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The Changing Arctic Dispatches


Trees among the tundra

TOOLIK LAKE STATION, ALASKA-- Balsam poplar is the northern-most tree species in North America. In Arctic Alaska, it occurs sporadically in isolated stands often adjacent to perennial springs or on south-facing slopes. Join our field crew as we venture...



Trucks on the Tundra

TOOLIK FIELD STATION, ALASKA-- The field station maintains a small fleet of trucks to access field sites adjacent to the nearby Dalton Highway. These trucks have camp names such as, "Blue Dog, Bandit, Cadillac and…



Ptarmigan

TOOLIK FIELD STATION, ALASKA-- We often encounter ptarmigan hidden among the lichen-covered rock and tundra plants at Toolik Lake. Ptarmigan live year round in the Arctic. They are well camouflaged in both the winter and summer seasons...



Digging Soil Pits

TOOLIK FIELD STATION, ALASKA– The northern foothills of the Brooks Range, including Toolik Lake, received nearly 15 cm of rain over the past several months. In Fairbanks, the rivers are at levels not observed since 1967. The tundra is fully saturated...



Musk Oxen

TOOLIK FIELD STATION, ALASKA– Last week, we encountered a herd of musk oxen rambling on the tundra...



Mysterious Ground Ice Feature

TOOLIK FIELD STATION, ALASKA– Earlier this summer, my friends and I encountered a curious ice feature north of Toolik Lake near the Kuparuk River. Since the ice feature occurs at a familiar site, we knew it was newly exposed ice. So, we set out to learn just what this feature is and how it formed...



In Pusuit of Sour Dock

QUINHAGAK, ALASKA-- After my final ethnobotany lecture, I offered to help Cecilia, a co-teacher and Yup’ik elder, collect sour dock leaves. Sour dock (Rumex arcticus) is a perennial herb native to Alaska...



Using Indigenous Plants

QUINHAGAK, ALASKA-- Along with two elders and six students, I journeyed to a field camp near the Yup’ik village of Quinhagak last week. Dr. Kevin Jernigan, from University of Alaska’s Kuskokwim Campus, and I collaborated…



Inventorying Arctic Vegetation

TOOLIK FIELD STATION, ALASKA-- To understand how the Arctic tundra changes over time, we are inventorying vegetation plots established here nearly twenty years ago. In this video meet my field partners, Joel and Sayuri, as they inventory amidst the rolling tundra and mosquitoes...



Harbinger of Eternal Daylight

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA-- The snow only just melted in interior Alaska last week. Signs of spring abound here: the sky is light for almost twenty hours a day, leaf buds are nearly bursting on the trees…