteron processors each
    • First Order Estimation of Calving Losses from Gulf of Alaska Glaciers

      McNabb, Bob (2012)
      Despite its importance in projections of sea level rise, dynamic mass loss from tidewater glaciers remains poorly constrained and understood. Owing to this difficulty, very few long-term or estimates of dynamic losses exist, and regional estimates of dynamic loss are nonexistent. Many studies have highlighted the importance of Alaska glaciers to sea level rise (e.g., Berthier and others, 2010). In this study, we present a detailed record of length fluctuations of Gulf of Alaska (GOA) tidewater glaciers, and propose a method to estimate calving fluxes on a regional level.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • GABAergic neurons in the medullary raphé possess network independent chemosensitivity in situ

      Iceman, Kimberly E. (2012)
      The identity and location of central pH/CO2 sensitive chemoreceptors are not fully understood. Serotonin (5-HT) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) synthesizing neurons in the medullary raphé have demonstrated intrinsic chemosensitivity in vitro. This evidence forms the basis for our "push-pull" model of raphé contributions to chemosensitivity. We have previously shown that CO2-stimulated 5-HT neurons occur in the medullary raphé in situ. Here, we test the hypothesis that the medullary raphé contains GABA synthesizing CO2-inhibited neurons that retain their chemosensitivity after pharmacological blockade of major fast synaptic inputs. To assess chemosensitivity, we record extracellular single neuron discharge during normocapnic and hypercapnic conditions within the medullary raphé of the unanesthetized juvenile rat in situ perfused decerebrate brainstem preparation. Network dependence of chemosensitivity is assessed by application of antagonists for AMPA, NMDA, glycine, and GABAa receptors that disrupt fast-synaptic network properties. Juxtacellular labeling and immunohistochemistry establish neurotransmitter phenotypes of recorded neurons. Results support independence of CO2-inhibited GABA neuron chemosensitivity from fast synaptic inputs.
    • Geospatial Validation and Topographic Map Revision of the Castner Glacier Area

      Verbyla, Dave L.; Cain, Grant (2012)
      Mapping in the interior of Alaska has always been a challenge due to the vast and remote aspects of the region. One contemporary method that has been used to map certain areas of the state has been the application of optical satellite data such as the Panchromatic Remote Sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM). PRISM imagery, with the use of JAXA software, can produce a Digital Surface Model (DSM) and Orthorectified Image (Ortho). The use of these two products allows for a large area to be mapped. However, the quality of the DSM and Ortho are inherently affected by the lack of applied ground control points which georeference the image and provide greater accuracy. The objective of this project is to use a Trimble R7 GPS to acquire ground control points (GCPs) around the Castner Glacier area. The ground control points will provide a means to produce an accurate DSM and Ortho from a PRISM image of the chosen study area.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • An Interdisciplinary Sustainability Evaluation of the Skate Fishery in the Gulf of Alaska

      Farrugia, Thomas (2012)
      Skates are in growing demand worldwide, and the 2008 U.S. landings of skates was estimated at 65 million pounds, worth $11 million. However, many Atlantic Ocean skate stocks are collapsing. Alaska has relatively healthy skate stocks and there is increasing economic pressure to develop directed fisheries for them. Presently, the most frequently landed and exported skates in the Gulf of Alaska are the big (Raja binoculata) and longnose skates (R. rhina). These species are long-lived, possess slow growth rates and mature late in life, making them vulnerable to overfishing. A small experimental directed state fishery for big and longnose skates in Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska provides a unique opportunity to study the feasibility of a directed skate fishery as a means of increasing the economic resilience of coastal Alaskan communities. This project will take an interdisciplinary approach to assessing the sustainability of the budding skate fishery in Alaska by 1) examining movement patterns of big and longnose skates, 2) developing a spatially-explicit stock assessment and 3) building a bio-economic model of the skate fishery in the Gulf of Alaska.
    • Is there enough information on SIDS in Alaska?

      McAfee, Keegan (2012)
      The rate of SIDS in Alaska is about two times the national average, and even more prevalent among Alaska natives. In this research project I wanted to ask what kind, and how much information is provided to new parents on SIDS in interior Alaska? The purpose of my study was to see if healthcare providers from a wide range of specialties, but all dealing with birth, had provided their patients with the same or differing information on SIDS in Alaska. I went to multiple healthcare providers and interviewed them, asking what kind of information they provided to the new parents. I obtained varying answers from a standardized packet on SIDS, to no information provided for new parents at all. I believe that this huge discrepancy in information, can and does play a role in the incident of SIDS in Alaska. Ultimately I would like to further research the cases of SIDS and see what types of healthcare providers were used for pre/neo-natal care and see if in fact there is a correlation among the types of information provided.
    • Isotopic dietary analysis and molecular sex identification of adults and juveniles from medieval Great Moravia

      Halffman, Carrin M. (2012)
      Like many complex agricultural societies, medieval European society was strongly patriarchal, with men favored in terms of property rights, political status, and household authority. However, it is unclear whether male dominance in medieval society was manifested in unequal access to food resources between the sexes. In this pilot study, we examine the pattern of sex-related differences in diet through biomolecular analyses of skeletal remains from Kostelisko, a suburban area within the early medieval Great Moravian site of Mikulčice. Mikulčice was a prominent center of Great Moravia, an early Slavic state that existed in the 9th and early 10th centuries AD, and was situated on the lower Morava River valley in the south-eastern corner of what is today the Czech Republic . Previous bioarchaeological studies of skeletal material from Mikulčice have revealed activity differences between males and females (Havelková et al., 2010), as well as health differences according to socioeconomic status (Velemínský et al., 2009). Here we present dietary reconstructions based on bone collagen carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses, and we evaluate a new method of molecular sex identification using high resolution melting analysis of ancient DNA.
    • 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.
    • Lost Wax Method Bronze Casting

      Isaak, Joel (2012)
      Large scale bronze casting is a work intensive process that requires adequately equipped studio space, time, and a set of highly refined skills to complete the eight stages of the process. My goal was to construct a life sized bronze statue of a traditional Athabascan fisherman. I chose to sculpt a classically proportioned Greek style statue, using similar processes and ratios. I looked over photographs that I took in the Vatican museum and several anatomy books. Wendy Croskrey supported my research in large scale bronze casting a project this size. Through experimentation I discovered the importance of using the correct plaster and reinforcing molds properly. The process provided me with many firsts, such as a mold cracking open, plaster not setting, and having to recast a piece. Through hard work and careful consideration I was successful in completing the project.
    • 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.