Now showing items 1-20 of 8883

    • Diversity and community structure of eukaryotic phototrophs in the Bering and Chukchi seas

      Lekanoff, Rachel M.; Collins, R. Eric; McDonnell, Andrew M.P.; Danielson, Seth L. (2020-05)
      The phytoplankton of the Bering and Chukchi seas support highly productive ecosystems characterized by tight benthic-pelagic coupling. In this study, we focus on the northern Bering and Chukchi seas, considering them as one ecosystem. This community has historically been dominated by diatoms; however, climate change and accompanying warming ocean temperatures may alter primary producer communities. Using metabarcoding, we present the first synoptic, high-throughput molecular phylogenetic investigation of phytoplankton diversity in the Bering and Chukchi seas based on hundreds of samples collected from June to September in 2017. We identify the major and minor taxonomic groups of diatoms and picophytoplankton, relative abundances of genera, exact sequence variants (201 for diatoms and 227 for picophytoplankton), and describe their biogeography. These phylogenetic insights and environmental data are used to characterize preferred temperature ranges, offering insight into which specific phytoplankton (Chaetoceros, Pseudo−nitzschia, Micromonas, Phaeocystis) may be most affected as the region warms. Finally, we investigated the likelihood of using shipboard CTD data alone as predictive variables for which members of phytoplankton communities may be present. We found that the suite of environmental data collected from a shipboard CTD is a poor predictor of community composition, explaining only 12.6% of variability within diatom genera and 14.2% variability within picophytoplankton genera. Clustering these communities by similarity of samples did improve predictability (43.6% for diatoms and 32.5% for picophytoplankton). However, our analyses succeeded in identifying temperature as a key driver for certain taxa found commonly throughout the region, offering a key insight into which common phytoplankton community members may be affected first as the Alaskan Arctic continues to warm.
    • Instructor-student relationships and attrition rates among students enrolled in developmental asynchronous online courses

      Leiter, Gary E.; Renes, Susan L.; Topkok, Sean Asiqluq; Anahita, Sine; Stuive, Christina; Graham, M. Lee (2020-05)
      Most universities and colleges offer the option of online courses, but there is concern over the high student attrition rates in these courses. The dropout rate within the online environment, especially those enrolled in developmental courses, is significantly higher than that of face-to-face courses. Students taking developmental online courses struggle with the same challenges as the traditional college student, but they often have a more demanding personal schedule, lower self-confidence, and are often confused by the online environment (Croxton, 2014; Gaytan, 2015). Each of these struggles strongly influences student attrition and must be overcome to ensure course completion. Although there is literature focusing on the attrition rates of online courses, very little takes the student perspective into account, and whether student-teacher relationships in developmental asynchronous courses can be linked to course satisfaction leading to persistence. This study examined whether a relationship between the instructor and the student might build self-determination in students, help them through their challenges, and possibly lower the attrition rates among students enrolled in developmental asynchronous online courses at the University of Alaska. This study followed a qualitative approach specifically using the phenomenological methodology using individual interviews of 30 students who had been previously enrolled in developmental asynchronous online courses. Three themes emerged as central to student dissatisfaction: the instructor's lack of communication, not being personable with students, and a confusing and complicated course structure. This study is significant in that it helps institutions better understand their need to take an active role to encourage student persistence.
    • Retrospective analysis of the Alaska halibut and sablefish individual fishing quota fisheries comparing the program with the anticipated outcomes and other limited entry fisheries

      Kotlarov, Alexander; Criddle, Keith; Greenberg, Joshua; Felthoven, Ronald; Naald, Brian Vander (2020-05)
      The Alaska Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program is one of the largest and most successful catch share programs of the United States and the world. It has been successful in maintaining the economic value and owner-operated characteristics of these fisheries for the past 25 years. While most of the federal fisheries off Alaska have already transitioned to catch-share management systems, the development of new catch share programs for other regions could benefit from lessons learned in the development and evolution of the Alaska halibut and sablefish IFQ program. One of the main concerns of the policymakers with implementing an IFQ program was the potential loss of halibut and sablefish QS held by residents of remote communities in the Central Gulf of Alaska and the Southeast Alaska regions and the resultant long-term social changes. That concern remains, along with a related concern about perceived financial barriers to entry the Alaska Halibut and Sablefish IFQ program. The resilience of fishery-dependent communities depends on the state of the available fish resources as well as the extent to which community residents are vested in the fishery through ownership of limited license permits and quota share. This thesis consists of five chapters. The first is an overall introduction, which summarizes the entire thesis, and the final chapter is an overview conclusion of the research that was conducted. The three central chapters review the history of the fishery, gauge stakeholder attitudes about aspects of the program, and explore limitations to the successful adoption of measures intended to empower community engagement in these fisheries. Chapter 2 describes the evolution of the Alaska region Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries over the past 139 years. This history can be divided into seven eras, each characterized by unique opportunities, challenges, and management innovations. The chapter shows that fluctuations in fish populations have been influenced by the interplay of management actions and environmental variation. The third chapter is a survey of Pacific Halibut and Sablefish Quota Share (QS) holders. This survey gathered information on crewmembers and operating costs in the Alaska halibut and sablefish fisheries. The results indicate that, on smaller vessels in certain areas, crewmembers tend to be drawn from the local region. In comparison, the crewmembers on larger vessels that fish in more remote areas tend to be drawn from outside those fishing areas. Results also indicate that residents of small fishing communities in remote areas had difficulty in obtaining financing to purchase QS for halibut and sablefish. In contrast, residents of larger communities expressed less concern about access to financing for QS purchases. The fourth chapter focuses on the evolution of the Alaska halibut and sablefish IFQ program. The impacts on the small communities following the transitions from open- to limited-access or share-based management were negative for some communities and positive for other communities. Over the past 16 years, several programs have been established to benefit fishery-dependent communities. Chapter 4 provides an overview of community-support measures developed for these fisheries and describes similar programs created for other Alaska region fisheries. These programs are not being fully utilized. In order to build their local fleets, communities need to increase cooperation and coordination to establish quota. Chapter 4 establishes a "roadmap" for sustaining and rebuilding community-based fisheries in Alaska. It requires the community to focus on its cooperative goals to enable them to take advantage of the community support measures included in fisheries regulation. There seems to be more interest in the younger generation in Alaska wanting to get involved in commercial fisheries. Evidence includes the popularity of the apprenticeship program developed by the Alaska Longline Association in Sitka and the keen interest in the annual Alaskan Young Fishermen Summit hosted by the Alaska Sea Grant. Rural communities could encourage the development of the next generation of fishermen by nurturing their youth's interest in fisheries and reestablishing their cultural heritage. This could be done by using the Federal halibut special permits for Ceremonial, Celebration, and Education fisheries. These permits are free and require a minimal amount of paperwork through the NOAA Fisheries Restricted Access Management program. The State of Alaska also has an educational permit program that is currently underutilized but has been successfully used in the past. Reestablished of these programs in local schools could foster youth's interest in their cultural heritage in fisheries. The positive outcome of this research is the information provided for rural communities to engage in more opportunities to generate fishing income for their community. Communities could have a real opportunity to bring commercial fisheries back into their rural areas. If the communities can navigate through all the regulations, it could provide a positive economic stimulus for the next generation of youth in their communities.
    • Reproductive potential of female eastern Bering Sea tanner crab

      Knutson, Michael R.; Eckert, Ginny L.; Daly, Benjamin; Mueter, Franz; Webb, Joel (2020-05)
      Changes in abundance and sex ratio can contribute to variation in the reproductive potential of a population. The commercially important Bering Sea Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) are distributed throughout the north Pacific Ocean and display cyclical population dynamics. The goal of this study was to examine how fishing pressures and population dynamics affected the reproductive potential of Bering Sea Tanner crab to better inform sustainable fishery management. I quantified female stored sperm levels and fecundity for both primiparous (in their first reproductive cycle) and multiparous (in their second or later reproductive cycle) crab to examine spatial and temporal variation in reproductive potential. Multiparous female crab had higher spermathecal load than primiparous ones, but spermathecal load varied widely across female size. Higher sperm cell counts were associated with visual indication of fresh ejaculate for primiparous crab but not for multiparous crab. Sperm cell counts increased with increasing spermathecal load for both primiparous and multiparous crab, although the slope of the regression line varied for the two categories. Female fecundity was highest in crab in their second year after the terminal molt to maturity and was lower in the first year and in the third and subsequent years. Female fecundity (size-corrected) did not differ among management areas. Measures of mature female sperm storage and quantification of reproductive stage can provide fishery managers with an early warning of reproductive failures.
    • The cornerstone on Troth Yeddha': stories of Alaska Native college students

      Itoh, Taiyo; Topkok, Sean Asiqluq; Green, Carie; Hogan, Maureen; Hyslop, Polly (2020-05)
      Since the late 19th century, higher education has played three different roles in the Alaska Native rights movement: nurturing Native political leaders towards the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (1891-1971), teaching Alaska Native peoples how to manage their land and resources (1971-1990), and developing Native academic leadership from within universities (1991-2013). The previous studies revealed Alaskan universities' inadequate and discriminatory responsesto Alaska Native peoples' educational needs/wants after the 1960s, and further identified a wide range of factors affecting Alaska Native college students' academic achievement and wellbeing. The historical examination and the literature review collectively delineate Alaska Native peoples' experiences with universities in the past. In order to understand the status quo of Alaska Native higher education, three Alaska Native college students were interviewed about their college experiences and thoughts on higher education during the spring of 2019. All three students mentioned the benefit of having an Indigenous community on campus, and giving back as a reason to pursue postsecondary education. Each student also had a unique perspective that the other students did not share, which included the importance of Alaska Native language courses for cultural well-being, place identity crisis caused by the relocation from a home village to an urban campus, and the prejudice against the services Alaska Native college students receive. These findings can be used as a starting point for a discussion on how to improve higher education for future generations of Alaska Native peoples. As the very persons experiencing the long-standing effect of colonization, Alaska Native college students have a strong power to transform higher education. Hearing their stories is the key to achieving multicultural higher education and creating an equitable society in Alaska.
    • Seedling recruitment, genetic diversity, and secondary growth of deciduous shrubs in Arctic tundra disturbed by retrogressive thaw slump thermokarst on Alaska's North Slope

      Huebner, Diane C.; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia; Wagner, Diane; Wolf, Diana E.; Douhovnikoff, Vladimir (2020-05)
      Since the 1970s, Arctic temperatures have risen by 2.7 °C, more than twice that of lower latitudes. Productivity of tundra vegetation is historically nutrient-limited, largely due to low rates of decomposition in soils underlain by permafrost, where cold temperatures limit nutrient uptake by plants. However, climate warming is implicated in the recent expansion of tall (≥ 0.5 m) deciduous woody shrubs across the Arctic. Among the largest tundra plants, deciduous shrubs exert strong controls on hydrology, heat balance, nutrient cycling, and food webs. These shrubs may be key players in carbon storage and re-stabilization of thaw-deformed permafrost landscapes (thermokarst), however, shrub-climate feedbacks are complex and their magnitude remains uncertain. Warming associated with recent thermokarst activity includes large (≥ 1 ha) de-vegetated depressions on hillslopes caused by mass soil thaw, known as retrogressive thaw slumps (RTS). RTS have increased on Alaska's North Slope by two-thirds since the 1980s. Within a few decades, some RTS near Toolik Lake support tall willow (Salix spp.) and dwarf birch (Betula nana) colonies. This study quantified three aspects of plant response in RTS of different ages (chronosequences) at two North Slope lakes: 1) recruitment (seedlings m⁻² and percent germination of soil seedbanks), 2) clonal (asexual) growth of dominant vegetation (willow), and 3) secondary growth (annual rings) of dwarf birch and willow. I hypothesized that conditions in RTS support greater recruitment, genetic diversity, and growth than conditions in undisturbed moist acidic tussock tundra, and that the climate signal (June mean temperature) is amplified in RTS shrub ring widths. The study found higher seedling density and seedbank viability associated with warm, nutrient-rich bare soil in recent RTS. Willow species richness was higher in RTS than in undisturbed tundra, but all willows showed high heterozygosity and low clonal spread regardless of disturbance. Ramets (branches) within clones were more widely spaced in RTS, suggesting that RTS can fragment and disperse asexual propagules. Shrub rings in RTS were wider than in undisturbed tundra, but climate sensitivity to warmer temperatures was not amplified in the growth rings of most RTS shrubs. Most RTS shrubs had wider rings associated with greater September precipitation in the previous year, while shrubs growing outside of RTS did not, which suggests protective effects of early snow accumulations in RTS depressions. These results demonstrate that some North Slope RTS support greater seedling recruitment and shrub growth than undisturbed tundra and may enhance tundra shrub growth.
    • Renewable energy development in Alaska: policy implications for the development of renewable energy for remote areas of the circumpolar Arctic

      Holdmann, Gwen Pamela; Johnson, Ronald; Peterson, Rorik; Greenberg, Joshua; Sfraga, Mike (2019-12)
      The territories that comprise the Arctic region are part of some of wealthiest and most advanced countries on the planet; yet, rural Alaska, northern Canada, the Russian Far East and Greenland--characterized by off-grid communities, regional grids, and higher degrees of energy insecurity--have more in common with the developing world than the southern regions of their own country. This thesis explains this paradox of energy development in the Circumpolar North and tackles the issue of developing renewable energy in remote areas where technical and socioeconomic barriers are significant. The primary research questions are two-fold: 1) Why did the Alaska electrical system develop as a non-integrated patchwork of regional and isolated grids? and 2) What are the major factors in Alaska that have resulted in a greater uptake of renewable energy systems for remote communities, compared to other similar places in the Arctic? This thesis demonstrates that state-building theory provides a cogent framework to understand the context of electrical build-out in the Circumpolar North. A major finding of this thesis is that the buildout of electric infrastructure in the non-Nordic countries, including Alaska, exemplifies a process of incomplete nation-building. Interconnected regional grids, where they exist, are largely due to the twin national priorities in infrastructure development in the north: extracting natural resources and enhancing national security. This thesis also draws on sociotechnical transition theory to explain why Alaska exhibits such high levels of energy innovation when compared to other similar regions across the Arctic. This research concludes that drivers such as extremely high energy costs, a highly deregulated utility market with dozens of certificated utilities, state investment in infrastructure, and modest subsidies that create a technological niche where renewable energy projects are cost-competitive at current market prices have spurred energy innovation throughout Alaska's communities, remote or otherwise. Many of the evolving technical strategies and lessons learned from renewable integration projects in Alaska's remote islanded microgrids are directly applicable to project development in other markets. Despite differences in climate and geography, lessons learned in Alaska could prove invaluable in increasing resiliency and driving down energy costs in remote communities world-wide.
    • Application of design of experiments for well pattern optimization in Umiat oil field: a natural petroleum reserve of Alaska case study

      Gurav, Yojana Shivaji; Dandekar, Abhijit; Patil, Shirish; Khataniar, Santanu; Clough, James; Patwardhan, Samarth (2020-05)
      Umiat field, located in Alaska North Slope poses unique development challenges because of its remote location and permafrost within the reservoir. This hinders the field development, and further leads to a potential low expected oil recovery despite latest estimates of oil in-place volume of 1550 million barrels. The objective of this work is to assess various possible well patterns of the Umiat field development and perform a detailed parametric study to maximize oil recovery and minimize well costs using statistical methods. Design of Experiments (DoE) is implemented to design simulation runs for characterizing system behavior using the effect of certain critical parameters, such as well type, horizontal well length, well pattern geometry, and injection/production constraints on oil recovery. After carrying out simulation runs using a commercially available simulation software, well cost is estimated for each simulation case. Response Surface methodology (RSM) is used for optimization of well pattern parameters. The parameters, their interactions and response are modeled into a mathematical equation to maximize oil recovery and minimize well cost. Economics plays a key role in deciding the best well pattern for any field during the field development phase. Hence, while solving the optimization problem, well costs have been incorporated in the analysis. Thus, based on the results of the study performed on selected parameters, using interdependence of the above mentioned methodologies, optimum combinations of variables for maximizing oil recovery and minimizing well cost will be obtained. Additionally, reservoir level optimization assists in providing a much needed platform for solving the integrated production optimization problem involving parameters relevant at different levels, such as reservoir, wells and field. As a result, this optimum well pattern methodology will help ensure optimum oil recovery in the otherwise economically unattractive field and can provide significant insights into developing the field more efficiently. Computational algorithms are gaining popularity for solving optimization problems, as opposed to manual simulations. DoE is effective, simple to use and saves computational time, when compared to algorithms. Although, DoE has been used widely in the oil industry, its application in domains like well pattern optimization is novel. This research presents a case study for the application of DoE and RSM to well optimization in a real existing field, considering all possible scenarios and variables. As a result, increase in estimated oil recovery is achieved within economical constraints through well pattern optimization.
    • Science, perception and scale: an interdisciplinary analysis of environmental change and community adaptive capaciy

      Grunblatt, Jesse E.; Wipfli, Mark; Adams, Barbara; Carothers, Courtney; Monahan, John (2020-05)
      The discrepancy between science-based assessments of climate change and public acknowledgement of climate change has been extensively documented at a national level. The relationship of science-based assessments and public awareness of environmental change at the local community level is less studied. An understanding of how science-based information informs local perception is important to ensure that science communication effectively supports community decision making. This dissertation explores the gap between science-based assessments and local perception of environmental change within a framework of adaptive capacity. The research is divided into three interrelated studies that provide: 1) an assessment of community perception of local environmental change, 2) a local study that illustrates science-based assessment and reporting, and 3) an evaluation of the role news media plays in communicating science to the public. The first study implemented a survey of residents on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula to evaluate individual perception of environmental change as well as attitudes regarding climate change and natural resource management. Differences in perception of local environmental change were identified among respondents as well as shared perceptions. The use of property regulation to protect the Kenai River was identified as a divisive issue; however, there was a shared concern regarding the condition of local salmon populations. A second science-based ecological study was developed that examined those issues and linked conservation of riparian vegetation to juvenile salmon rearing habitat. This study examined the diet of stream-rearing juvenile Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and determined that the proportion of invertebrates which enter the stream from riparian habitats varied based on vegetation type for three streams in the Kenai watershed. The third study investigated how news media play a role in the interpretation of technical, science-based reporting for the public. It demonstrated that local news media provide a unique opportunity to promote communication of science-based information to their audiences by providing content that is familiar and relevant, offering a variety of topical framings, developing authoritative or trusted voices, and providing frequent exposure to content.
    • Airborne hyperspectral imaging for wetland mapping in the Yukon Flats, Alaska

      Graham, Patrick Ryan; Prakash, Anupma; Rosselló, Jordi Cristóbal; Gens, Rudiger (2020-05)
      This study involved commissioning HySpex, a hyperspectral imaging system, on a single-engine Bush Hawk aircraft; using it to acquire images over selected regions of the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge; establishing a complete processing flow to convert raw data to radiometrically and geometrically corrected hypercubes, and further processing the data to classify wetlands. Commissioning involved designing a customized mount to simultaneously install two-camera systems, one operating in the visible and near infrared region, and the other operating in the shortwave infrared region. Flight planning incorporated special considerations in choosing the flight direction, speed, and time windows to minimize effects of the Bidirectional Reflection Distribution Function (BRDF) that are more dominant in high latitudes. BRDF effects were further minimized through a special processing step, that was added to the established hyperspectral data processing chain developed by the German Space Agency (DLR). Instrument commissioning included a test flight over the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a bore-sight calibration between the HySpex system's two cameras, and to ensure the radiometric and geometric fidelity of the acquired images. Calibration resulted in a root mean square error of 0.5 pixels or less for images acquired from both cameras at 1-meter spatial resolution for each geometrically corrected flight line. Imagery was radiometrically corrected using the ATCOR-4 software package. No field spectra of the study areas were collected due to logistics constraints. However, a visual comparison between current spectral libraries and acquired hyperspectral image spectra was used to ensure spectral quality. For wetlands mapping, a 6-category legend was established based on previous United States Geological Survey and United States Fish and Wildlife Service information and maps, and three different classification methods are used in two selected areas: hybrid classification, spectral angle mapper, and maximum likelihood. Final maps were successfully classified using a maximum likelihood method with high Kappa values and user's and producer's accuracy are more than 90% for nearly all categories. The maximum likelihood classifier generated the best wetland classification results, with a Kappa index of about 0.90. This was followed by the SAM classifier with a Kappa index of about 0.57 and lastly by the hybrid classifier that achieved a Kappa index of only 0.42. Recommendations for future work include using higher-accuracy GPS measurements to improve georectification, building a spectral library for Alaskan vegetation, collection of ground spectral measurements concurrently with flight image acquisition, and acquisition of LiDAR or RGB-photo derived digital surface models to improve classification efforts.
    • Aspirations, motivations and needs of Russian Far East international students pursuing higher education at the University of Alaska Anchorage

      Goldin, Anna V.; Hogan, Maureen; Topkok, Sean Asiqluq; Anthony, Raymond (2020-05)
      The United States has always been the top destination for international college students. However, the number of international students attending the United States higher institutions has decreased within the past three years, while the overall number of international students worldwide doubled in the same period of time. New international enrollments have also decreased in Alaska. This qualitative phenomenological study is an attempt to reveal some valuable insights into motivations, challenges and needs of Russian Far East international students who have studied and who are currently enrolled at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Based on the analysis of twenty one surveys and five in-depth interviews, this study provides some insights into factors that informed the decision of international students to pursue higher education in the United States, such as the high quality of education and international recognition of the American diploma, a chance to improve English skills, an opportunity to build international network and to secure potential career abroad, etc. For the American universities, and especially for University of Alaska, this research is an opportunity to better understand the needs of international student community. Also, it can designate areas and potential ways to create a safer and more productive academic environment and increase the international enrollment impacted by shifting social-political environment.
    • Influence of permafrost extent on photochemical reactivity, functional group composition, and geochemical cycling of a subarctic discontinuous permafrost Alaskan watershed

      Gagné, Kristin R.; Guerard, Jennifer J.; Simpson, William; Trainor, Thomas P.; Jones, Jeremy (2020-05)
      Sub-Arctic Alaskan boreal forests are currently extremely susceptible to permafrost thaw caused by increases in atmospheric temperatures in the region. Upon thaw, permafrost soil organic matter can leach out organic matter, nitrogen, and metals. It is important to observe the effects the leaching of permafrost may have on photoreactivity, functional group composition, and metal introduction. Photoproduced reactive oxygen species may affect metal fate and transport through mechanisms such as the photo-Fenton reaction. Functional group analysis allows for differences in natural organic matter source and ability to complex metals throughout a watershed. Additionally, permafrost soils may have the ability to leach in metals through lateral flow of surface waters as observed in other studies. These metals could then complex to organic matter and alter the geochemical cycling within the watershed. Organic matter is a nutrient source, and metals (e.g., As) may increase the toxicity of surface waters through the thaw of permafrost. The influx of sequestered organic matter and metals to surface waters has the potential to drastically alter ecosystem processes. This study observes how permafrost leaching affects water composition, including its overall photoreactivity and functional group composition. The data obtained was then used to observe and deduce conclusions on how permafrost thaw influences surface water photoreactivity and functional group composition. Finally, trace metal analysis was conducted on a whole watershed scale over three years to observe how permafrost influences the geochemical composition of three main thermokarst surface waters with varying degrees of permafrost degradation. Overall, permafrost was determined to be heterogeneous and highly photoreactive both inter- and intra- watershed. Additionally, the functional group composition of surface waters influenced by permafrost thaw was different between summer and winter, indicating that winter is an important period to sample. Due to this change in functional group composition, the photoreactivity of winter samples was higher than summer with regard to the production of reactive oxygen species. Metal concentrations also increased during the winter for lakes identified to be undergoing active permafrost thaw. Finally, this case study found that metal concentration data combined with optical indices provided important information for resolving the possible extent of permafrost beneath thermokarst lakes.
    • Young Adult Perceptions of Patient-Provider Interactions in Primary Care

      McCafferty, Kelcie; Howard, Veronica (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2020-09-24)
      The patient-provider relationship may significantly impact a variety of health-related factors, ranging from the experience of chronic pain. (Jonsdottir, Oskarsson, & Jonsdottir, 2016) to overall healthcare outcomes (Beach, Keruly, & Moore, 2006). Patient demographics and previous medical history can influence patient perceptions of providers (Marchland, Palis, & Oviedo-Jones, 2016; Dennison et al., 2019), with previous studies exploring differences in the patient experience as a function of race, ethnicity, gender, location, socioeconomic status, and experience of chronic pain. However, few studies have assessed the interaction of multiple demographic and medical factors with patient perceptions of their interactions with providers. This study evaluated whether young adult patients’ demographic, medical, and gender-related factors were associated with perceptions of their most recent Primary Care Provider (PCP) interaction. Participants were surveyed regarding their medical history, experience of chronic pain, patient trust in physicians, patient-provider depth of relationship, quality of interactions with their PCP, and view the overall healthcare experience. Results indicate that women and participants with chronic pain disorders, mental health disorders, and sexual health disorders reported lower levels of satisfaction with interactions with providers. Moreover, inconsistency between quantitative ratings of recent PCP relationship quality and open-ended qualitative responses indicate a potential lingering effect of prior poor provider interactions on participants’ perceptions of health care providers.
    • A study of variation among side-notched bifaces from northern archaic sites in Alaska

      Fuqua, Kaitlyn N.; Clark, Jamie; Reuther, Josh; Esdale, Julie (2020-05)
      An Alaskan archaeological tradition, the Northern Archaic, (~6,000-1,000 cal years BP) is often identified based on the presence of side-notched bifaces. Variation among these bifaces, commonly referred to as projectile points, is not well understood. This study examines morphological and functional variability among a sample of 209 notched bifaces from 63 Northern Archaic sites located in central and northern Alaska. The nature and extent of variability were examined on several scales, including: 1) across ecological regions of Alaska, 2) throughout the mid-Holocene (6,000-1,000 cal years BP), and 3) within a single site (the Ratekin site, HEA-187). Morphological variation was examined using metric and nonmetric variables, including length, width, thickness, and raw material type. This study also employs a 2-D geometric morphometric landmark based analysis, which is intended to provide a less subjective view of variation in tool morphology. Side-notched bifaces in the sample show a large degree of variation, both across sites and within the Ratekin site. There are some differences in shape among bifaces from Polar and Boreal regions of Alaska, which may indicate regional varieties. There appears to be some variation in the degree of standardization in side-notched biface production over time; between 3000-2,000 cal years BP, there is a decline in variability across the majority of the metric shape variables, suggesting a greater degree of standardization. Functional variability was assessed using three lines of evidence: breakage patterns, macroscopic wear patterns on the distal end, and a Dart-Arrow Index. Sixty percent of the side-notched bifaces in the sample exhibit some breakage, most of which were lateral/transverse breaks located on the shoulders and neck of the tool. Biface tips show evidence of use and frequent rejuvenation. Similar breakage and use patterns, and dart-arrow values were found across the ecological regions, throughout the mid-Holocene, and within the Ratekin site sample. Despite the shifts in morphology identified at regional and temporal scales, this indicates that side-notched bifaces served a similar function at all scales examined. Variation in side-notched bifaces was also considered from the perspective of human behavioral ecology, focusing specifically on risk management and how strategies for mitigating risk may be reflected in lithic assemblages (through invention, innovation, and standardization). Other risk management strategies employed during the Northern Archaic may include communal hunting, subsistence diversification, and high residential mobility. Within this framework, the increased standardization among side-notched bifaces during 3,000-2,000 cal years BP may be a reflection of a risk-averse behavior, supported by evidence of subsistence diversification at Northern Archaic sites after 4,000 cal years BP.
    • Investigating ancient bison migration in Alaska: a bottom up approach using isotopes

      Funck, Juliette Marie; Wooller, Matthew; Druckenmiller, Patrick; Hundertmark, Kris; Ruether, Joshua (2020-05)
      Once abundant in the Arctic, bison (Bison bison) declined almost to extinction in the North but have subsequently been reintroduced into Alaska. The predecessors of these modern bison were the ancient steppe bison (Bison priscus), which were abundant throughout the Northern Hemisphere before their extinction during the Holocene. This thesis investigates the ecology and landscape-use of both the present-day wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) and the ancient steppe bison in Alaska using stable isotopes, among other methods. The stable carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions of animal tissues are traditionally used to investigate diet. However, this thesis uses the isotope composition of tail hairs from present day wood bison as a proxy for their nutritional stress. Nutritional stress of some wood bison appears to be influenced not only by food shortage during hard seasons, but also due to long-distance mobility. This insight provides a key to understanding the challenges of reintroduction of the species into Alaska today, and can also be applied to understand the nutritional stress and cost of dispersal by ancient animals. Whereas the mobility of present-day bison can be tracked using sophisticated satellite tracking technologies, studies of the paleo-mobility of ancient bison rely on isotopic markers such as strontium and oxygen isotope ratios preserved in their teeth. To aid this approach using isotopic geolocation, this thesis creates a map of bioavailable strontium modeled and based on strontium isotope composition of present-day rodent teeth from across Alaska. It then compares this map, together with an existing oxygen isotope map of precipitation in Alaska, with the strontium and oxygen isotopes preserved in a suite of ancient bison from Northern Alaska. This comparison brings to light some of the major habitation regions used by Bison on the North Slope of Alaska over the last ~50,000 years. Finally, these findings subsequently contribute to a detailed paleoecological investigation of a mostly articulated and complete ancient steppe bison found on the North Slope of Alaska. This final study reveals the life-history of an individual bison that dispersed from the coastal plain to the foothills of the Brooks Range early in his life, and shows that the trip was nutritionally costly. This information is combined with a suite of other paleoecological methods to provide a vivid life history of this ancient bison. We introduce new methodologies for studying these ancient animals that seek to bridge the gap between how we study present-day and the past.
    • Vestige

      Fultz, Venus; Soos, Frank; Johnson, Sara; Coffman, Chris (2020-05)
      Vestige is a fantasy novel that follows Delphine Ventadour's struggle to return home. Delphine is rescued from execution by a Priest who is the lover/bodyguard of a Prince. Both men try to convince her to accept her fate to become High Priestess of an ancient religion and marry his daughter. A major theme of Vestige is truth, explored not only in Delphine's struggle to know which characters and version of events to trust, but also in the novel's text. Vestige moves between a third-person omniscient point of view (POV) and Delphine's first-person POV. The switch between POVs provides an indication of telepathy and encourages the reader to participate in exploring truth. Poems appear in the text as a form of world-building and to further the theme of truth through various translations and the rewriting of a culture's history. Two other major themes in the novel closely circling one another are home and loneliness. In Delphine's perspective, the descriptions of Aerasha uses diction such as "rotting" "cursed" alongside imagery of hostility through and I contrast this with the place Delphine considers home to explore home and loneliness. The lack of trust Delphine cements her loneliness even when she finds herself liking other characters. I also explore home not only through the contrast with Aerasha and where Delphine grew up, but also through the contrast of Delphine's found family (Jean, Kokumo, Thema) back where she was raised and her bloodline family in Aerasha.
    • Population ecology of willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) in the presence of spatially concentrated harvest

      Frye, Graham G.; Lindberg, Mark; Brainerd, Scott; Kielland, Knut; Schmidt, Joshua (2020-05)
      Understanding the potential effects of harvest on wildlife populations is fundamental to both theoretical wildlife science and applied wildlife management. The effects of harvest on wildlife populations vary dramatically and depend on the timing and magnitude of harvest, as well as population-specific states and vital rates. Demographic compensation plays a key role in models of wildlife population dynamics and in developing harvest strategies. However, the degree and form of compensation in a given population depends on its particular ecological and life history characteristics, resulting in the need for population-specific assessments of responses to harvest. Ptarmigan (Lagopus spp.) are ecologically important species and are culturally valued for subsistence and recreational hunting throughout the Holarctic. In Alaska, willow ptarmigan (L. lagopus) are among the most commonly harvested small game species, but the population-level effects of harvest are not well understood. Investigating the population level effects of harvest on these populations would aid harvest management and increase general understanding of the ecology of the species. To this end, I studied the population ecology of willow ptarmigan in a region of Alaska with spatially concentrated harvest along access corridors. I investigated: (1) the effect of harvest, season, and demographic group on survival, (2) the effect of harvest on breeding densities, (3) dispersal and seasonal movements patterns in relation to harvest, and (4) temporal and observer effects on ptarmigan survey efforts. I found that survival rates and breeding densities of willow ptarmigan in heavily hunted areas were substantially lower than those in remote sites without hunting. We did not observe seasonal compensatory mortality and the potential for permanent immigration (i.e., breeding/natal dispersal) to compensate for harvest appeared limited. However, seasonal movements away from breeding territories appeared to distribute the effects of harvest more evenly among ptarmigan from accessible and remote areas during winter and early spring. This suggests that the timing of hunting seasons may play a critical role in determining effects on ptarmigan densities in accessible breeding areas, with early autumn (prior to initiation of seasonal movements) harvest likely having the greatest impact. In addition, when examining ptarmigan survey methodology, I found substantial temporal heterogeneity in the availability of ptarmigan for detection during surveys, as well as variation in observer-specific detection rates. This underscores the importance of investigators considering the role of imperfect and heterogeneous detection when designing ptarmigan monitoring strategies to avoid inaccurate conclusions about abundance and trends.
    • Movement and migration ecology of Alaskan golden eagles

      Eisaguirre, Joseph Michael; Breed, Greg; Booms, Travis; Doak, Pat; Kielland, Knut; McIntyre, Carol (2020-05)
      Golden eagles Aquila chrysaetos are distributed across the Holarctic; however, in Alaska and other northern areas, many are long-distance migrants. Being soaring birds, golden eagles can use weather and features of the energy landscape to offset the energetic costs of movement and migration. In this dissertation, I investigate how dynamic energy landscapes, in addition to other habitat and anthropogenic features, affect the movement and migration ecology of Alaskan golden eagles; in most cases I did such by developing and applying new, biologically-appropriate statistical methods. First, I identified a single, discrete navigation decision that each eagle made during migration and determined which weather variables are primary factors in driving that decision. I found that wind was the primary correlate to the decision, consistent with eagles likely avoiding poor migration conditions and choosing routes based on favorable wind conditions. Second, I investigated how different forms of flight subsidies, which were orographic uplift, thermal uplift, and wind support, drove behavioral budgets and migratory pacing of eagles. I found a consistent daily rhythm in eagle behavior and migratory pace, seemingly driven by daily development of thermal uplift, with extended periods of slower-paced movements, consistent with periods of opportunistic foraging. Third, I investigated the effects of anthropogenic linear features, such as roads and railroads, on eagle movement during migration. I found that eagles selected for roads during spring migration and were more likely to be near roads when making slower-paced movements, which would be most frequent during times when limited thermal uplift is available. Lastly, I compared how floaters (breeding-age, non-territorial individuals) and territorial eagles used space and selected for resources, specifically interested in how their movements and space use might overlap. I found that floater space use was much more expansive, yet they only selected for habitats and resources slightly differently than territorial eagles. I also found their home ranges overlap substantially, suggesting that floaters play a key role in the population ecology of migratory golden eagles in Alaska.
    • Characterizing wintertime aerosol composition and sulfate formation in Fairbanks, Alaska

      Davey, Ragen; Mao, Jingqiu; Simpson, William R.; Guerard, Jennifer J. (2020-05)
      The citizens of Fairbanks, Alaska are exposed to high levels of air pollutants throughout the winter months, causing the city to violate the Fine Particulate Matter (PM₂.₅) National Ambient Air Quality Standards set in place by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Previous studies have shown the significant amount of sulfate aerosols particles observed in Fairbanks winters, but the formation mechanism of aerosols containing sulfate in the atmosphere is still unknown. While sulfate aerosol particle formation is commonly driven by oxidants including ·OH, H₂O₂ and O₃, these photochemical species are limited in Fairbanks winter months. This indicates sulfate aerosol particle formation may occur through a nontraditional pathway, and this project investigates one proposed mechanism in which transition metals may catalyze sulfate aerosol particle formation. We collected twelve full diurnal cycles over the winter months of 2019, using a particle-to-liquid sampler (PILS) at hourly time resolution. This PILS instrument creates an aqueous extract containing only the water-soluble components of the aerosol particles. These aqueous extracts were analyzed offline for inorganic and metal concentrations by ion chromatography (IC) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). This hourly dataset provides new insights in emissions, chemical processing and their coupling with boundary layer dynamics. We find a strong correlation between hourly sulfate and PM2.5 mass concentrations, but we do not find the strong evidence of transition metal ion (TMI) catalysis on sulfate formation. We also collected twelve sets of aerosol filters using Micro-Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor (MOUDI) throughout the winter of 2019. These size-resolved filter samples suggest the presence of hydroxymethane sulfonate (HMS) in submicron particles when temperatures are below -30 °C (-22 °F), suggesting a new reservoir for sulfur compounds in Fairbanks winter and warranting further investigation.
    • The deadly affairs of John Figaro Newton or a senseless appeal to reason and an elegy for the dreaming

      Campbell, Regan; Farmer, Daryl; Kamerling, Leonard; Coffman, Chris (2020-05)
      Are you really you? Are your memories true? John "Fig" Newton thinks much the same as you do. But in three separate episodes of his life, he comes to see things are a little more strange and less straightforward than everyone around him has been inured to the point of pretending they are; maybe it's all some kind of bizarre form of torture for someone with the misfortune of assuming they embody a real and actual person. Whatever the case, Fig is sure he can't trust that truth exists, and over the course of his many doomed relationships and professional foibles, he continually strives to find another like him--someone incandescent with rage, and preferably, as insane and beautiful as he.